Farm Business Management

This set of courses will lead students down the path of developing a business plan for their farm business. Students then learn methods for using the plan to evaluate their farms financial viability and assist in decision making. Students can take each course sequentially or take individual courses depending on their experience and knowledge of operating a farm business.  The first series of courses will take place in Plain, Wisconsin at the Green TTEC.

If you have questions on these courses or other Farm Management training opportunities at Madison Area Technical College, please contact Randy Zogbaum, Agriculture Instructor, via our online form or at (608) 745-3192.

Phone (608) 745-3100 for registration assistance in Portage or (608) 524-7800 for Reedsburg.

Individual Farm Business Management (Schedule and Fees)

Instructor Randy Zogbaum will assist farm producers on an individual-need basis in the areas of business planning, financial analysis, economic decision-making tools, enterprise budgets, cash flows and more. The course introduces a variety of business planning and financial analysis tools to better understand the business of a farm.

Managed Grazing Classes (Schedule and Fees) - new sections coming soon

Farmers in Wisconsin have been using Managed Grazing systems to feed their livestock for at least 30 years. During that time the use of grazing networks, made up of neighbors sharing their experience through pasture walks, has been a valuable teaching tool for those interested in exploring how to incorporate managed grazing practices on their farm. These farmers have helped each other solve problems and explore new technology. Madison College, in partnership with UW Extension and Sauk County Conservation, Planning, and Zoning Department, is offering a series of pasture management courses in Sauk County as a way to continue this valuable experiential learning tool. Each month from June through September we will hold grazing classes, or pasture walks, at a different farm exploring how they manage their animals on pasture.

Operating the Farm Business

Understanding the Farm Business (Schedule and Fees)

This course is intended for individuals who are new to farm management. A farm business is more than just milking cows or planting crops.  It is recognizing that there are many individual pieces to the farm puzzle and that their interactions need to be managed effectively to be successful in both the short and long term. This course will introduce you to a variety of resources, both public and private, to assist you in excelling in all aspects of a farm business, from crop and nutrient management planning through feeding to produce healthy animals and much more. In addition, you will learn how having a solid business plan creates a path to success and you will begin the journey of developing a business plan for your current or proposed farm. You will get hands-on experience in setting the foundation for a successful farm business by writing a description of your farm business, developing a mission statement, setting goals (personal, family, and farm business), and looking at what items you will need to optimize your plan.  There will also be an introduction to the financial components of a business plan.

Developing a Farm Business Plan (Schedule and Fees)

This course will teach students how to develop business plan for their farming operation. Students will be introduced to the components of good business plan including a narrative of their operation, the Balance Sheet, Accrual Income Statement, and the Statement of Cash Flow. Students will see how these tools are used to understand a farm businesses financial position through understanding the financial measures of Liquidity, Solvency, and Profitability. Finally, students will develop each of these records for their farm and have an introduction to using financial ratios to evaluate their financial position.

Using the Farm Business Plan (Schedule and Fees)

This course will build on prior courses by demonstrating how the student's business plan can be used for understanding, improving, and growing the farm business. Students will use their plan and financial records to evaluate their current financial position by calculating and using financial ratios. They will also see how their plan can be used to understand risk management, develop a marketing strategy, create short-term goals, and for long-term projections and growth strategies.

Evaluating your Farm Business

Farm Business Analysis & Decision Making

This course builds on the prior courses in business planning by looking at using year-to-year financial records for analysis of the farm business and to assist in decision making. Students will look at their previous year plan and prepare for the next year. They will update their plan and financial ratios and investigate how having maintaining year-to-year record keeping systems improves the decision making process and financial viability of your farm.

Farm Enterprise Analysis & Marketing

This course builds on the prior courses in business planning by looking at using year-to-year financial records for analysis of the farm business and to assist in decision making.This course will demonstrate how to enterprise budgets and partial analysis to determine where your farm business is making or losing money. Students will use these tools to develop pricing and marketing strategies for their farm businesses. Requires at least one year of operation under a complete business plan.

Long-term Farm Budgeting & Management

This course builds on the prior farm business planning courses by looking at using year-to-year financial records for budgeting and monitoring a farm business's financial viability. This course requires at least one year of operation under a complete business plan. Students will learn a long-term budgeting system and how monitoring this system will help meet personal, family, and financial goals for their farms.

To sign up for these courses, phone 608-524-7800. New students can facilitate enrollment by creating a student account.