Colorado Building Farmers classes set to begin in January

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By Robin Young
PREVIEW Columnist

Starting Jan. 12, 2022, Colorado Building Farmers classes will begin in Archuleta and La Plata counties, and is open to anyone, anywhere. 

The Colorado Building Farmers and Ranchers program builds community and capacity in agriculture through classroom learning for beginning farmers and ranchers. Applications are being accepted through Jan. 3, 2022, and can be obtained on our website, https://archuleta.extension.colostate.edu/, or come into the office for a copy. 

The program is a series of eight evening classes designed to help new farmers and ranchers explore agriculture as a business; and provide intermediate and experienced farmers and ranchers with tools and ideas to refine and enhance their business management, production and marketing skills. The outcome of the course is for participants to create a business plan.

The classes are taught by experienced farmers and ranchers. This program is intended for those with some experience and are serious about starting, expanding or enhancing their farm or ranch operation in the coming year through conventional or alternative markets.

Colorado Building Farmers offers two levels of classroom learning: Principles of Business Planning, and Management and Advanced Classes. 

Participants in Principles of Business Planning and Management classes will:

• Identify their business short-term and long-term goals, and a vision/mission statement for the business.

• List clear action items for each short-term and long-term goal.

• Explain how personal and customer values influence their business plan.

• Perform SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to identify potential marketing niche, customer base, location, etc.

• Develop a strategic market position and strategy consistent with the mission developed in the business plan.

• Create a marketing plan that includes product, pricing, placement and promotion goals and strategies.

• Identify the 3 Cs (customers, costs and competition) and the four Ps (product, pricing, placement and promotion) within a strategic marketing plan.

• Understand the importance of record-keeping for decision making in business planning, including production and marketing.

• Describe the differences between variable and fixed costs.

• Develop a basic production plan including a calendar, estimated total output of product per market channel and monthly labor estimates.

• Estimate projected revenue by market channel.

• Estimate net return to management (pay yourself).

• Understand labor as a financial risk factor (cost, source, cost of management).

• Identify record-keeping tools (software, etc.) and strategies (when and how to input data, and how to use data to improve business management).

• Describe how marketing plan and cost estimates link to production plan.

• Understand the need for basic financial statements and describe how they are used. 

Advanced classes are available for individuals who have successfully completed the Principles of Business Planning and Management classroom program. These classes are structured to provide additional “advanced” level programming in key topics in business planning. Advanced classes include:

• Legal Considerations for Farm Risk Management.

• Managing Ag Labor in Complex Enterprises.

• Developing Yourself as an Ag Business Leader.

To learn more about the Colorado Building Farmers program, go to www.buildingfarmers.com or www.facebook.com/ColoBuildingFarmers, or call the CSU Extension office at (970) 264-5931.

Food drive

Archuleta County 4-H is hosting a Food Drive Drive-By on Saturday, Dec.18, from 1 to 3 p.m. 

Bring your canned food donations to the fairgrounds and your children will get the opportunity to see Santa and the Grinch. 

This event is open to the community and all foods will be delivered to local food pantries. 

Archuleta County
Weed and Pest

Archuleta County Weed and Pest will begin accepting requests for the treatment of private properties for the 2022 season on Jan. 1, 2022.

CPR and first aid classes

CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office, generally on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. The cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. Call the Extension office at 246-5931 to register.