Farm Viability a Priority for NH Nonprofits

Farm Viability a Priority for NH Nonprofits

Farm and Food Businesses Eligible for Team of Coaches Tailored to Their Needs

Organizations from around New Hampshire are partnering to offer teams of coaches to New Hampshire farms and food businesses to help them meet their business and management goals. Thanks to a grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission, administered by the Agricultural Viability Alliance, these organizations will offer teams of specialists tailored to farm and food businesses individual needs in Belknap, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, and Sullivan counties. 

Because of the partnership, farmers and food business owners will be able to get the assistance they need in areas that include:

  • Business planning;
  • Whole-farm planning, goal setting, strategic decision making;
  • Financial planning, assessing financial health, and establishing financial benchmarks;
  • Recordkeeping;
  • Understanding land access, including purchasing and leasing;
  • Education around and road-mapping of transfer, retirement, and estate planning;
  • Assistance with farm succession and land tenure security;
  • Production planning;
  • Enterprise and cash flow analysis; and
  • Branding and marketing assistance, including market channel analysis.

For each client, a team of coaches from across New Hampshire’s nonprofit community will be formed to meet that client’s specific needs. For example, a start-up farm needing help with a business plan might have a team of specialists who can help with whole-farm and financial planning. A food business looking to create a new product may have a team made of specialists who can help with an enterprise analysis and a marketing plan.

“I went through a farm viability program myself,” said Nancy LaRowe, farmer, Mighty Oak Farm, and coordinator at Vital Communities. “I knew how to raise animals, and the program helped me put the pieces together so that I could run a business as well. Farming can be an isolating career. So we’re providing a support structure that can help farms and food businesses grow.”

The group of nonprofits awarded this grant include Vital Communities, Land for Good, the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, and the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology. Additional support is from other organizations who have also received funding from the Agricultural Viability Alliance: UNH Extension, Farm Credit East, Yankee Farm Credit, and the Center for an Agricultural Economy. This grant funding ends at the end of 2021 but all the organizations involved are committed to working together toward a common goal that represents the early stages of the creation of a farm viability network for the state that will go beyond the grant end date. 

Farms and food businesses may apply to have a team created for them at: https://forms.gle/h1DNDJ33QH9vkYJ76 and will receive roughly 15 hours of assistance (depending on need) over the course of 2021. Receiving support from a team of coaches will require commitment from farmers to work with the coaches as well as a willingness to share financial data.

Please contact Beth Roy, Vital Communities Food & Farm Program Manager, for more information or to request assistance.

beth@vitalcommunities.org (802)291-9100 x105