Mark Cannella, Farm Business Management Specialist for University of Vermont Extension, ventured down to the Buckeye State to kick off our Ohio Maple Days weekend on Friday, December 9th. Mark’s half-day seminar helped nearly 20 maple producers give serious consideration to their maple business plan. From modules on strategic planning to marketing to managing finances and calculating true profitability, group discussions and active work sessions engaged participants.
No matter the scale of a single maple operation, our commodity market is determined by a host of macro factors that are sometimes easy to observe but as often are difficult to suss out. At the level of the single operator, those macro factors mingle with local variables to produce a host of challenges and opportunities that vary year-to-year and even within a single season.
Participating operators asked hard questions that forced good conversations – conversations that sometimes ended in relatively clear answers, other questions that resulted in more…well, questions.
“How do I transition from a hobby to a business that can support my whole family?”
“Should I make that change truly believing it will be good for my family business in 2 generations future?”
“How can I better care for my trees?”
“How do I balance the need for equipment upgrades with the challenge of having enough labor to increase my number of taps?”
“How do I juggle maple and the rest of my responsibilities?”
These questions and more provided excellent fodder to stimulate 4+ hours of lively discussion. Thanks to Mark for bringing his business planning expertise to Ohio!
Additional online business planning tools can be found at www.maplemanager.org.