Ohio Agribusiness Community to Benefit from New CFAES Center for Cooperatives

(Shared by Hannah Scott, Manager, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Ohio Agribusiness Community to Benefit from New CFAES Center for Cooperatives
Published on October 26, 2017
Matthew Marx
Hannah Scott
740-289-2071 x227
Shared from osu cfaesnews listserve email

Alissa Armstrong of FLM+ (left) and Janice Welsheimer of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association were among the 40 guests celebrating the new CFAES Center for Cooperatives at an Oct. 18 reception in Columbus.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s agribusiness community, agricultural cooperatives and students in The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will have greater access to research, educational opportunities and technical expertise through a new, college-wide Center for Cooperatives.

The center, with staff based at CFAES’s Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon, will have a faculty presence on the Columbus campus. It will integrate the college’s current activities and operations that support cooperative business development, will engage directly with long-established cooperatives, and will provide education both in the classroom and through CFAES’s Ohio State University Extension program and other outreach activities.

“The CFAES Center for Cooperatives is expected to be comprehensive and bring together all three mission areas of the college — teaching, research and Extension,” OSU South Centers Director Tom Worley said. “We are pleased to be well positioned to serve the cooperatives community in Ohio through the combined faculty and staff resources of the center.”

Worley will oversee the center, with Ani Katchova, associate professor and farm income enhancement chair in CFAES, leading its research programs. Hannah Scott, program manager at the South Centers, will lead the new center’s Extension and outreach activities.

Programming for the center will occur within all major CFAES mission areas with a goal of extending knowledge to emerging and established agricultural cooperatives in Ohio and supporting rural economic development. The center will also provide future agricultural professionals with interdisciplinary training and research opportunities.

About 40 guests including CFAES faculty, cooperative leaders, and state and federal government representatives attended a reception celebrating the new center Oct. 18 in Columbus. In addition, Debbie Rausch from the Ohio office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program announced that CFAES has been awarded a Rural Cooperative Development Grant totaling nearly $200,000 to improve rural areas of Ohio and West Virginia through the development of cooperatives and other mutually owned businesses.

October is National Cooperative Month.

How to Write a Business Plan

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

BPlans at http://articles.bplans.com
by: Noah Parsons

This article is part of both our Business Startup Guide and our Business Planning Guide—curated lists of our articles that will get you up and running in no time!

If you’ve reviewed what a business plan is, and why you need one to start and grow your business, then it’s time to dig into the process of actually writing a business plan.

In this step-by-step guide, I’ll take you through every stage of writing a business plan that will actually help you achieve your goals. And, if you’re just looking for a downloadable template to get you started, you can skip ahead and download it now.

Whether you’re trying to raise money for your business or are developing a plan for strategic growth, a solid business plan is a key component to every successful business.

1. Keep it short.

Business plans should be short and concise.

The reasoning for that is twofold:
1.First, you want your business plan to be read (and no one is going to read a 100-page or even 40-page business plan).
2.Second, your business plan should be a tool you use to run and grow your business, something you continue to use and refine over time. An excessively long business plan is a huge hassle to deal with and guarantees that your plan will be relegated to a desk drawer, never to be seen again.

2. Know your audience.

Write your plan using language that your audience will understand.

For example, if your company is developing a complex scientific process, but your prospective investors aren’t scientists (and don’t understand all the detailed scientific terminology you want to use), you need to adapt.

Instead of this:

“Our patent-pending technology is a one-connection add-on to existing bCPAP setups. When attached to a bCPAP setup, our product provides non-invasive dual pressure ventilation.”

Write this:

“Our patent-pending product is a no power, easy-to-use device that replaces traditional ventilator machines used in hospitals at 1/100th the cost.”

Accommodate your investors, and keep explanations of your product simple and direct, using terms that everyone can understand. You can always use the appendix of your plan to provide more specific details.

3. Don’t be intimidated.

The vast majority of business owners and entrepreneurs aren’t business experts. Just like you, they’re learning as they go and don’t have degrees in business.

Writing a business plan may seem like a difficult hurdle, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know your business and are passionate about it, writing a business plan and then leveraging your plan for growth will be not nearly as challenging as you think.

And, you don’t have to start with a full, detailed business plan that I’m going to describe here. In fact, it can be much easier to start with a simple, one-page business plan—what we call a Lean Plan—and then come back and build a detailed business plan later.

Read more…

Why do local food businesses fail?

(Submitted by Ivory Harlow, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Farm and Dairy at https://www.farmanddairy.com
By Ivory Harlow – October 16, 2017

Consumer awareness of local food and appreciation for the farmers and food entrepreneurs that produce it is at an all-time high. As the market share of local foods increases, new business opportunities abound. In 2015 sales of local food topped $8.7 billion dollars according to a Local Food Marketing Practices Survey from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Successful sales, growing demand, and plentiful public interest seem to create the perfect conditions to start or grow a local food business. But many local foods businesses fail, while others struggle to cover the basic costs of operation. Some rely heavily on loans and grants to keep the lights on and doors open. The failure of these businesses to thrive affects farmers, business owners and employees, as well as the local economy and larger community.

Why local foods fail

James Matson is an agricultural economist and agribusiness advisor. He serves as a consultant with Matson Consulting LLC. Mr. Matson works with local foods businesses to learn the story behind their struggle. He helps foodprenuers regain their footing in the market and achieve profitability.

Matson is the author and co-author of several publications, including “Running a Food Hub: Lessons Learned from the Field” and “Running a Food Hub: A Business Operations Guide.” The two-volume series addresses nine problematic areas that cause many local food businesses to fail:
1. Customers. Know the target customer, and tailor products to fit customers’ needs.
2. Products. Achieve the right product mix based on a thorough understanding of what customers want and appropriate price points.
3. Food Safety. Understand the regulatory environment and food safety certifications.
4. Infrastructure. Purchase building and equipment to support the business’s long-term goals.
5. Profits. Plan for profitability.
6. Labor. Employ skilled labor.
7. Operations. Work with knowledgeable and capable partners.
8. Transportation. Anticipate high distribution costs and budget accordingly.
9. Software. Lack of suitable software creates operational inefficiencies.

Read more…

5 Ways to Boost Your Entrepreneurial Confidence

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

BPlans at http://articles.bplans.com
by: Abdo Riani

“You have two minutes to convince me why I should invest in your company,” my professor said.

About seven years ago I delivered my first pitch. I was a sophomore in college back then. Never had I ever imagined I would spend three consecutive weeks practicing for a two-minute presentation. I was scared to death.

My brain was so exclusively focused on this presentation that I didn’t even ask or think why I was experiencing that much worry for a class assignment that meant to simulate a Shark Tank-like pitch. I did well, but most importantly, from all my research and mentor meetings, I learned a very important lesson: Nobody is born confident.

Even the most successful speakers and leaders lack confidence at certain times, but anyone who is willing to work on it can master it. Today, I speak about entrepreneurial confidence; about what it takes to have faith in your own decisions and actions to execute on your ideas. These strategies will help get you there.

1. Embrace worst case scenarios

How bad could it be? Lack of confidence is often a fear of failure. Overcoming it starts with figuring out what the problem is.

Identifying the possible negative consequences of our decisions and entrepreneurial initiatives and then naming their potential solutions reduces uncertainty and increases confidence.

When I was in college, everyone I knew—family, friends, professors and academic advisors—asked me to wait until I earned a degree and gained experience working for an established business before starting my own.

When I asked why, they talked about security and return on investment from my college years. They talked about the importance of having a plan B and how I still had the time to pursue my passion in the future.

Read more …

Ohio Cooperative Week Proclamation

(Shared by Ivory Harlow, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Rod Kelsay, the Executive Director of Mid America Cooperative Council (MACC), accepted a proclamation from the Office of Governor John Kasich to honor Ohio Cooperative Week October 15 – 21, 2017.

Your Sept.-Oct. Rural Co-ops magazine, from USDA

(Shared by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Sept.-Oct. 2017 Rural Cooperatives magazine

Or link to the Rural Co-ops home page (current and past decade of magazines)

Among the articles in the new, Sept.-Oct. Rural Co-ops magazine are:

• “More than a Fire Drill” examines how critically important it is for cooperatives to develop a crisis plan before a disaster hits. Co-op leaders share their experiences and lessons learned from real life crisis situations, from fires, to floods, to tornadoes.
• “Crossing the Merger Finish Line” focuses on several recent co-op mergers, with co-op leaders sharing their insight into the steps they took to prepare the membership for a vote.
• “Why We Celebrate Cooperative Month” begins a special section of a dozen articles that report on a wide variety of co-op development and conversion efforts around the nation.

To subscribe, please go to:

Is your farm MarketReady™?

(Submitted by Ivory Harlow, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Farm and Dairy at farmanddairy.com
By Ivory Harlow
Published October 6, 2017

MarketReady™ Producer Training will be held October 20, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Is your farm or food business market ready for 2018, or do you need help getting locally produced food products to market?

If you could use some assistance to expand your marketing channels, the MarketReady™ Producer Training is for you. MarketReady™ is an education program for farmers and individuals interested in starting or expanding a food business. Increasing demand for locally produced food provides an opportunity for local producers to sell their farm fresh products direct to restaurants, grocers, wholesalers and institutions. The program began as a University of Kentucky initiative, led by Dr. Tim Woods.

“[There is] tons and tons of opportunity in terms of a demand for local foods, but the challenge is just getting our producers up to speed to be able to bring the quality, consistency, and volume of product that these buyers are looking for,” Woods said in an interview with WalletHub.

MarketReady™ teaches farmers professional marketing skills. The curriculum covers market evaluation, packaging, pricing, relationship building, logistics, quality assurance and other key business functions.

MarketReady™ teaches farmers how to label and package products in a way that appeals to customers.

“I’m a farmer, not a marketer,” a local producer confessed. He underestimated the importance of product packaging when he started selling to grocers.

“Large corporations have entire teams dedicated to branding; my product packaging has to compete.”

Pricing products appropriately for various market channels is a challenge. On one hand, farmers need to price products at a rate that buyers are willing to pay; On the other hand, farmers must price products to support their business’s viability over the long-term. MarketReady™ helps producers develop a pricing strategy that meets buyers needs as well as their own.

Read more…

Microsoft October 26 – Excel 2013 Level 1 Training Workshop Offered

(Shared by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Microsoft Excel 2013 Level 1 Training Workshop Offered.
The Business Development Program of the Community Action Committee of Pike County, the Pike County Career Technology Center, and the OSU Small Business Development Center are offering an all-day Microsoft Office Excel 2013 Level 1 Training Workshop on Thursday October 26, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., at the OSU Endeavor Center in Piketon, Ohio.

In this hands-on course, you will learn fundamental Excel 2013 skills. You will start by getting acquainted with the Excel user interface, creating and saving a basic worksheet, perform calculations, modify and format a worksheet, print workbook contents, and manage large workbooks.

For more information, contact Lisa or Wendi at 740-289-2371 or toll free at 1-866-820-1185.

Lunch Provided!!

E-mail etiquette: Ensure the “E” stands for “excellence”

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Specialist, SBDC Export Assistance Network, OSU South Centers)

To ensure the “E” stands for “excellence”
use excellent e-mail etiquette to enhance your communications with colleagues and clients. For each communication, choose carefully whether e-mail is the best method. Remember, for example, that e-mails are often read on mobile devices, so if your communication requires more than a few lines, consider alternative communication methods. When you do choose to use e-mail:

•Address recipient(s) with professional formality. An introductory “Dear Mr. Smith,” for example, can have a big influence on how professional and courteous you seem.

•Use clear and accurate subject lines. Include the required action, if possible. Effective subject lines also help you organize messages for future reference. Change subject lines and/or start a new e-mail thread if the conversation changes to a new topic.

•Use standard grammar and spelling, and proofread. This is still a business document, so treat it accordingly. Avoid excessive exclamation points, abbreviations, emoticons, etc. Use complete words and sentences.

•Control your tone. Read a message out loud, and assess whether there is any chance for misinterpretation—reword if necessary.

•Include context in each e-mail, even if the e-mail is a continuation of another conversation. Giving a little context shows that you are being courteous by not assuming the receiver will automatically understand and remember the conversation.

•Choose words carefully, because e-mail is forever. Remember that deleted e-mails can always be retrieved. Understand that an e-mail can be grounds for dismissal if it shows evidence of significantly inappropriate behavior. E-mail can also be used as evidence in legal matters.

•Choose the appropriate “reply” setting. Think twice when using “Reply all,” for example, to determine whether all original recipients really need to be copied on the response.

•Respond to e-mails in an appropriate amount of time. What is acceptable may vary by organization, person, and project. For example, some people or projects require immediate responses. Others may be fine with a response within 24 hours.

•Use professional names for e-mail attachments. Use names that clearly identify what the attachment is.

•Treat e-mails as the unsecure documents they are. E-mails are not private, so never use them for confidential or sensitive information, such as customer account numbers.

•Don’t send an e-mail in anger. If typing your frustrations helps you to diffuse them, open a word processing document and do so, but then delete the document. Don’t open an e-mail message in which to vent because it could be too easy (or tempting) to send it inadvertently.

Source: hr.blr.com

NCB Co-op 100 list of the largest cooperatives in the U.S.

(Shared by Hannah Scott, Manager, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

The NCB Co-op 100 Reports Top Producing Cooperatives with Revenues of $208 Billion
Oct. 3, 2017, 01:12 PM

Arlington, VA, Oct. 03, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Arlington, VA (October 3, 2017) — National Cooperative Bank, known for providing banking solutions tailored to meet the needs of cooperatives nationwide, released its annual NCB Co-op 100®, listing the nation’s top 100 revenue-earning cooperative businesses. In 2016, these businesses posted revenue totaling approximately $208 billion. The NCB Co-op 100® remains the only annual report of its kind to track the profits and successes of cooperative businesses in the United States.

“The economic impact of cooperatives is critical to our economy”, stated Charles E. Snyder, President and CEO of National Cooperative Bank. “Cooperatives can be seen in just about every industry across America, including local food, finance, housing and energy. Whether its brining fresh local food through a food co-op or affordable homeownership through a housing cooperative, cooperatives help strengthen communities.”

This year’s theme for Co-op Month is “Cooperatives Commit.” In addition to ranking the top 100 co-ops by revenue, the report also highlights the many ways co-ops commit to their members, sustainability, education, impact, kindness and their community.

The following are the top revenue producers in 2016 for the NCB Co-op 100’s main sectors:

•CHS Inc., based in Saint Paul, Minnesota reported $30.3 billion in revenues in 2016 and maintained its first place position on the NCB Co-op 100 list.
•Dairy Farmers of America, based in Kansas City, Missouri, reported $13.5 billion in revenues, earning the number two ranking this year.

•Wakefern Food Corporation/ Shoprite, based in Keasbey, New Jersey reported $12.8 billion in revenue, earning the fourth ranking this year.
•Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc., based in Kansas City, Kansas reported revenue of $9.2 billion and earned the fifth position on the list.

Hardware & Lumber:
•ACE Hardware, based in Oak Brook, Illinois earned $5.1 billion in revenue and came in at number nine on the list.
•Do-it-Best Corp., located in Fort Wayne, Indiana earned the 12th place on the list, with $3.0 billion reported in revenue.

•Navy Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Merrifield, Virginia, earned $5.4 billion in revenues and is number eight on the list.
•CoBank headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado earned $2.8 billion and came in 14th on the list.

•HealthPartners, Inc., located in Bloomington, Minnesota earned $6.0 billion in revenue and is seventh on the list.

Energy & Communications:
•Basin Electric Power Cooperative, located in Bismarck, North Dakota earned the 18th position with a reported $2.0 billion in revenue in 2016.
•Oglethorpe Power Corporation, located in Tucker, Georgia earned the 27th position with reported revenue of $1.5 billion in 2016.

While the companies and rankings change each year, the cooperative sector continues to advance, playing an increasingly influential role in the national and global economy. Released annually in October during National Co-op Month, the NCB Co-op 100® is just one way the Bank strives to educate and promote the importance of this sector.

Read more …