Southern Ohio Agricultural & Community Development Foundation Offerings

(Shared by Melissa Carter, Business Specialist, Small Business Development Center)

The Southern Ohio Agricultural & Community Development Foundation (SOACDF) is again offering an opportunity for farmers in Southern Ohio.  The Young Farmer Agricultural Program is designed to facilitate growing an agricultural enterprise to the next level.  The intent of the program is to help promote and ensure a strong future in southern Ohio agriculture.  Eligible applicants must be ages 20 – 38 as of August 1, 2017 and must reside within the 22 counties the Foundation currently serves.

The Agricultural Development Program is open to any individual who resides within the 22 counties the Foundation currently serves that have either a Farm Service Agency (FSA) number on record. It is very similar to the Young Farmer, however there is no age requirement.

SOACDF will award up grants in both of programs of up to $25,000 each.  The grants will be 50% cost shares with the awardees.

Applications, including a business plan, will be accepted for the programs throughout August. Applications will be available starting July 1st at the SOACDF office in Hillsboro, the local Farm Service Agency or online at www.soacdf.net.

SOACDF will hold informational meetings for First Hand Information:

  • Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. – Cherry Fork Community Center, SR 136, Cherry Fork

  • Thursday, July 5, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. – Southern Hills Career & Technical Center, Board of Education Building

 Hamer Rd, Georgetown

  • Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. – C.H. McKenzie Ag Center, Jackson Pike, Gallipolis

The Business Development Network is available to meet with applicants to review components of their applications and business plan.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Jennifer Dunn at 740-289-1605.  Please call to schedule an appointment before August 13th.

 

CFAES Center for Cooperatives Launches Co-op Mastery

(Shared by Ivory Harlow, Program Specialist, CFAES Center for Cooperatives)

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives launched Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101, a new and innovative online training course designed to educate cooperative members, boards, management, employees, and students.

Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101 is made possible by a grant from the CHS Foundation 2017 Cooperative Education Grants Program. The training is housed in The Ohio State University’s public-facing online education platform. It is free and can be accessed online at go.osu.edu/coopmastery.

Caption: Co-op Mastery is a new online learning tool launched by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives.

“Co-op Mastery curriculum focuses on mid-level knowledge about the cooperative business model,” said Center for Cooperatives Program Manager, Hannah Scott.  “Training modules build on existing fundamental materials by providing an in-depth look at governance, finance, taxation and other areas not typically covered by courses in fundamentals, yet challenging topics for stakeholders.”

The training features eight modules which include video interviews with numerous leaders in the cooperative movement:

  • Logan County Electric Cooperative General Manager Rick Petty discusses cooperative principles and various functions of cooperatives.
  • Dennis Bolling retired President and CEO of United Producers Cooperative shares the benefits cooperatives provide members.
  • Mid-America Cooperative Counsel Executive Director Rod Kelsay discusses effective education and training the Board of Directors.
  • Ohio State Univerisity Extension Educator Dr. Chris Bruynis gives insight to key factors that contribute to a cooperative’s success.
  • Nationwide’s VP of Sponsor Relations Devin Fuhrman shares the story of Nationwide’s history as a mutual cooperative company.
  • Agricultural attorney Carolyn Eselgroth of Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham and Eselgroth, LLP addresses legal considerations when forming a cooperative business.
  • Co-Bank Senior Relationship Manager Gary Weidenborner leads users through an interactive financial document exercise.
  • David Hahn, Professor Emeritus the Ohio State University, explains cooperative taxation.

“We invite folks to ask questions and receive answers from our Center staff in the online Co-op Forum,” said Joy Bauman, Program Coordinator.  “They can also browse an extensive collection of online resources in the Cooperative Library.”

The CFAES Center for Cooperatives offers customized in-person workshops to complement the online training. Workshops are designed to serve the requesting cooperative’s needs. Examples include: new employee education, board of director education, strategic plan development, cooperative marketing and policy development. Workshop participants receive a companion workbook with activities to fortify learning. They gain on-going access to Co-op Mastery online training materials, which they may work through at their own pace or search for specific information to meet immediate needs. Users can return to the Co-op Mastery online materials at any time to troubleshoot cooperative issues and they can receive ongoing technical assistance from CFAES Center for Cooperatives staff. To request a workshop or more information, visit go.osu.edu/cooperatives or contact the Center for Cooperatives at osucooperatives@osu.edu or 740-289-2071 ext. 111.

 

Ohio EPA Resource Guide for Businesses and Communities

(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA) provides several compliance, technical and financial assistance programs available to help Ohio communities and businesses with their environmental needs.  These services and relevant contact information are summarized in their “Resource Guide” which is available to view and download at:

http://epa.ohio.gov/Portals/29/documents/ocs/ResourceGuide.pdf

For questions about the guide, please contact Pejmaan Fallah at Pejmaan.Fallah@epa.ohio.gov or (614) 644-3666.

USDA Rural Development Business & Cooperative Programs

(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Rural Development is pleased to announce important changes to the Business & Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program. These changes will better serve rural communities by helping lenders provide loans to businesses and helping to increase employment opportunities for rural residents. These changes include but are not limited to:

  • Removal of the U.S. Citizenship requirement for companies wanting to use the B&I loan guarantee to increase employment in rural areas.  The applicant company will need to demonstrate the loan funds will remain in the United States and will be invested in the rural community to create and retain employment opportunities.
  • Owner subordinated debt may be included as equity provided the debt was established in exchange for cash and the debt remains in the company for the life of the guaranteed loan. This change can help applicants meet the minimum tangible balance sheet equity requirements of the program. Minimum tangible balance sheet equity for an existing business is 10% while a startup business is 20%.  All financial statements must be prepared according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
  • New Market Tax Credit projects are now be eligible for assistance through the B&I program.  Subordinated debt made by the Community Development Entity can be considered as equity into a project.  This is another means of helping the business meet the minimum tangible balance sheet equity requirements.
  • The guarantee fee can be reduced to 1% of the guaranteed portion for businesses that support value added agriculture; promotes access to healthy foods; or is a high impact business development investment.
  • Loan guarantees can for agricultural production can be 50% or $5MM, whichever is less, of vertically integrated businesses. This is a substantial increase from the previous agricultural production maximum amount of $1,000,000.

Should you have any questions regarding these changes or if you would like additional information on the B&I Loan Guarantee Program, please contact one the Business Programs Staff listed below. We are willing to provide training or outreach on these new regulations should that be necessary to effectively implement this program within your organization.

Christie Hooks                   Christie.Hooks@oh.usda.gov       614-255-2397

Cindy Musshel                   Cindy.Musshel@oh.usda.gov       614-255-2427

Debbie Rausch                  Deborah.Rausch@oh.usda.gov    614-255-2425

Jennifer Brown                 Jennifer.Brown@oh.usda.gov      614-255-2423

Randy Monhemius           Randy.Monhemius@oh.usda.gov      614-255-2424

Ohio AgritourismReady Conference: Local Food and Local Fun

(Written by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Want to learn how to successfully manage and market your Agritourism Operation in Ohio? Come join us on March 10 at the OSU South Centers to hear from the experts and your peers to gain knowledge you can implement as soon you return to your farm.

Learn about:

  • Food & Animals on the Farm: Liability Issues
  • Selling Food at the Farm: Pricing
  • Promotion and Profits

See the flyer for more details:

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…

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.
Packaging

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

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…

SOACDF offering a variety of agricultural programs to assist southern Ohio farmers

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

The Southern Ohio Agricultural & Community Development Foundation (SOACDF) is again offering an opportunity for farmers in Southern Ohio. The programs are similar to previous years, however, this year, a new requirement is that eligible parties must provide documentation of the most recent tax return which shows farm activity (ex. Schedule F, form 1120, 1065, 4835, etc.).

The Young Farmer Agricultural Program is designed to facilitate growing an agricultural enterprise to the next level. The intent of the program is to help promote and ensure a strong future in southern Ohio agriculture. Eligible applicants must be ages 20 – 38 as of August 1, 2016 and must reside within the 22 counties the Foundation currently serves.

The Agricultural Development Program is open to any individual who resides within the 22 counties the Foundation currently serves that have either a Farm Service Agency (FSA) number on record. It is very similar to the Young Farmer, however there is no age requirement.

SOACDF will award up grants in both of programs of up to $25,000 each. The grants will be 50% cost shares with the awardees.

Returning this year is an Environmental/Water Quality Grant Program which is open only to tobacco quota owners, quota owner/growers or grower/tenants of FSA records in any single crop year from 1997-2004. The maximum reimbursement is $10,000 and focuses on improvements made on farming operations such as stream crossings, containment systems, and manure storage facilities.

Applications, including a business plan, will be accepted for the programs throughout August. Applications are available at the SOACDF office in Hillsboro, the local Farm Service Agency or online at www.soacdf.net Continue reading