Training and Tools for Assisting Small and Mid-Scale Producers of Horticulture Crops with Business Decisions

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2013: $79,857.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2016
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:
Steve Muntz
Southern SAWG

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: general education and training
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, agricultural finance


    Four, day-long trainings and five, one-hour webinars were developed and delivered for agricultural service providers on topics related to improving profitability of horticultural producers. Each webinar honed in on a different farm business decision issue.  The day-long trainings, held in Mobile, AL (2015), Lexington, KY (2016),  San Antonio, TX (2016) and Edinburg, TX (2016),  focused on key farm data, analyzing the data, and decision making to increase profitability and attain farm goals. Trainers used PowerPoint presentations, a role-play video and interactive discussion to address the complex nature of managing a diverse farm business.  All webinars are available online

    Project objectives:

    1. At least 80 agricultural professionals who work with small and mid-scale producers of horticultural crops will gain a greater understanding of the key activities needed for farm owners and managers to make well-informed business decisions that can help them attain their goals and increase their farm profitability. These activities will include understanding what farm data to track, how to collect and store the data, how to analyze the data, and how to make business decisions based on key drivers of farm profitability.
    2. At least 75 agricultural professionals who participate in this project will gain confidence in their ability to discuss recordkeeping techniques and business decision-making with producers who they assist, and will be able to recommend specific farmer-friendly tools and other resources that the producers can use to track important farm financial data, analyze the data, and make business decisions that lead to increased farm profitability.
    3. At least 60 agricultural professionals who participate in this project will incorporate more effective assistance on recordkeeping and business decision-making into their farmer assistance.

    Examples of behavior change expected:

    • Project participants incorporate information about recordkeeping and business decision-making into production training and other education for small and mid-scale horticulture producers, with a focus on increasing farm profitability.
    • Project participants include more in-depth education about recordkeeping and business decision-making that leads to increased farm profitability when assisting small and mid-scale horticulture producers with loan applications, USDA program applications, or new enterprise decisions.
    • Project participants include education on recordkeeping and business decision-making that leads to increased farm profitability when training beginning farmers who are interested in horticultural enterprises.

    Our intent is to equip more assistance providers, who are often the primary information contacts for farmers, to be able to provide assistance in a whole systems way by discussing recordkeeping and business decision-making within the context of production and marketing, instead of as a separate, and often neglected, topic.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.