Growing Successful Agricultural Businesses

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $74,984.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Host Institution Award ID: G128-20-W7504
Grant Recipients: California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity; San Diego Small Business Development Center; Dickinson Farm
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Carolina Martinez
California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity
Carla Holland
San Diego Small Business Development Center

Project was initially named "Business of Farming (BoF) - Train the Trainer Program." Due to contractor limitations, the curriculum development changed to a new contractor which does not utilize the "Business of Farming" title. Project name changed to "Growing Successful Agricultural Businesses" per agreement with Western SARE and CAMEO. -6/28/22, JM

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, business planning, community-supported agriculture, farmers' markets/farm stands, financial management, marketing management, new enterprise development, risk management, value added

    Proposal abstract:

    Anecdotally, lack of land is considered the primary reason there are not more new farms. It may explain the reason aspiring farmers do not start farming but it does not explain why farmers are failing within the current economy. Lack of land is just a reason, not the reason.

    The importance of management balance was emphasized in a 1980-87 study of factors contributing to farm profitability (Klinefelter, 2012), and still reflected today in the farm census analysis (Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems: A Report to Congress, AP-068, 2015).

    The Business of Farming course provides a strong foundation in small business development and business management, specific to agri-business. With the addition of the Train-the-Trainer program we intend to measurably increase the number business knowledgeable agri-preneurs ensuring success and economic viability of the next generation of farmers.

    Using a remote training model to decrease cost and increase impact, the Business of Farming Train-the-Trainer program will create a Business of Farming Facilitators guide and Train the Trainer curriculum, host three Cohorts and implement technological infrastructure to train and support 21 instructors over a 3-year grant which will in turn train and mentor at least 315 farmer / owners.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The purpose of this project is to provide training and support for Ag Business Educators engaged in providing technical support and advice to aspiring and beginning small farmers planning to open their own for-profit business, growing produce and other agricultural products for market.

    The cornerstone of this training project is three Train the Trainer workshops where Business Educators will learn about the specifics of the Business of Farming and leave with the skills, competency and knowledge to effectively counsel, guide and inform agri-preneurs. To ensure success of the training project there are various activities that need to be completed and objectives that need to be met.



    Completed By



    Create & Finalize BoF Facilitors Guide

    5 months after issuance of grant

    Grant Issuance


    Create & Finalize Train the Trainer Curriculum

    2 months after completion of BoF Facilitors Guide.



    Coordinate and Conduct ToT Course Cohort 1

    Within 5 months of material completion aligned with BoF Course at South San Diego SBDC.

    1, 2


    Provide Trainer Technical Assistance

    Within 3 months of finishing Cohort 1, and ongoing.

    1, 2, 3


    Create & Update Technical Resource Portal

    Within 3 months of finishing Cohort 1.

    1, 2


    Coordinate and Conduct ToT Course Cohort 2

    Year 2 of grant aligned with BoF Course at San Diego SBDC.

    1, 2, 3


    Coordinate and Conduct ToT Course Cohort 3

    Year 3 of grant aligned with BoF Course at San Diego SBDC.

    1, 2, 3, 4


    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.