The new year will usher in more producer and would-be-producer business training workshops by Northern Maine Development Commission and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

The workshop, Thursday, Jan. 11 at the Fort Fairfield Town Office from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., will focus on Cash Flow. Cash Flow is the life-blood of all businesses, particularly start-ups and small enterprises. As a result, it is essential that producers can forecast what is going to happen to cash flow to make sure the business has enough to survive.

This free workshop will explore the importance of developing an effective and useful "Cash Flow Analysis" for your farm operation. FSA officials will also be on hand to explain federal programs and services designed to help producers learn about, and gain access to, FSA's popular Farm Operating Loan Programs.

This is the third of five different business training workshops for producers and would be producers. Others are scheduled for Caribou Feb. 13 and the St. John Valley March 22. Attendance at prior workshops not needed to benefit from this session.

Earlier this year the USDA announced cooperative agreements with partners to educate producers, including those who have been historically underserved by USDA programs, about FSA programs that provide financial, disaster or technical support. Under a cooperative agreement with FSA, NMDC received funding to provide educational services to agricultural producers in Aroostook County.

The number of Maine farmers aged 34 and younger grew by almost 40 percent in the five years from 2007 to 2012, the last time the USDA did a comprehensive agriculture census. That growth surge — from 396 to 551 young farmers — far surpassed the 1.5 percent increase in the numbers of young farmers in the United States.

“Aroostook County’s producers have a long tradition of outstanding success in producing quality food to serve the growing needs of New England and beyond,” said Alain Ouellette, Planning and Development Director at NMDC. “A keen awareness and understanding of Cash Flow Budgeting will help to ensure continued business growth and success for our producers.”

Ouellette encourages producers to attend, but says the information is also valuable to anyone who wishes to better their business skills.

Pre-registration is required at www.nmdc.org. For more information, contact Ouellette at 551-5837, or by email at aouellette@nmdc.org.

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