Are you or anyone you know interested in writing a business plan for your farm?  I know, business plan writing isn’t the most exciting farm task, but a vital chore if you desire a successful enterprise. Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) is hosting a Whole Farm Business Plan Challenge beginning September 29th.  The Whole Farm Business Plan Challenge is an opportunity to win award money for your business plan whether you have one already written or will write one by November 10.  There will be a series of six webinars on topics like: forms of incorporation, financial assessment, and basic accounting.  At the end of the webinar series, people who submit a whole farm business plan will be entered to win three cash prizes to support their farm businesses.

ASD is a partner of the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (VBFRCP) which is coordinated by VA Tech.  The Beginning Farmers and Rancher Coalition will be providing the webinar format so that farmers throughout the region can access these trainings from their own place without having to travel.  All of the webinars will be held on Thursdays from 12 noon to 1 pm on September 29, October 6, 13, 20, November 3, and 10.

The webinars will offer expert advice from people like Andrew Branan of Branan Law Firm, PLLC in Hilsborough, NC.  Mr. Branan will be giving the webinar on Forms of Incorporation.  You can find some resources on their website at

The award money for the first chosen whole farm business plan is $400, second is $200, and third is $100.  Attendance at all six webinars is required in order to be eligible for the prize money.  The guidelines of the challenge and the scoring chart that will be used to select the winners can be found at

Past webinars provided by Virginia Tech that might also be helpful can be found at:  Of particular interest might be the webinar on enterprise analysis, but there are many others there that would also be useful.

We are in a time when the age of farmers is increasing, the size of farms are increasing, and the number of farms is decreasing.  The demand for locally grown food is increasing and we need more entrepreneurs with smart business plans.  We hope the prize money is enough of an incentive for people to put their farm business ideas on paper.  Having a living document provides you with a roadmap to drive your business to success.

All farmers, ranchers, and gardeners in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee are eligible to participate in the Challenge.   One-on-one technical assistance is also available for those who would like extra support.  To register for the Whole Farm Business Plan Challenge, please contact Tamara at or (276) 623-1121.