EVERETT – Farming can be a wonderful lifestyle, but achieving financial success requires a view of farming first and foremost as a business.

WSU Snohomish County Extension will offer a 12-week “Cultivating Success: Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Farm Business Planning” course to help new and existing farmers gain skills in business planning and direct marketing. The course will emphasize the financial and legal issues unique to farm-based businesses.

The classes will be held on Tuesday evenings from Jan. 12 through March 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. in WSU Snohomish County Extension’s Cougar Auditorium in McCollum Park, 600 128th Street S.E. in Everett.

The in-depth business-planning course will cover evaluating resources, planning and research, legal and management issues, marketing strategies, budgets and financial statements, and cultivating financial resources. Participants will develop a business plan during the course they can literally take to the bank to pursue financing for a new enterprise or to expand an existing farm-based business.

The course facilitator is Stanwood Angus beef rancher Holly Thompson who holds degrees in animal science an agricultural economics from WSU. Thompson recently assisted with WSU Skagit County Extension’s “Sustainable Small Farming and Ranching” course and has worked for Northwest Farm Credit Services as a loan officer.

The course will feature a full line-up of local guest speakers including bankers, business professionals, and successful farm owners. In addition, there will be two Saturday field trips to learn how other thriving farms are turning business plans into profitable reality.

Cost for the twelve-week course is $250. Class size is limited to 20 farms and pre-registration is required. To register, contact Karie Christensen at 425-357-6039, or by email at klchristen@cahnrs.wsu.edu. You may also download the form at snohomish.wsu.edu/ag/workshops/AgEnt2010.pdf and mail it with your check.

For more information on the course, contact Andrew Corbin at 425-357-6012 or corbina@wsu.edu.

For here for more information on the Cultivating Success program.