BF 202: Writing a Business Plan

Planning for Long-term Success

  Enroll in Course

Planning for Long-term Success

Whether you intend to borrow money or not, heading into a farm venture without a business plan is like setting out on a long-distance journey without a map. Arm yourself with a business plan and you will have a guide to aid your farm decision-making and demonstrate to yourself and your family that your ideas are feasible. This steady-paced course is designed to help you build your plan, including developing financial statements.

Target Audience

All levels – This course is geared for new farmers as well as those expanding or transitioning from one farm enterprise to another. Before enrolling in this course you should already know the type of farm you want, some short-term and longer-term farm business goals, and the geographic area or state where you intend to farm. You should have at least some first-hand experience with farming, including personal research into the type of farm you will operate.

NOTE: If you are new to farming or are still exploring ideas, it may be helpful to take BF 101: Starting at Square One before enrolling in BF 202.

Course Objectives

Upon completing this course, you will have a full business plan in a format ready to be implemented on the farm. The business plan may be used to guide you in decision-making in the course of running the farm business. Additionally, the business plan will be in a form ready to submit to a banker, private investor or grantor, in the event you are seeking outside funding.

Graduates of BF 202 have obtained equipment and operating loans, and mortgages, for start-up and expanding farms.


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters, ask questions, and collaborate with other participants and the instructor to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.

Webinar Schedule

Live instruction for 2023 has concluded. You are welcome to enroll now to complete this course on a self-paced schedule and join our next live session in Fall 2024. All webinars are recorded and posted in your online classroom to watch anytime. Once enrolled in this course, you will retain access to all materials indefinitely and may return to participate in future live offerings of the course as well. Please join us!

Your Instructor

Myron Thurston + Michelle Proscia
Myron Thurston + Michelle Proscia

Myron Thurston is the Food Supply Chain Marketing Specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County and is a Senior Resource Educator in the Cornell System. His most recent position was in Agriculture Economic Development at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County and he worked with farmers there to help them prepare for expansion, diversification, and financial protection for their agribusinesses. He also is a grant reviewer for the USDA. Myron has a significant background in grant research and grant writing as he was in nonprofit fundraising and development for over a decade before coming to Cornell. He also served as the head of marketing for two nonprofits in Central New York. Myron grew up on a 100-year-old family dairy farm that milked around 350 cows and farmed on 2,000 acres in Oneida County, NY. He currently resides in Sherrill, NY with his wife, two children, a dog that loves to run with him, and a cat that is not very friendly.

Michelle Proscia has been the agriculture educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Sullivan County, NY since 2013, where she offers technical assistance and educational programming to farmers and community members in the area of Agriculture. She received her bachelor’s degree in Large Animal Science from Delaware Valley College. Michelle has also managed a small farm that raised poultry, sheep and pigs.

Course Curriculum

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course officially starts and ends on the dates given above, when the instructors get involved and begin hosting live weekly webinars. If you are registering after the webinars have concluded for the year, you will have immediate access to all the course materials, and will be able to participate in the next year's webinars if you choose to.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 7 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!