Registration is underway for a free business skills workshop for agriculture producers and would be producers this November in Island Falls.

John Moore

Join Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) staff, representatives from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) and others to better your business skills. This four-hour workshop, at the Island Falls Town Office Monday, Nov. 13 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., will explore record and book keeping, accounting processes, cash flow statements and more. Farm Credit of Maine will also discuss tax planning and preparation. FSA officials will also be on hand to explain federal programs designed to help producers.

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 nearly 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.

"With an increase in younger and start up producers, there is a need for additional business skills and knowledge of government programs, which can be of tremendous value to the agricultural community,” said Alain Ouellette, Planning and Development Director at NMDC.

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 Alain Ouellette at 551-5837, or by email at aouellette@nmdc.org.

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