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Markets & Profits (BF 102)

Exploring the Feasibility of Your Farming Ideas

Have an idea for a farm enterprise but not sure if it’s feasible? This course will get you started exploring the potential markets and profitability of your ideas. It picks up where BF 101: Square One left off, so follows a natural learning progression from that course. (You do not have to take BF 101 before taking BF 102; however, you will likely get more out of BF 102 if you go into it with some existing knowledge of the concepts and terminology commonly used in business planning).

”Marketing might be the hardest and most important skill in beginning a farm, and so learning about some of the different ways to go about this was invaluable to me as I start my own farm.” –Elias K, Mount Arlington, NJ

Target Audience

Aspiring farmers who are actively planning farm start-up. Beginning farmers in their first few years who are looking for some help exploring marketing, development of budgets, and tools to help achieve profitability. This is an intro-level course that is designed to be taken concurrently or directly after BF 101.

Course Objectives

This course will help you:

  • Identify farm goals and timelines for an enterprise
  • Begin to develop enterprise budgets and understand the potential for profitability with selected agricultural products
  • Explore marketing outlets and concepts important for successfully branding and selling your product
  • Understand that everything in farming is interconnected


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, 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 presenters and ask questions in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.


Beth Claypoole is Ag Issues Leader of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Wayne County, NY.
Sandy Buxton is a Farm Business Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Washington County, NY.


This course is currently closed. It will next be offered in Jan 2016, with registration opening in mid-August 2015.

Course Outline

  • Week 1 – Introduction and Orientation to Moodle
    This is a chance for those in the class to get to know each other and get some tips on using the course content software, Moodle. (For students carrying on from the first course, this week is a chance to keep researching questions about your site and what you want to produce)
  • Week 2 – Farm Goals
    This week will be spent helping participants identify what goals they may initially have for their farm business. For example, is the farm going to be the only source of family income or just supplement it? If students have already developed their farm goals, we will move directly into the next week’s material.
  • Week 3 and 4 - Marketing Discussion and Plans
    Week three will be spent exploring the topic of marketing in regards to a farm business. Week four will be spent helping participants to start preparing a marketing plan for their farm.
  • Week 5 and 6 – What Will it Take to be Profitable?
    Week five is spent discussing ways to measure profitability for a farm business and other related issues. Week six is the last week of the course and will help participants learn if an agricultural crop they are interested in can be produced profitably.

Cost and Registration

Fee for this course is $200. Registration will next open in mid-August 2015.