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Session offers loan help, business skills

CARIBOU, Maine — Agricultural producers in Aroostook County and those who would like to become producers have one last opportunity to learn more about USDA Farm Service Agency loans and programs and get some basic business skills at the same time.

A free workshop Wednesday, April 25, at Northern Maine Development Commission in Caribou will highlight four elements of running a successful business and gaining access to valuable FSA programs.

This workshop will focus on business plans, cash flow projections, accounting methods and financial statements.

FSA officials will also explain federal programs and services designed to help producers gain access to FSA’s popular loan programs.

This is the fifth of five different business training workshops for producers and would be producers.

Last 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 almost 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.

NMDC Director of Planning and Economic Development Alain Ouellette encourages producers to attend, but says the information is also valuable to anyone who wishes to better their business skills.

The workshop will be between 10 a.m. and noon. Pre-registration is required at www.nmdc.org.

For more information, contact Ouellette at 551-5837, or by email at aouellette@nmdc.org.

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