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FarmLink Business Skills Camp

October 3, 10, 17 and 24
3pm – 7pm
Sacramento: Exact location upon registration

Register at Eventbrite

This four-part series will provide you with the tools you need to evaluate the overall business health of your farm or ranch. It will equip you to take specific actions to improve your knowledge or skills in order to build a strong and resilient sustainable farm or ranch business. Those who complete all four sessions will receive a zip drive with all materials, a certificate of completion, a one-on one-session with a farm credit specialist, and an hour of one-on-one technical assistance with the instructor.


  • How to structure your farm and ranch business with one or more owners
  • How different types of farm or ranch business structures affect how you are taxed
  • How the 2017 Tax Act changed the tax picture for small farmers and ranchers
  • Common tax deductions farmers and ranchers often don’t know about
  • How to set up your farm and ranch accounting so you get both simple and detailed reports
  • How to track production, sales, cost of production and cost of sales to maximize profitability
  • Understanding cash flow, credit, and building and preserving long-term wealth
  • Environmental regulations that may apply to your farm or ranch
  • Agricultural labor – when to hire, and what to do when it is time to hire
  • Food Safety – records you need, even if you are exempt
  • Types of Insurance for a farm or ranch business and the role each plays in protecting your future
  • Self-Assessment and Continued Learning – how to prioritize your learning and find the help you need

The course instructors are Poppy Davis and Alan Haight. See details below. Poppy is a former CPA with a law degree who specializes in business training for small farms and ranchers. Alan successfully established a diverse ten-acre farm in Nevada County in 2001 and recently transitioned farm operations to a beginning farmer.

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2017-70017-26886.

Poppy Davis

Program Adviser

Poppy Davis is a business and policy adviser to agricultural and food and beverage enterprises, and to nonprofits and local governments. She training and technical assistance on issues such as business formation, land tenure, credit, taxation, liability, regulatory compliance, and value-addedLongworth 2014 inventory. She works directly with nonprofits, associations, and local governments to help them develop financial and managerial capacity and programs to improve the environment for farming, ranching and healthy food access. Poppy teaches a class in agricultural tax law at the University of Arkansas School of Law and has ongoing affiliations with various beginning farmer and rancher training programs around the country.

Poppy began her career as a California Certified Public Accountant working in small accounting firms with an emphasis on family-scale farms and ranches and related estates, business, and not-for-profits. She translated her intimate knowledge of agricultural issues and farm-family decision-making to the policy arena, working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), first for the crop insurance program in the Western Region and most recently as the National Program Leader for Small Farms and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers in Washington, D.C.. While at the USDA she served as a member of the management team for Secretary Vilsack’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, and co-founded the USDA 4 Veterans, Reservists & Military Families, and Women and Working Lands workgroups.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of California at Davis, a Masters in Journalism from Georgetown University, and a Juris Doctor with a certificate in Agricultural Law from Drake University Law School. Poppy is also a past fellow of the California Agricultural Leadership Program (Class 35).

Alan Haight

Retired Farmer (and Vice President, FarmLink Board of Directors)

Alan Haight has farmed since 2001 at Riverhill Farm in Nevada City, California. Over the years, Riverhill’s diversified production of mixed fruits and vegetables has been highly regarded as a local provider of quality organic fruits and vegetables. Riverhill Farm is a community-based farm and is a meaningful part of the local food economy, with 85% of the farm’s produce sold within ten miles of the farm. The remainder is sold within the County in the Truckee area.

Alan believes there is great economic promise, hope and beauty manifest in small farms, and is intimately familiar with the challenges which the current generation of community-based and regional market farmers face in establishing and managing an economically viable farm. Committed to making a difference, Alan has led workshops on farm business planning and management at the annual EcoFarm conference, through UC Cooperative Extension, the California Small Farm Conference, and through the multi-county Farmers’ Guild/CAFF Farm Business Entrepreneurial Intensive workshops. Retired from farming as of the end of 2017, Alan has joined the FarmLink board to ensure farmers have every opportunity to achieve and maintain economic viability through access to land, capital and technical assistance.

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