North Coast SBDCEureka and Crescent City California

The Business Side of Farming 2018

Do you have or want to start a farm business in Humboldt?

APPLY TODAY: To apply, (1) send us completed program application and scholarship application, and (2) set up your online request for services.

The North Coast Small Business Development Center and the North Coast Growers' Association are offering a special program for Farmers on the North Coast to enhance their business skills. "The Business Side of Farming" cohort learning program will run from March through May 2018. We have done this program several times and response has always been very positive. 

Is This for Me? 

Do you wish you could earn a living or increase your income from your Farm products? Does your household live with a low-to-moderate income? If you answer yes to both of these, then you may be eligible.

Ready to Apply?

Step (1) YOU APPLY. Complete the Online Request for Services, Flight Application, and Income Eligibility forms below and email them to or bring/mail them to North Coast SBDC Flights Program, 520 E Street, Eureka, CA 95501. We will review applications on a rolling basis so get them in early and you'll get an answer quicker. If you need to apply late, please email asap.

  • Sign up online as a client * Be sure to specify you’re a Farm Flight candidate. This gets you into the system so you can access help no matter what.
  • Flight Program Application * Download, fill out thoughtfully, and return by email, mail or in person.
  • Income Eligibility Form * This income form must be filled out completely or we cannot process it. All information is kept confidential. Call us any time if you need help with the questions.

Step (2) WE CONFIRM YOUR INCOME ELIGIBILITY. You will get an email promptly confirming that we received your application and saying whether you are income eligible for this program. 

Step (3) WE CONFIRM YOUR FLIGHT ELIGIBILITY. You will get a phone call and an email after your application has been reviewed letting you know whether it's time to set up your intake interview with the Intake Coordinator. That conversation will allow us to figure out whether "The Business Side of Farming" flight is the right program for your needs, or if our other services will suit you better. If you are a fit for this cohort, we will assign you your own business coach who will talk in depth with you about your hopes, needs, and goals. If you are a fit for the cohort but you don't qualify for the full scholarship you can decide then if you want to pay out of pocket, or you can choose to have business advising only, which is always no-cost.

The Timeline

January 25: First Information Session  
February 13: Final Information Session 
February 20 : Flight Applications Due    
End February: Intake/Assessment Interviews 
Beginning March : Applicants Notified of Acceptance or Provisional status 
Before March 22 :  Participants have their first meeting with a business advisor (phone or in-person)
March 22 : Program kicks off
May 10: Farm Panel
October TBD: Reflection on the Season

The Program

The Business Side of Farming flight provides three benefits: one-on-one business advising, team building with others in the cohort, and workshops. 

Business Advising: participants are required to complete 10 or more hours of business advising. This is the most important part of any SBDC program--this is where you get individualized, confidential coaching from an experienced advisor. 

Team Building: there will be many opportunities for members of the cohort to share advice, cheer each other on, and provide feedback. Past participants tell us these relationships often last long past the end of the Flight program.

Workshops: Some workshops are required, and others are optional. See details below.

The Workshops

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  • Workshop dates will be updated when our instructors confirm availability, but we try to hold them all on a work day starting at 5:30 pm.
  • Workshop location is Prosperity Center Conference Room, 520 E Street, Eureka unless otherwise specified.
  • If you are accepted into the Flight but are not income eligible for the full scholarship, you can pick and choose the workshops you wish to participate in. Prices are indicated below.
  • The Required vs Optional Sessions below apply to full scholarship participants. Participants who are paying out of pocket can select the workshops they need and have the budget for.
  • You can take the Business Basics workshops whenever you like from February through July. 



Welcome & Kick-off | Planning to go to Market, Session 1 | Thursday, March 22, 11am to 5:30 pm

Orientation & program logistics. Team building. Defining your brand. Before you choose your crop mix or buy livestock, create a business plan and understand your target market. Start building relationships and market intelligence with CSAs, farmers' markets, groceries (and eventually restaurants, schools, hospitals). How to set prices, build a budget, do basic bookkeeping. (6 hours, $300) 

Resources for Farmers | Session 2 | Wednesday, April 4, 2pm to 6pm

Learn about access to land - leasing, buying land or other options for your farm. Find out about Capital – tips for bootstrapping through your first years, how to find start-up money or when to seek financing such as Ag loans. Know your insurance options. (4 hours, $200) 

Legal Matters | Session 3 | Wednesday, April 25, 11:30am to 5pm

Learn about farming regulation and permits from the experts of our area. Interns vs. employees vs. contractors/temps… you need to know the rules. What to know about the Food Safety Modernization Act. (5 hours, $250) 

Meet the Rock Stars of the Farm Industry, Panelists Q & A | Session 4 | Thursday, May 10, 4pm to 6:30pm

Successful Farmers talk about their careers, give advice about the industry,selling at markets within and outside of Humboldt County, etc. (2.5 hours, $125)

Reflection on the Season | Session 5 | October TBD

Review your business plans as a group and share your experiences about your farming season. (4 hours, $200)


Business Basics: Plan for Success | February 8, April 18, June 13 
Business Basics: Think Like a Marketer | March 14, May 16, July 18
Business Basics: Get Your Books in Order | February 28, April 25, June 20
Business Basics: Get Your Finances in Order | March 21, May 23, July 25 

The Business Basics workshops can be taken in any order and on any date that fits your schedule. You are encouraged to start taking these before the flight begins. Visit our calendar to pick your date and register online.  (2 hours, $30)


Resources for Entrepreneurs/Makers | 

When and how to use debt, crowdfunding, and more.  

Photograpy for e-commerce | 

Learn how to present and photograph your pieces for highest impact. Hands-on. Led by respected local professional photographer. 

Marketing & Selling Your Product Online | 

Learn the pros and cons of selling your products online via E-Bay or Amazon. Learn the basics of using social media to drive customers to buy online. Instructor Bill Prescott who advises SBDC clients on e-commerce and leads digital marketing and sales for Sun Valley Flower Farms. 

Strategic eMarketing with Social Media | 

Reach more buyers, use social media resources and time wisely. 

Build your e-commerce web site | 

Hands-on step by step workshop led by a seasoned web developer who likes to teach what he knows. You finish having built the first version of your own free Squarespace web site. Held at Humboldt State University computer lab. 

Apply Now

It all starts here. Complete the application and submit your request. A member of the SBDC will follow up with you and help you achieve your small business goals -- at no cost to you.
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Funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the California Governors Office for Business and Economic Development, and other private and public partners;  and nationally accredited by the association of SBDCs.