Farm Management Friday: Build Your Business

Join University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension’s Farm Management Fridays webinars to learn about tools and strategies to build your farm business, and how to develop skills that cultivate a sense of peace and well-being. 

Farm Management Fridays webinars are a part of Extension’s Farm Ready Research winter programming for farmers and ag professionals to improve business profitability and lifestyles through informed decision-making. There is no charge to participate in the sessions, but pre-registration is required to allow access to the session. Register online at

“Do you find yourself wondering how to take your big picture idea and translate it into an actionable plan?” asks Stephanie Plaster, Extension Regional Farm Management Educator. “Join us in April for our Farm Management Fridays where we’ll be walking through proactive management tools you can use to envision and design your farm business’s path forward.”

April topics and presenters include:

April 1, 2022: Develop your Farm Business Idea Using Lean Start-Up and Business Model Canvas. Trying to figure out whether your business idea has any merit can be a daunting process. Business plans take a lot of time and energy to pull together for an idea you may not be sure will succeed. The Lean Start-Up with Business Model Canvas is a tool and process for discovering the best business model for your idea without investing too many resources. It is most successfully used as a precursor to the business planning step. First you ask yourself, “Do I have a viable idea (business model)?” If yes, the next step is development of a business plan. But, there is no reason to go through all the work of a business plan if you don’t have a good and viable business model to start with! Extension Specialist Kevin Bernhardt and Educators Steph Plaster and Ben Jenkins will walk through examples of how Lean Start-Up with Business Model Canvas can be used to stress test a new business enterprise or changes to your current business.

April 8, 2022: Strategic Thinking for the Farm Business: Putting your Farm Values to Work. Strategic thinking is the intuitive, visual, and creative process you use to make decisions about your farm business. Strategic thinking is all about thinking ahead, anticipating what your competition is going to do, and then taking risks to succeed. Our values shape how we make the day to day and long-term decisions that affect our business and our future. Being able to define exactly what our personal, family, and business values are, allows us to understand our WHY – or what’s behind what motivates us and drives us to make decisions, accomplish goals, and be successful. Extension Educator Steph Plaster will explore how to craft your values and put them to work in order to design your future rather than let the future happen to you.

April 22, 2022: Cultivating Personal Strength and Resilience: We-COPE for Farmers and Agriculture. This 60-minute session will explore a sampling of activities and skills that research shows can dramatically reduce personal stress, improve physical health, and cultivate a sense of peace and well-being even for those who live and work in the busy and unpredictable world of agriculture. Whether you are a farm operator, manager, employee, or other professional connected to the ag industry, the We-COPE Program draws from clinical research studies about actions that are shown to make a difference in our lives, relationships, decision making and sense of well-being. Extension Specialists John Shutske and Educator Amanda Corough will demonstrate skills that can be built into our daily lives and busy routines without a great deal of effort or time. This program builds on and amplifies the strengths and skills that people associated with farming already tend to do well and practice regularly.

Learn the most up-to-date information on topics from dairy and livestock production to forage and farm management. Farm Ready Research webinars continue until May 2022.