BF 104: Access to Capital

Funding Your Farm Plans

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Funding Your Farm Plans

Do you have good ideas for a farm business you'd like to start, or for expanding or diversifying your existing farm business? Do you have access to all the funding you'll need to bring your ideas to fruition? If not, this course is for you. It can be very difficult to navigate the process of getting grants or loans, especially if you did not come to farming with a background in finance. If you do have a background in finance, that's a great advantage, but there are many opportunities available to food- and farm-related businesses that don't exist in other sectors.

This course will start by emphasizing the importance of a business plan to this process, including cash flow projections. Once we have created a baseline understanding of what work needs to be done before seeking funding, we will have guest speakers talk about funding from a bank’s perspective, from Farm Credit East, from USDA's various grant programs, and from economic development agencies. We will also highlight funding streams that are particular to different groups such as minority- and women-owned businesses or veterans.

Target Audience

All levels - This course is for anyone who is seeking funding for a farm enterprise. Participants will get the most out of the course if they already have familiarity with basic business and financial concepts and terms, but the instructor will also explain these as the course progresses.

Course Objectives

If you are an active participant in this course, you will:

  • Understand how to prepare your business for funding
  • Learn how to research and find available funding
  • Know which resources to gather for an application that has the potential to be approved


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, 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.

Webinar Schedule

In 2025, this course will be offered live for 6-weeks on Mondays from 6:30 - 8:00 PM (Eastern) from January 13 – February 17. While we encourage live attendance, so you have the opportunity to engage with presenters and ask questions, all webinars are recorded and posted in the online classroom to watch anytime. Once enrolled in this course, you will retain access to all materials indefinitely, and can return to participate in the live webinars in future offerings of the course if you wish. Join us!

Testimonials from Recent Students

-This class has shown me how to take what I want to accomplish and has given me a starting point and the steps I need to take to reach my end goals. This class has been full of great resources that I’m going to spend the next few months looking into.

-The main instructor is knowledgeable in the topic, fluent in the terminology, has industry experience. He delivers the information in an interesting and consistent manner. I learned things I didn't know, and I would take another course from him.

Your Instructor

Myron Thurston + Lynn Bliven
Myron Thurston + Lynn Bliven

Myron Thurston is the Food Supply Chain Marketing Specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County and is a Senior Resource Educator in the Cornell System. His most recent position was in Agriculture Economic Development at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County and he worked with farmers there to help them prepare for expansion, diversification, and financial protection for their agribusinesses. He also is a grant reviewer for the USDA. Myron has a significant background in grant research and grant writing as he was in nonprofit fundraising and development for over a decade before coming to Cornell. He also served as the head of marketing for two nonprofits in Central New York. Myron grew up on a 100-year-old family dairy farm that milked around 350 cows and farmed on 2,000 acres in Oneida County, NY. He currently resides in Sherrill, NY with his wife, two children, a dog that loves to run with him, and a cat that is not very friendly.

Lynn Bliven is the Agriculture & Natural Resource Issue Leader for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Allegany County, NY. She began her career in 4-H and currently works in Agricultural Economic Development, specializing in beginning farmer outreach, local food systems and livestock production. Lynn and husband Shawn operate a 52 acre farm in Rushford, NY raising grass-fed beef and lamb.

Course Curriculum

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course officially starts and ends on the dates given above, when the instructors get involved and begin hosting live weekly webinars. If you are registering after the webinars have concluded for the year, you will have immediate access to all the course materials, and will be able to participate in the next year's webinars if you choose to.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 7 days and we will give you a full refund.

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