Day 20 of my 30 Days of Ag “All Things Minnesota Agriculture” is Pam Uhlenkamp. Pam is involved with the Farm Business Management Education program through South Central College in Mankato, MN. I can personally attest for this program as we were involved in the Farm Management class for many years. I really do believe it helped our farming business considerably. The program makes you a better farmer.
The Farm Business Management program is designed for those actively engaged in the operation and management of a farm business. The purpose of the program is to develop the manager’s ability to organize resources in order to meet business and family goals. The program emphasizes goal setting, the identification of resources, records management, business analysis and interpretation.
Instructors in Minnesota’s farm business management education programs deliver the program using a variety of methods. The primary delivery method is through individualized instruction at the student’s farming business. Instructors meet with the students on a regular basis to evaluate the business and develop individual educational plans. Instruction is also delivered in the traditional classroom, small group meetings, field trips and tours.
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How long have you farmed or been in business?
“I started as a Farm Business Management Instructor July 2010. Before starting as a FBM instructor – I was employed by Land O Lakes Purina Feeds as a Livestock Production Specialist working with swine and cattle producers in the Gibbon Mn area for 4 years. My husband is also an agricultural educator! He is the high school Ag Instructor and FFA Advisor at Sibley East Schools. Every day, we talk about how important agriculture is to our family. We may not be directly involved in production agriculture, but we are directly involved in helping shape lives that do depend on production agriculture. Educating the future generation, the current generation, and more importantly, our children!”
Tell me a little about what you grow/raise/produce/or service provided.
“The program is course/credit based, and a student enrolls in coursework based on a needs assessment they complete with their instructor. This education is highly individualized in order to meet the needs of the farmer. Each instructor works with their student on their farm needs such as beginning farmer education, specialty crop education, farm transfers, business plans, estate planning, business expansion, tax preparation and loan applications and renewals. Every day and farm family is unique which makes this program unique in meeting their individual farm needs.”
Where do you sell or provide services to? Who is your end consumer?
“Farm Business Management is a state-wide program through the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. There are currently 55 instructors working through 8 colleges in the state. South Central College currently has 12 instructors in their FBM department. I work with 40 plus farm families located around the Mankato area. I travel as far north as Shakopee, west to Gibbon, east to New Prague, and South to Amboy. Any farm producer and farm family will benefit greatly from the FBM program. Whether you are big or small, just starting or have been farming for many years, there is something for you.”
What makes your farm/business unique or special? What are you proud of?
“The Farm Business Management in unique in many different ways; we work with our farm families on a one on one basis which allows us to work with each family’s needs and wishes. Each family is unique so we cannot assume each family has the same problems, goals, and outcomes. Another reason for our uniqueness is we are based on the education foundation. We work with our families educating them on how to keep their own records and using those records to make sound financial and business decisions. We do NOT do it for them, we educate them to learn it and use it for themselves. I am proud to personally be working with over 40 farm families and getting to know them all as part of my extended family. I am also proud to say that Farm Business Management works with over 2500 farm families statewide.”
What do you love most about farming/business?
“What I love most about being a Farm Business Management Instructor is that each day is different, just as it is in all of agriculture! Each family is different and unique. This is a challenge, but what we learn at one family, may help another family use that information and succeed in a challenge that they are faced with. The other thing I love about farming, agriculture and Farm Business Management is that it is a Family Business! Every person in the family is involved in the business in some way. Whether it’s making meals, milking cows, driving combines and tractors, or going along for a ride in the ‘buddy’ seat to cheer up the driver, everyone has an impact on the family business. Family is also extended to neighbors and communities.”
If you were the “Ag King” for a day, you would __________________.
“I would encourage all farm businesses to be enrolled in the Farm Business Management Program. The program has so much to offer each family. But the ultimate goal is to improve your business in some way and we can help achieve those goals and help you understand how to get there.”
What makes Minnesota unique?
“Minnesota is unique when it comes to Farm Business Management. There are 55 instructors across the state working with over 2500 farm families. The reason that Minnesota is unique in comparison to other states is that we are education based, not service based. Farms still pay for their education, but they are also achieving a diploma or certificate through a college. Most other states do their bookkeeping for them and charge for that service. We feel in Minnesota there is a benefit to each farm responsible for their own records. This allows them to have a better handle on the day to day workings and financial implications to their farm business. Minnesota remains to be a viable and strong Farm Business Management Education state and we are the ‘poster child’ for many other states.”