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The AGgregator

From the Field: National Value-Added Agriculture Conference

The 2012 National MarketMaker Innovation Awards sponsored by Farm Credit were presented this week during the National Value-Added Agriculture Conference in Traverse City, MI. Congratulations to the Mississippi and Kentucky MarketMaker teams for their first place wins and to Colorado and South Carolina as runners-up.

Conference participants had the opportunity to interact with innovative business owners and economic developers from across the United States to discuss rural entrepreneurism, adding value to agricultural products, agritourism and rural economic development.

With 47 states and three international countries in attendance, the National Value-Added Agriculture Conference was an interactive collaboration of ideas. Most of the attendees were Farm Bureau and Extension Agents looking for ways to prepare potential loan applicants to discuss their business with their lender, and I had the opportunity to give a presentation about how a lender evaluates credit.

Many of the questions were centered on beginning farmers and the tools available to them to prepare a business plan, balance sheet, and income statement along with the different programs that are offered by lenders and government agencies to help them reach their financial goals. As a member of the Farm Credit System, GreenStone has placed an emphasis on helping young, beginning and small farmers succeed. The success of this next generation of farmers is crucial to continue feeding the world.

Attendees also enjoyed touring several agricultural operations in northwest Michigan. Participants were treated to the beautiful views and local foods that the Traverse City area has to offer. Thanks to Michigan State University Extension and Product Center along with Farm Bureau for creating an open environment to discuss important issues, and to look for opportunities in the future.