Who do you turn to for support? Farming and ranching require a diverse set of skills, and you need people in your corner—mentors and advisors from a wide range of backgrounds who can help you weather challenges and achieve your agricultural goals.
When it comes to the business side of your farm, it’s critical to lay solid foundations from the start and to know where to go for support.
USDA is working with the Small Business Administration and SCORE to bring free business mentoring to farmers, ranchers, and agricultural business owners that can help you move from getting started to profitability and growth.
How a SCORE mentorship works
Business mentorship through SCORE is free, confidential, and one-on-one.
You can identify specific business questions that you’d like to receive support on, or more generally request mentorship in an area of your business, such as business plan development, marketing strategies, cash flow management, and tax planning. Once you make a request for a mentor, you will be paired with an individual within 72 hours. SCORE mentors are volunteers who have real-world business experience and can support you through all the stages of your operation.
Once you’ve been paired with a mentor, you will schedule a time to meet. Before the conclusion of your initial session, your mentor (or someone from the local SCORE office) will schedule another appointment for you or assist you in finding the correct resource. Some mentorships can also take place online if that is more convenient for you.
What can a mentor help you with?
If you’re getting started, a mentor can:
- Confidentially review your business ideas
- Explain how to apply for licenses, purchase equipment, lease real estate, etc.
- Provide info on finding legal and CPA services
- Help you create a detailed business plan
- Advise you on business negotiations
- Coach you through pre-finance preparations
If you’re preparing for growth,
- Confidentially review and evaluate your business situation
- Identify your served markets vs new markets
- Assess product portfolio
- Assist with SWOT analysis to identify your business’ strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats
- Identify business options
- Develop your growth strategies
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Be a Mentor: Invest in the next generation
If you have farming, ranching, or other agricultural business experience, you can help shape the success of tomorrow’s farmers and ranchers by applying to be a mentor.
A strong network of experienced farmers, agricultural professionals, and business owners is important to the success of new farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs. Serving as a SCORE mentor is a powerful way to invest in your local community and pass on your knowledge to the next generation that will feed our country and the world.
SCORE mentors are not affiliated with USDA.
To learn more, or to see answers to frequently asked questions, please visit: