Business training session on Jan. 20 to focus on agriculture

Published 6:50 pm Friday, January 15, 2010

The residents of Polk County stated they wanted the county to remain rural and agricultural, so the county has started several new initiatives to encourage agricultural businesses.

Mountain BizWorks has assisted many new business owners, but this session, although open to everyone, will have a special emphasis on agriculture. Agricultural businesses can vary from on-the-ground farm operations to value added products and agritourism to services for the equestrian operations.

Local residents can take advantage of the next business training sessions by attending an information meeting that will be held at Friends of Agriculture Breakfast at the 4-H Youth center on January 20. You can attend the breakfast at 7 a.m. and then the information meeting at 8:15 a.m. to about 9 a.m.

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The topic of the January breakfast is Farmland Conservation and Management Programs. Guest speakers Albert Moore from Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Stewart Walker from the NC AG Cost Share Program will present a presentation designed to inform farmers about the wide variety of programs available, which include: Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, the Conservation Stewardship Program, and the Conservation Reserve Program.

Polk County has several objectives to enhance agriculture. An effort is being made to reconnect the residents and local businesses to an agricultural and economic heritage. Since agriculture, including the equestrian operations, is the biggest business in Polk County, every effort should be made to enhance existing operations.

Finally, with the current trends to buy local healthy foods and encourage small businesses, agriculture can prove the base for new business development. It is expected that the number of agribusinesses will increase over the next several years.

Mountain BizWorks has been helping entrepreneurs since 1989 through financing, business instruction, and on-going support. Since its founding, Mountain BizWorks has provided business training to nearly 3,000 entrepreneurs, assisted in the establishment of over 1,000 locally-owned businesses, and has loaned over $1 million to entrepreneurs who were unable to obtain capital from traditional lending institutions.

For more information, or to register call Jo Ann Miksa-Blackwell at 828-894-5096. If you want to attend the breakfast, call 828-894-2281 so organizers can plan on the number of participants. There is no cost for the breakfast, but they request that you call to reserve a space.