Alamance Co. Farm Couple Learns How to Grow Their Business Michael and Renee McPherson of Mebane, NC, are going back to school to keep their family farm competitive and growing. The Farm Credit University (FCU) AgBiz Planner program teaches young, beginning, small, and minority farmers new business skills to successfully manage and grow their operation. The McPherson‟s are participating in the college-level, online course this winter to learn how to develop business and financial plans, as well as budgeting and management skills essential to their farm‟s success. The couple are sole proprietors of the 3rd generation McPherson Farms near Mebane. Their farming operation includes more than 400 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat, along with hay to feed to their Holstein steers. The on-demand, 10-module AgBiz Planner computer course was designed for farm credit institutions by retired Virginia Tech agricultural finance and business management expert Dr. David Kohl. In addition to the online course, the McPherson‟s will have a close mentoring relationship with Blair Robertson, a commercial loan officer working out of Carolina Farm Credit „s Graham branch office. Robertson will serve as coach and facilitator as the McPherson‟s work through the course, leading to the creation of a business plan for their farming operation. This is the second year of the innovative program, funded with a two-year grant from the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. The AgBiz Planner program includes a total of thirty participants, ten from each of the three Farm Credit Institutions in the state. The McPherson‟s are being sponsored by Carolina Farm Credit, which is headquartered in Statesville, NC. Of the AgBiz Planner program, Carolina Farm Credit CEO Mike Morton said, “We are pleased to have provided these educational opportunities so our farmer members and others can learn and benefit in ways that are certain to enhance their farming operations.” Carolina Farm Credit is a farmer-owned financial cooperative with headquarters in Statesville. The leading provider of credit to farmer-members, Carolina Farm Credit has over $1.2 billion in loans and commitments outstanding to nearly 8,700 members, serviced by 37 branch offices in 54 western North Carolina counties. X X X X X X X For more information, contact: Maggie Hamm – Carolina Farm Credit VP of Marketing Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 800-521-9952 OR Jim Haskins - AgriBusiness Communications Group Email: email@example.com Phone: 919-933-2327 Caption: Carolina Farm Credit commercial loan officer Blair Robertson (right) answers questions of Michael and Renee McPherson on the AgBiz Planner program posed to their mentor, who works out of the firm‟s service center in Graham.