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Extension Education

Shannon Dill
Extension Educator - AGNR
University of Maryland Extension


Business coaching is a popular practice in private industry where experienced and knowledgeable individuals assist and guide business owners in building and growing their business. The University of Maryland Extension created a coaching program for ag entrepreneurs to help identify goals, connect resources and make actionable steps towards starting or improving their business. In 2019 the program transitioned its one on one Entrepreneurial Coaching program to a virtual environment. Since then 87 individuals have participated in at least one virtual coaching session.

Majority of individuals (68.4%) had less than five years of experience in agriculture, or had not started. Participant goals are to supplement their income (45%), want to employ them self or others (45%) and want to improve the financial viability of their existing business (13%). When asked about land 40% have land and interest was mostly in crops (63%) and business management (63%)  with value added being third (46%). End of class surveys show participants increased knowledge by 35% with the highest results in knowing which regulations pertain to my business (47%), knowing the next step (44%), finding resources needed (34%) and writing a business and marketing plan (33%).

The follow up survey shows 73% rated the experience as valuable or highly valuable. The highest qualities of coaches include resources (73%), accessibility (67%), supportive (60%), experienced (36%) and connected (33%). Participants have taken action to write or revise their business plan (57%), investigate regulations (43%), estimate how much it costs me to produce my product (43%), conduct other market research (36%), survey potential or existing customers (29%), applied for a certificate or permit (29%) and acquired insurance (29%). Participants have expanded their business (46%), improved the financial viability of the business (31%), started a business that provides supplemental income (23%), purchased inputs from Maryland farms or businesses (23%). When asked about the income 40% are not generating income yet and those that are average approximately $29,500 annually.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

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Authors: S. P. Dill, N.G. Little, G. Myers
  1. Dill, S. Extension Educator, University of Maryland Extension, Maryland, 21601
  2. Little, N. Extension Educator, University of Maryland Extension, Maryland, 21215
  3. Myers, G. Extension Specialist, University of Maryland Extension, Maryland, 21756