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Placer County Supervisor Robert Weygandt’s column

Placer Business Resource Center helps farmers succeed

By: Robert Weygandt
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Placer County has a long and rich history of farming and ranching, starting before the birth of the county in 1851 and continuing to this day.

The dedication and hard work by our local farmers and ranchers continues to pay off. Today, Placer’s agricultural industry boasts crops and products valued at over $65 million.

Having grown up on a ranch in rural Lincoln, where I still live today, I have a deep appreciation and understanding of the industry. It can be a tough row to hoe. According to the 2012 agriculture Census, less than 25 percent of farms in Placer County produced a profit.
According to Placer County Farm Advisor director Cindy Fake, 90 percent of farmers and ranchers who’ve had some business training are able to turn a profit and stay on a path of economic viability. So I was excited to learn that our new Placer County Business Resource Center in Rocklin recently hosted a workshop, “So you want to start a farm or ranch?” to help give them a head start.
This class, sponsored by the Placer County Farm and Home Advisor and the University of California Cooperative Extension, was designed to help those who are thinking about starting a small farm or ranch but don’t know where to start.
The three-hour class presented attendees with an introduction to farming as a business, available resources, rules and regulations, economic principles and networking guidance.
The workshop was well attended, with standing-room only. A second workshop has been scheduled at the Business Resource Center for Nov. 8.
Though we may not think of them this way, farms are businesses, too, and our new Business Resource Center offers lots to serve their business education.
Agritourism is booming in Placer County as more and more visitors not only want to support their local farmer, rancher, vintner or brewer but also experience where their food and beverages come from.
The Placer Business Resource Center can help farmers and ranchers capitalize on the agritourism movement to be more successful as a farm and a business, too.

Their services include workshops and classes, one-on-one advising, hiring assistance, and permit and regulatory assistance.
Having just opened in April, the Placer Business Resource Center has already helped hundreds of small businesses - a great sign of the value I know it will bring to business and economic development throughout the county and our industries. A full calendar of events is available at http://www.placer.ca.gov/brc.

Robert Weygandt is the Placer County supervisor for District 2, which covers Lincoln, Sheridan, and the western portions of Rocklin and Roseville. To contact Weygandt, call (530) 889-4010 or email slandon@placer.ca.gov.