Reading Technical Text to Identify Needed Resources to Develop a Basic Farm Business Plan
The purpose of this lesson is build on a previous lesson that teaches how to take out a farm loan.
This lesson is designed for adult learners who are pursuing a career in farming. It focuses on reading scientific and technical texts (Grade 6) related to farming business plans. It will help learners identify the resources necessary to develop a simple farm business plan. The learners will have the opportunity to apply their acquired knowledge in class activities such as discussion to analyze case studies and develop the basic outline of their resource sheet.
Learner Audience/Primary Users
This lesson is designed for adult learners who are preparing for certifications or high school equivalency exams such as the GED. It aims to help adult learners who are thinking of pursuing a career in agriculture and need to improve their reading skills in topics related to the business aspect of farming.
Curriculum / Instruction
- Instructional Material
- Business Planning
- Adult Education
Time Required for Lesson
Key skills covered in this lesson include:
By the end of this lesson, the learner should be able to:
- Identify each major element of a farm business plan
- Define each major element of a farm business plan
- Identify at least two sources that can assist in developing each major element of the farm business plan
- Create a farm business plan resource sheet
College and Careers Readiness Standards (CCRS) Alignment
- Level: Adult Education
- Grade Level: 6 (D)
- Subject: English Language Arts
- Domain or Strand: Strand
- Strand : Reading and Writing
- Sub-strand : Reading Informational Text or Reading of Scientific and Technical text
- Standard Description: RI/RL.6.7 = Reading Informational Text/Reading Literature, Level 6, Standard 7
- Application: RST.6-8.7 = Reading Scientific and Technical Text, Level 6-8, Standard 7.
Learners should be able to read a text at Grade Level 6.
Learners should be able to do basic searches on the Web using a computer
Adult learners : A computer and internet connection (to research farming business plans).
- A computer and internet connection
- Audio/visual projection capabilities
- Business Plan Resource worksheet
- Links to examples of farm business plans
Lesson Author & License
- Lesson Author: John W. Carter
- License:Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license
Part 2 Lesson
Instructional Activities and Strategies
Time: 5 minutes
Ask, “Have you ever had to fix something or learn how something works? What did you do?”
Students volunteer their experiences.
Ask, “What steps did you have to take to fix that broken equipment or learn how to use something?”
Write their answers on the board; have students take notes
Time: 20 minutes
Say, “The purpose of this lesson is to help you get started with your own farm business plan. By the end of the lesson, we’ll have heard from a start up farmer just like you, we’ll have taken a look at the basics of a farm business plan, and then you’ll draft a resource sheet to help you develop your own plan.”
First, let’s take a look at Ryan Wiebe, NC A&T State University 2014 Small Farmer of The Year.
As you watch this video ask yourself,
Why do you think Ryan succeeded?
What do you think is the most important lesson learned from Ryan’s experience?
Show Wiebe video.
Be sure to point out the importance of Ryan’s mentor (Claude) if no one else does.
Also the importance of other resources such as the Cooperative Extension (support organizations will come under a variety of names).
Point out the farm started small; required help and a lot of hard work
Presentation / Modeling / Demonstration
Time: 20 minutes
This part of the lesson helps learners to identify the specific resources that are available for farmers to make a useful business plan.
Note: for the teacher to demonstrate use of the AgPlan resource, he or she must register and name their own business plan. To use the tools and resources, students must register as well.
Go through each section of the farm plan with a brief explanation:
Management and Organization
The Financial Plan
Emphasize to learners that they’re not expected to have all of this information. The objective of the lesson is to help them identify who can help with each part of the plan.
Note: the basic categories of the plan in the AgPlan resource have several subcomponents. It is not necessary to address these; tell the students that they should only be concerned with the top level of the each part of the plan, e.g. Business Description, Operations, and etc.
Distribute a paper version of the farm business plan resource worksheet to those who need it.
Note: the farm business plan resource worksheet should be distributed electronically before the class with a short description and how it will be used.
Explain the three parts of the worksheet: Business Plan Item, Description, Resource columns
Go to the Executive Summary portion of the AgPlan resource. Show the four tabs: description, resource, example, and comments (comments is for adding your own comments to the plan).
Show how students might summarize the description of the cover letter (it should not simply be a copy and paste exercise).
Show how to include given resources in the resource column of the farm business plan worksheet => Show them how to add links to the text.
Show one other resource that may help with the cover letter (students must identify at least one source outside the AgPlan resource for each farm business plan item.
Example resource website for helping the students complete the worksheet;
Click on Step 1, “Important Considerations”
Go through these questions with learners. Facilitate discussion.
Point out the available farm plan assistance.
By the end of this segment of the lesson, the first line of the business plan resource worksheet, Executive Summary, should be completely filled in on showing on the screen.
Time: 15 minutes
Have learners fill out the next item in the plan: Business (Farm) Description by identifying at least two resources that can help them with this. They may also fill in the details of these two items if desired.
Clarify any questions or difficulties in understanding or doing the task
Time: 30 minutes
Have learners denote on their worksheet where they are going to get help in finding the information they need to complete their farm business plan. Show them how to add links to the text.
Note: it is not enough to copy a top-level web address, e.g. “www.sba.gov”. Students must identify specific web pages for each particular element in the resource list.
Note: if students cannot identify a resource for each section by the end of class, it is to be done as homework. All business plan resource worksheets are submitted to the teacher for final evaluation and feedback.
Key Terms and Concepts
to Borrow (money), a borrower
Farm (dairy farm, livestock farm, tree farm, etc.)
Farm Service Agency (FSA)
to Pledge (collateral)
Production cost (cost of production)
Ranch (ranch vs farm)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Part 3 Supplementary Resources and References
General use :
Example Business Plans
Designers For Learning (2017), CN-2440-Gain-Experience-For-Good. Retrieved from https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1766.
Wiebe, Ryan. (2104). Ryan Wiebe, NC A&T State University 2014 Small Farmer of The Year [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCNDtpMCzDA.
The video of Ryan Wiebe, NC A&T State University 2014 Small Farmer of The Year was created by Ryan Wiebe and published at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCNDtpMCzDA. This video is copyrighted and is not licensed under an open license. Embedded as permitted by TERMS.
This work, ‘READING TECHNICAL TEXT TO IDENTIFY NEEDED RESOURCES TO DEVELOP A BASIC FARM BUSINESS PLAN’ is informed by ‘READING TECHNICAL TEXT SPECIFIC TO FARMING - LOAN CONTEXT, by SOPHIE GAUTHIER’, used under a CREATIVE COMMONS CC BY 4.0 license.