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Agribusiness Management

We provide training, professional development and support for farming and family farms of all sizes. Since 1970 the program has served over 1,400 farms in the Willamette Valley. We are here to help Oregon ag grow.

topics Agricultural Sciences

Skills & InterestLeadership

CareersAgricultural Science

  • Agribusiness instructors at a seed bin
  • Hazelnuts in growth on tree
  • three farming tractors baling hay

Why choose program or class?

Our objective is empowering program participants with an understanding of sound business management principles and practices through a focus on effective financial record keeping analysis and interpretation.

You will learn state-of-the industry farm management skills, including –

  • Business planning and organizational structure
  • Optimization of production inputs through the Lean process
  • Business financial records completion and interpretations
  • Cost of production by class or enterprise
  • Succession planning and exit strategies
  • Tax strategies
  • Employee relations and labor issues
  • Leadership on the farm and in the community

What will you learn?

You will learn to create and maintain –

  • Record keeping, records analysis and interpretation
  • Goal setting: individual, family and business
  • Cost of production
  • Balance sheets
  • Profit and loss statement
    • By enterprise or crop system
    • Whole farm
    • Budgets and cash flow

What will you do?

You will be able to apply the best practices in the industry in running your farm business. Your knowledge will provide more business stability and increased opportunity for success and security for you and your family.

How and When to Join the Program

  • Open Enrollment - YEAR ONE

    We are accepting new pre-enrollment reservations for Year One to begin Fall 2019

    The ABM Program is actively seeking new farm businesses to pre-register for the Fall 2019

    • HOW
      • Contact one of the instructors by phone or email
      • Complete a class application (informational form) as soon as possible to reserve your seats
      • Formal registration forms are available in August
    •  WHEN
      • We are taking enrollment information and seat reservations NOW through November
      • Please keep in mind that the classroom has limited seating


Interested in testing your knowledge?

Take our quiz for a sampling of the kinds of things you'll learn in our program.

Agribusiness Management Quiz

Courses Offered For 2019-2020

  • Course Descriptions

    AgriBusiness Management Program (Non-Credit)
    503.399.5089 or 503.589.7759

    The AgriBusiness Management Program at Chemeketa Community College focuses on the basic principles of agricultural recordkeeping and financial management education.
    These non-credit courses provide agricultural business education for owners, family members and key personnel, including –

    • Use of recordkeeping software
    • Use of spreadsheet software
    • Setting goals
    • Staying informed about business and farming regulations
    • Understanding cost of production
    • Market fluctuations
    • Interpreting and learning agricultural policy
    • Succession planning and resolving family transition issues
    • Payroll and employee issues
    • Emerging and advancing technology.

    The major emphasis is on the development and maintenance of a complete set of records and the skills necessary to interpret the records and use the information to make sound agricultural business management decisions regardless of the size of the farm business. The program is designed for a minimum commitment of three years, but because of ever-changing technology, policies and practices and changes in key personnel, an agricultural business may choose to enroll for numerous years.

    These classes are taught in a classroom with additional instruction at your place of business for independent instruction that is tailored to fit your needs. Distance, online and evening classes are not available at this time.

    Courses for 2019-2020

    Agribusiness Management YEAR 1 (Register in the fall of 2019 for the entire year)
    Emphasizes setting agricultural business goals; developing a complete set of farm financial records; and analyzing those records for management decision making.

    Agribusiness Management YEAR 2 (Register in the fall of 2019 for the entire year)
    Monitors and assesses financial position of the agricultural business based upon records and analysis obtained in AgriBusiness Management YEAR 1. Explores computerized accounting and income tax management.

    Agribusiness Management YEAR 3 (Register in the fall of 2019 for the entire year)
    Focuses on reorganizing the agricultural business based on accumulated financial data. Further develops estate, retirement and labor management plans.

    Agribusiness Management YEAR 4 (Not offered in 2019-2020)
    Applies recordkeeping skills and three years of analysis data to farm reorganization and financial management decisions. Uses year-end analysis in evaluating effectiveness of reorganization and management practices implemented during the first three years.

    Agribusiness Management YEAR 5 (Register in the fall of 2019 for the entire year)
    Applies recordkeeping skills to individual businesses. Seminars scheduled and at-business training and support of record keeping, succession planning and employment policy.

  • Top 12 Questions about the Agribusiness Management Program

    1. How old is the AgriBusiness Management Program at Chemeketa Community College?

    Answer: The Program was started in the fall of 1970.

     2. Does the size or type of farm matter?

    Answer: No. This is a business management class.  The concepts and training provided are not directed by the size/type of farm but rather the discipline of running a business.

     3. Is it a degree program?

    Answer: No. The courses are taught on a non-credit basis with the student population consisting typically of “agricultural families” and managers of family held agricultural businesses.

     4. Does that mean the Instructor helps in soliciting new students?

    Answer: Yes. The Instructors are constantly seeking out new students from the agricultural community.

     5. How many individuals from the same business may participate?

    Answer: The business may have more than one individual attending the class at the same time. It’s not uncommon to have situations including “husband/wife”, “sister/brother”, “niece/uncle”, “owner/bookkeeper”, or other combinations including family members and employees.

     6. How often are classes held?

    Answer: Traditionally the classes are divided into two lecture groups with 11 sessions for the “Year One” and six sessions for “Years 2-5”. Optional QuickBooks and Excel technology workshops are offered for those seeking additional training. All sessions are held from October to April.

     7. Does the Program follow any specific standards in its presentation of farm accounting?

    Answer: Yes. The program adheres to the criteria established by the Farm Financial Standards Council and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

     8. What does an individual expect to learn from the course?

    Answer: During the first year a foundation on keeping complete farm business records is taught along with learning about cost of production, budgeting, business structures and establishing goals.

     9. What is the age of the typical student?

    Answer: Typical students fall into no age group. Students range in age from their teens to their 80’s.

     10. Does all instruction occur in a campus classroom?

    Answer: No. Much of the instruction occurs while meeting with families, managers and bookkeepers at their place of business; working with them on their specific financial and bookkeeping issues in a confidential environment.

     11. Is record keeping the only issue discussed?

    Answer: No. The Instructors cover many topics selected for their relevancy to Oregon family farms. Additional examples include: succession planning; farm contracts; water rights; labor law; lending practices; checkbook and account reconciling; enterprise and cost of production analysis; and updates on tax planning and strategies.

     12. Do the Instructors use agricultural professionals to present a topic?

    Answer: Yes. The Instructors utilize professionals from around the area such as attorneys and CPA’s to present topics that are relevant to the success of your business.

     BONUS QUESTION:  Do the instructors have farming backgrounds and experiences in agriculture?

    Answer: Both instructors grew up on farms, have owned farms and have Masters Degrees in Agricultural Economics. Collectively they have experience in lending, appraisals, real estate, marketing, accounting, business management, employee management and agricultural education.

  • Year One Schedule for 2019-20

    2019-20 Course Schedule & Outline AgriBusiness Management Year ONE

    Contact an Instructor to sign up for YEAR ONE

    Location: Chemeketa Community College, Salem Campus - Building 62, Room 101

    Time: 9 am-12 pm

    Note: Please schedule additional confidential on-farm assistance/training to meet your specific business needs. 

    Tuesday, November 26, 2019

    Program Introduction, Overview and Goals

    • Writing “Smart” goals for Personal, Family and Business – for one, five and 10 plus years
    • Preparing a SWOT Analysis – What is SWOT and why is it important
    • Discussion on “WHY” records are kept
    • Importance of using your records to strengthen and build your farm business
    Tuesday, December 3, 2019

    Office Setup – Practical, Efficient & Engaging

    Inventory Management and Solutions

    • Managing inventory so it doesn’t manage you
    • Tracking and valuing inventory
    Tuesday, December 17, 2019

    Succession Plan - Learn what works and what doesn’t.  When to start. How to handle changes in plans. How to build a team. 

    Tuesday, January 7, 2020

    Recording & Reconciling Transactions

    • Keeping accurate and informative records versus “garbage in garbage out”. How to interpret data

    Records Analysis and Interpretation – How, When & Why

    Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    Profit & Loss, Ratios Analysis & “Cash vs. Accrual” Accounting 

    • What drives farm practices and efficiencies? 
    • Recognizing Farm Financial Standards and GAAP
    Tuesday, February 04, 2020

    Net Worth Statement – Assets, Liabilities and Owners Equity

    • Balance sheet structure and nuances of agriculture
    • Cost vs. Market valuations
    • Developing the best chart of accounts for your business
    Tuesday, February 18, 2020

    Business Structures - Using the best business structure – Proprietorships, Partnerships, LLC or Corporation – which is best for you?

    Tuesday, March 3, 2020


    • Real depreciation vs. functional and economic obsolescence and the IRS Tax Code

    Continuous Improvement

    • Application of systems that drive success, provide for business growth and focus on recognizing future business objectives
    Tuesday, March 17, 2020

    Enterprising Strategies

    • Income and expense allocations amongst crops
    • Overhead
    • Production

    Social Styles

    • Understanding social styles and their importance
    Tuesday, March 31, 2020

    Budgets & Cash Flows

    • Making realistic projections using internal and external information -   Why
      • Whole farm budgets
      • Partial budgets
      • Family budgets
    Tuesday, April 14, 2020

    Year End Review and Conclusion


    Class schedules subject to change -  rev 8/7/2019

  • Year Two - Five Seminar Series 2018-19 Schedule (2019-20 Schedule is being developed)

    Agribusiness Management 2018-19 Seminar Schedule - Classes 2, 3 & 5

    (The 2019-2020 seminar series will be posted at a later date.)

    Class location: Chemeketa Community College Salem, Bldg. 62, Rm.101

    Class time: 9 am-noon


    Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    Panel discussion with Willamette Valley Ag Lenders

    This time you help ask the questions: Rates?  Terms?  Loan Officer?  Multiple Lenders?  Favored Crops?  Loans for Succession Management?

    Our Panel:

    • Avril Koehler – Citizens Bank
    • Mary Hood – Columbia Bank
    • Sean Kolb – Northwest Farm Credit Services
    • Scott Nieman – USDA Farm Service Agency
    • Shane Schweitzer – Harvest Capital

    Tuesday, November 6, 2018

    Understanding Family and Farm Retirement Strategies

    Panel Discussion with:

    • Maria C. Schmidlkofer, Attorney with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt,
    • Joanne Humphrey, CPA, PFS with Aldrich Wealth
    • Deke Tieske, Columbia Bank
    • Matt Benjamin, MBA, CLU. - Wealth Advisor with Northwestern Mutual

    Tuesday, December 18, 2018

    Annual Tax Update by Aldrich Advisors

    Tax laws updates, Strategies to improve your position, Policies and Strategies to watch for.

    • Curtis Sawyer, CPA
    • Joanne Humphrey, CPA, PFS
    • Joe Fitts, CPA 

    Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    Farm Business Employment and Contractor Policies

    Pay Equity, Family Medical Leave Acts, Contracts versus Employee Regulations and Payroll Obstacles and Legal Aspects – Followed by Questions and Answers

    Abby Fitts, Attorney

    Tuesday, February 12, 2019

    ODA Update on Food Safety, Good Handlers Practices, Good Ag Practices -                                   

    PLUS - A short discussion on Insurance Resources


    Susanna Pearlstein, Ph.D., Produce Safety Program Manager, Oregon Department of Agriculture

    Dennis Gamroth, CPIA, AFIS, Insurance Agent, Pacific Risk Management   

    Tuesday, March 12, 2019

    Rural Crime Prevention, Marion County Sheriff

    Equipment Theft, Identity Theft, Electronics, Surveillance, Crime Prevention, Home Invasion and Reporting Suspicious People and Circumstances

    Sgt. Jeremy Landers and others, Community Resource Unit


    IMPORTANT These web pages including “schedules’ are updated frequently.  We will also continue to send out class notices for approaching presentations so you can plan accordingly.