Farm On financial management course offers farmers, ranchers training to meet new program requirements

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COLUMBUS, Ohio—A new online farm management course offered by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will help Ohio’s beginning farmers qualify for the requirements of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program.

Called Farm On, the self-paced, on-demand farm financial management course was created by Ohio State University Extension professionals and is offered through OSU Extension’s new Farm Financial Management and Policy Institute (FFMPI), said Eric Richer, assistant professor and OSU Extension field specialist in farm management. 

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of CFAES.

“The Farm On financial management course was created to address the needs of Ohio’s new and beginning farmers who want to better prepare themselves to operate a commercial farm in Ohio and do that with a high level of economic stability while remaining profitable and responsible at every step along the way,” said Richer, who is the lead instructor for the Farm On course. “We believe Farm On will be a great deliverable to Ohio’s agriculture industry because it is on-demand, self-paced, and taught by Ohio State’s expert farm management instructors.”

What’s unique about the Farm On course is that, not only does it comply with the regulations of the new Ohio House Bill 95 Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program, it also meets the borrower training requirements for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Loan Program, Richer said.

The Farm On course includes multiple video lessons, 10 quizzes, 10 exercises, individual and group consultations, and a 10-module course that covers the following topics:

  • Farm Business Planning
  • Balance Sheets
  • Income Statements
  • Cash Flow Projections
  • Calculating Cost of Production
  • Farm Record Keeping
  • Farm Taxes
  • Farm Financing
  • Risk Management
  • Farm Business Analysis

The Farm On course allows CFAES to serve the needs of farmers through OSU Extension and our FFMPI, said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES.  

“We are excited to partner with ODA and USDA-FSA to address the farm financial training that is required for running a farm business,” Kress said. “Currently, we are the only educational institution in Ohio with a course like ‘Farm On’ that qualifies for ODA’s Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program and FSA’s Borrower Training Requirements.

“As part of our land-grant mission, CFAES educates not just college students but over 2 million individuals across the lifespan.”

The Ohio House Bill 95 Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program went into effect in July 2022 and grants a 3.99% tax credit to landowners who sell or lease assets to a certified Ohio beginning farmer. The new law also allows an Ohio tax credit to the certified beginning farmer equal to the cost of the financial management course completed, Richer said. The Farm On course costs $300 per person.

“Ohio State’s Farm On course is a great way to help Ohio farmers qualify for ODA’s new Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program, which is an important tool to help current, beginning farmers and potential, future farmers do what they do best,” said ODA Director Brian Baldridge. “We are thankful for this partnership that is helping to keep Ohio’s hard-working farmers at the forefront.”

Ohio State’s Farm On course is now 1 of 5 approved vendors for borrowers in Ohio, said Darren Metzger, Ohio Farm Service Agency loan chief.

“The course is in-depth financial management training that can assist our borrowers to obtain and/or improve their knowledge in this critical area of farm management,” Metzger said. 

The Farm On program is part of CFAES’ new FFMPI, which was created last year with the goal of sharing resource-based knowledge and best practices to help Ohio farmers manage their businesses as the agricultural industry changes and evolves. Housed within OSU Extension, the goal of FFMPI is for the integration, translation, and communication of CFAES’ farm management and ag policy presence that addresses critical farm management and policy issues affecting Ohioans.

“Farm On is meeting a need of today’s modern crop farmers, and it’s packaged in a way that respects the busy schedules of family farmers,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of Ohio Corn and Wheat. “It’s this type of tangible benefit that earns the support of Ohio’s corn and small grains checkoff funds. We are proud to partner with OSU Extension on this important new institute.” 

Farm On, which is just one of the programs offered through the new FFMPI, isn’t just for new and beginning farmers, said Peggy Hall, CFAES agricultural and resource law specialist and a Farm On instructor. 

“This course provides an opportunity for any farmer in Ohio, whether you’re a new farmer, a seasoned farmer, a small farmer, or a large farmer,” Hall said. “For a long time, we’ve needed to have this course in Ohio because farm management is so critical to ensuring the future of our farms.”

To sign up for Farm On, go to

Tracy Turner
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