Rutgers to Hold Equine Business Planning Course

In order to stay afloat in these hard economic conditions, equine operations need to be more business-savvy than ever. Rutgers Cooperative Extension, with funding from the Equine Science Center and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, will be offering an innovative pilot program oriented specifically for horse business owners. The newly established equine business planning course aims to help horse business owners create original business plans tailored to the success of one's operation from planning to implementation.

This course will take place over seven weeks, with one three-hour class per week on Tuesday evenings beginning Feb. 5 and running until March 19. It will take place in two locations: Somerset County Extension Office and the Gloucester County Extension Office, and classes will run from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., including a light dinner. Simultaneous workshops at two locations will provide greater ability to reach a broad range of students across the state, and stimulate a wide array of perspectives using a combination of live speakers and videoconferencing technology. Enrollment is offered to all who own or manage horse-related businesses, whether they are product- or service-oriented.

"So many horse business owners are overwhelmed with the daily pressures of running a business that they fail to establish a clear vision and look at the 'big picture,' " explains Carey Williams, PhD, equine extension specialist and associate director of the Rutgers University Equine Science Center. "The process of writing a plan encourages business owners to evaluate every aspect of operating an equine business, which in turn, will make them better prepared when problems arise."

Williams says equine business owners would benefit from a horse-specific program due to differences from traditional production agriculture industries. Throughout the equine business planning course process, students will produce tangible evidence of their accomplishments and acquired knowledge. By the end of the seven-week course, students will have created an executive summary and business description, completed a business and industry profile, charted a production and operations plan, prepared a marketing, management, personnel, and financial plan; plus produced an enterprise budgeting plan.

The equine business planning course workbook details equine-specific topics, questions, observations, charts, and examples beneficial to creating one's original business plan. The companion workbook will also serve as a stand-alone resource for horse business owners who cannot attend the course. Course instructors are Rutgers professors and agricultural professionals.

For more information about the equine business planning course, please contact Laura Gladney at or 848/932-3229. The course flyer and registration form are available online.

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