USDA mentor initiative offers free, confidential business coaching

By Chris Beyerhelm, Acting Administrator, USDA Farm Service Agency

Photo by USDA

As a former farm loan officer and current acting administrator of the USDA Farm Service Agency, I know that good business planning is critical for farmers, ranchers, producers and growers. It can be the difference between having a thriving operation and struggling every month to meet production demands.

That's why USDA is partnering with SCORE, a nonprofit partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, to establish a mentorship initiative that connects business experts and business planning resources with farmers, ranchers and other agricultural and rural business owners. The initiative offers free, confidential and one-on-one business coaching from mentors with real-world experience in finance, accounting, marketing, operations and financial planning. Once a mentor is requested, matching takes place within 72 hours. 

Mentors can:

  • Review and evaluate business plans
  • Advise on business negotiations
  • Provide help finding legal and CPA services
  • Explain how to apply for licenses, purchase equipment and lease real estate
  • Identify new markets
  • Develop growth strategies

No matter what stage your rural business is in—starting out, ready to grow, or planning for the future, I invite you to sign up for a business mentor today. America’s farmers and ranchers are some of our most important entrepreneurs, and USDA is committed to helping farmers and ranchers build the fundamentals of their business and go on to long, successful careers in the agricultural industry. 


Chris Beyerhelm is the Acting Administrator of the Farm Service Agency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He oversees the delivery of farm loan and agricultural programs that enhance rural communities, and support the farmers and ranchers who provide an abundant, safe, and affordable food and fiber supply. Learn more about Chris Beyerhelm.