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May 15, 2013, was a glorious Maine spring day with sun streaming on newly leafed trees at Augusta’s Viles Arboretum when more than 80 individuals gathered under the Slow Money Maine umbrella – a must-attend event for those seeking information on capital investments in Maine’s sustainable agriculture and food product system. The goal: to hear presenters, make connections and learn how to participate in Slow Money Maine (SMM). Attending were investors, nonprofit leaders, individuals interested in new ventures and those seeking funds for expanding operations or for start-ups – and Bonnie Rukin.

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Fearless Farm FinancesFinancial management is a daunting topic for any small business owner – including farmers. Keeping your head in the sand can feel safer than investigating answers to financial questions you might not want to have answered! If you’re in that boat, take heart: Your situation can only improve.

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• National Young Farmer’s Coalition study
• USDA's FSA expanding loan opportunities for beginning farmers

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Toki Oshima drawingA number of resources are available to small farmers who desire financing in the form of loans. Although debt is often anathema to farmers, those who have achieved a certain level of reliable, annual cash flow and a record of profitability will find that a loan can provide financing for land, machinery, buildings, operating capital or other purposes.

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Come March, farmers may be wondering how to pay this year’s taxes when crop income is still just a twinkle in their eyes. Here are 10 tax tips from three farm business specialists from University of Vermont Extension: Dennis Kauppila, St. Johnsbury; Bob Parsons, on campus; and Glenn Rogers, St. Albans

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The Western Maine Farm Fund and five banks are offering guaranteed fixed-rate low-interest loans ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 for farmers in Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis and northern Androscoggin counties.

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