If you think you have an idea for a value-added agricultural product or an alternative crop, North Carolina State University has developed seven computer files that can help you decide whether the endeavor makes business sense.

Gary Bullen, an Extension economist, developed the files as a how-to guide.

“There are a lot of materials telling farmers what they should do to be successful, but they don’t explain how to do it,” Bullen said in a news release. “These files will walk farmers step-by-step through the business development process and evaluate issues before farmers invest their time and money.”

Here are the seven topics:
• Evaluating a new business idea;
• Estimating income and cost: Calculating a price;
• Researching your market: Identifying your customers;
• Researching your market: Evaluating the competition;
• Estimating market potential: Is there a market?;
• Legal, regulatory and insurance: Checklist for North Carolina;
• Product, price, place and promotion.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension agents are integrating the seven-step program into workshops and seminars for growrs across the state.

One of those is Amy-Lynn Albertson, an Extension specialist in Davidson County.

“As Extension agents, we have to help farmers in our regions market effectively,” Albertson said in the release. “They know how to grow it; not necessarily how best to sell it.”

For more information, visit http://www.ncvalueadded.org.