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Academy of Finance students learn about Agribusiness

November 23, 2014

October was a perfect time to visit Hurd’s Family Farm in Modena, New York near New Paltz. The apple orchard has been in operation and in the Hurd family for many generations. Students' visit included time with Charles Hurd who shared how operating a business dependent on Mother Nature can be very unpredictable. He answered students' questions about what types of expenses they need to run the farm, how they make it through tough times when the weather destroys much of the crop, and what he studied when he went to college.

Susan Hurd, Charles’ mother, explained to the AOF juniors how they decided to add the “fun” element to their orchard. In addition to selling apples wholesale around the country and the world, they introduced a retail side a few years ago where customers can pick their own apples, pumpkins, raspberries and other fruit, and bring their kids for playful activities that include a learning component. A corn maze that includes interesting facts about that crop as well as a who-dun-nit game, a mining for gems area that teaches children where in the world the gems are found, and even feeding koi fish in the pond on the property. And some, like the Big Apple Bounce pillow, were just fun to do!

Mrs. Hurd also taught the students the importance of a business plan, which she shared with them, as well as marketing to customers. She talked with the class about time spent at a conference in the mid-west where she brought back new ideas for activities that would bring in new and returning customers. The students left the farm having a new appreciation for all that goes into agribusiness.