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How to Start a Farm: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
New to farming? Want to learn how to start a farm? USDA can help and offers additional assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers. USDA considers anyone who has operated a farm or ranch for less than ten years to be a beginning farmer or rancher. USDA can help you get started or grow your operation through a variety of programs and services, from farm loans to crop insurance, and conservation programs to disaster assistance.
On This Page
- Questions? Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coordinators
- Factsheet for New Farmers
- Learn About Your USDA Service Center
- What do you want see on your state's farmers.gov dashboard? Check out the Iowa pilot and let us know.
Why Work with USDA
Advice and guidance.
A new farm or ranch business relies on good planning.
We can guide you to resources for your business plan .
We can also provide free technical assistance and help you develop a conservation plan for your land.
You might want to learn about the Score Mentorship Program to learn from a fellow farmer.
Local and regional agricultural organizations like Cooperative Extension offer training to beginning farmers.
Access to Capital
Access to capital enables you to buy or lease land, buy equipment, and help with other operating costs. Learn more about resources for access to land and capital .
See more information on other USDA funding for your operation or learn specifically about Farm Service Agency’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans .
Conservation, Insurance and Disaster Assistance
Conservation programs can help you take care of natural resources while improving the efficiencies on your operation.
Agriculture is an inherently risky business. It’s important to plan for everyday business risks and those brought on by natural disasters. Federal crop insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program are good options for managing risk.
We also offer disaster assistance to help your farm recover.
How to Work with USDA to Start a Farm
Your first step should be to contact your USDA Service Center and make an appointment. Be sure to ask what documents you’ll need. Also consider -- what is your vision for your land and farm? What are your challenges?
If you need information in a language other than English, we can offer free translation services .
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coordinators are USDA team members that can help you understand the USDA process and find the right assistance for your operation. We have coordinators across the country.
Learn how to sign up for a farmers.gov account. You can view loan information and manage conservation business online here.
We also have a number of tools to help you: find the right loan ; learn about recovery options after natural disasters; or discover conservation options .
Specialty Farmer Groups
Historically underserved farmers and ranchers.
We offer help for the unique concerns of producers who meet the USDA definition of “historically underserved” -- beginning, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and military veterans . In addition, women in agriculture are helping to pave the way for a better future. Use this self-determination tool to determine if you’re a limited resource producer.
If you inherited land without a clear title or documented legal ownership, learn more about how USDA can help Heirs’ Property Landowners establish a farm number to gain access to a variety of programs and services.
If you are a producer with disabilities, organizations like Agrability offer services that can help adapt and modify farm equipment to be more accessible.
USDA has been helping more and more farms and gardens in urban centers. Learn about our Urban Farming funding and resources .
The NRCS Urban Agriculture webpage can help with things like high tunnels , composting, and pest management.
If you are an organic farmer, you can apply for the same loans and programs as conventional farmers. You may also apply for USDA to pay a portion of your certification through the FSA Organic Certification Cost Share Program .
For specific conservation assistance that may interest you, check out NRCS Assistance for Organics .
The USDA National Organic Program has resources from a comprehensive list of organic farms to certification information.
Learn more about USDA programs, services, and resources available for organic farmers .
USDA Support for Beginning Farmers
Dominique Herman, a Beginning Farmer from New York, utilizes assistance from FSA to help her keep her mentor's dream alive through a flock of Merino Sheep following tragedy.
In addition to our farm programs, there are many leadership opportunities for beginning farmers to contribute their voices and experience. Through USDA, you can take advantage of several key opportunities like committee elections, research and promotion programs, and federal advisory committees.
Learn more about how to connect with your agricultural community
- February 10, 2023: Fridays on the Farm: From Veteran to Beginning Farmer
- November 9, 2022: USDA Releases Nationwide Farmer, Rancher and Forest Manager Prospective Customer Survey
- October 2022 Webinar: Organic Agriculture and the National Organic Program
- October 4, 2022: RMA Offers Virtual Workshops on Improvements to the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection and Micro Farm Insurance Options
- Brochure: Small Business Administration USDA Loan
- Farmers.gov Blog: Beginning Farmers
- Have a Question? AskUSDA
- Get Started! A Guide to USDA Resources for Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers
- September 2022: CRP and TIP: Outreach, Technical Assistance, and Research Agreements - Webinar Video and Slide Presentation
- July 21, 2022: Outreach Video - Business of Farming and Ranching
- February 8, 2022: Tax Webinar Video - Disaster and Casualty Losses: Related Income Tax Rules
- February 7, 2022: Tax Webinar Video - Weather Related Sales of Livestock: Income Tax Management Issues
- May 6, 2021: Listening Session on Impacts of Covid-19 on New Farmers
- May 4, 2021 News Release: USDA Announces Listening Session on Impacts of COVID-19 on New Farmers
- November 9, 2020: Blog: USDA Service Centers Provide Free, One-on-One Help for Farmers
- October 28, 2020: USDA’s Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
- October 1, 2020: Rural Energy for America (REAP) Guaranteed Loans & Grants
- August 11, 2020 News Release: USDA Announces More Eligible Commodities for CFAP
- July 9, 2020 News Release: Additional Commodities Now Eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
- April 24, 2020 Blog: Ask the Expert: Beginning Farmer and Rancher Q&A with Sarah Campbell
Find Your Local Service Center
USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to ﬁnd your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov. Visit the Risk Management Agency website to ﬁnd a regional or compliance office or to ﬁnd an insurance agent near you.
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- Economics, Business, and Trade
Small Farm Funding Guide
This guide contains information about issues to consider before starting a farming operation.
Find links to full-text guides on how to start a small farm business and develop business and marketing plans. Identify information about funding programs for beginning and experienced farmers, technical assistance contacts, disaster assistance, and organizations with available resources.
Farm Business Planning
- Agribusiness Planning: Providing Direction for Agricultural Firms [extension.psu.edu] Jeffrey Hyde, Sarah Roch. University Park: Penn State University Cooperative Extension. Updated 2017
- Business Development AgMRC
- Business Guide U.S. Small Business Administration
- Guide to Farming: Business Plans Cornell University. Small Farms Program
- Organic Transition: A Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers and Food Entrepreneurs Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)
- Urban Farm Business Plan Handbook U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Your Farm’s Business Plan USDA . Farmers.gov
- Farm Sector Income and Finances (publications) . Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Exploring the Small Farm Dream. Belchertown, MA: New England Small Farm Institute.
- Family Farming in the United States. James MacDonald. Amber Waves. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, March 4, 2014.
- National Farmers Markets Directory Search. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service. Updated 2022.
- Financing Small-Scale and Part-Time Farms. Gregory D. Hanson, Jayson K. Harper, George L. Greaser. University Park: Penn State University Cooperative Extension, 2004.
- Small Farm Handbook. 2nd Edition. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. 2011.
- Starting or Diversifying an Agricultural Business. Lynne F. Kime, Sarah A. Cornelisse, Jayson K. Harper. University Park: Penn State Small-scale and Part-time Farming Project. Updated 2018. [2005 online; download 2018 edition.]
- Business Structure for Small Farms: A Quick Guide. [wsu.edu] Issued by Washington State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015. [PDF 1.75 MB]
- Tools and Resources for New Farmers. [smallfarm.org] Belchertown, MA: Growing New Farmers Consortium.
Contacts for Technical Assistance: Both SBA and USDA provide small business planning technical assistance and USDA also provides technical farming specifics through the extensive network of USDA, Cooperative Extension Service (CES) specialists.
- Cooperative Research and Extension Services
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
- Disaster Resource Center
- Risk Management Agency
- Animal Welfare: Disaster Planning NAL. Animal Welfare Information Center
- Disaster Assistance Food and Nutrition Service
- Protection and Recovery
- Disaster Assistance Discover Tool
Disaster Assistance for Agricultural Producers ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
Farm Aid 1-800-FARM AID
- Small and Family Farms USDA. National Institute of Food and Agriculture
- Contact the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center [nal.usda.gov] for assistance with your research.
Funding and Program Assistance
You may want to start your financial assistance search with your state Department of Agriculture to see if your state has a Beginning Farmer Loan Program or other type of grants or loans for farming and ranching.
- National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) is comprised of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Types of state agricultural finance programs may be identified through your Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs. Check with your state agriculture department for programs, like Aggie Bonds.
Information on Farm Financial Management & Performance can be located on the USDA's Economic Research Service web site.
- Farm Economy [usda.gov]
- Rural Economy & Population [usda.gov]
The nation's farm banks (defined by the Federal Reserve Board as banks that have above average proportions of farm real estate and production loans in their loan portfolios) offer a variety of loans to small and large farms and agribusiness firms; they also handle many of the loans made under USDA's guaranteed farm loan programs.
- American Bankers Association: Agriculture Banking (ABA). [aba.com] ABA has a "special section dedicated to providing advocacy, information, training, education, and public relations for banks that make and service agricultural loans or provide credit and other financial services to those living and working in rural America for nearly 100 years."
Farm Credit : Farm Credit is a nationwide network of 70 customer-owned financial institutions across all 50 states and Puerto Rico and provides loans and related financial services to U.S. farmers and ranchers, farmer-owned cooperatives and other agribusinesses, rural homebuyers and rural infrastructure providers.
- Farm Credit System Lenders in your state
- USDA Veterans [usda.gov] USDA opportunities in and programs for education, employment and entrepreneurship.
- Veteran Affairs, Farm Loans: Home Loans for Rural Residents [va.gov] . 2018 [PDF 415 KB]
- Farmer Veteran Coalition
- Veteran Farmers Project from the Center for Rural Affairs
- Veterans to Farmers
- Farm Loan Program Information
- Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans
- Minority and Women Farmers and Ranchers
- Microloan Programs
- Locate Farm/Ranch Properties for Sale by the USDA RD and FSA
- Locate Farm Service Agency Offices by State
- Financial Assistance Programs
- Locate Natural Resources Conservation Service Offices by State
- Renewable Energy for America Program, Renewable Enery Systems, and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants Program
- Value-Added Producer Grants
- Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant
- Locate Rural Development Offices by State
- Search for a Funding Opportunity in Agriculture
- Small and Family Farms
- Contact the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center for assist with your research.
- Farmers Market Promotion Program
- Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
- Agriculture Center
- National Agriculture Compliance Center 1-888-663-2155
Information and Contacts
- ABA Agricultural Banking Washington, DC: American Bankers Association.
- Alternative Farming Systems Information Center USDA . National Agricultural Library.
- ATTRA, National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service , 1-800-346-9140 Fayetteville, AR.
- Begin Farming Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association , Columbus, OH: Public-Private Collaborative.
- Beginning Farmers East Lansing: Michigan State University.
- Center for Farm Financial Management 1-800-234-1111 St. Paul: University of Minnesota.
- Farm Answers 1-800-234-1111 St. Paul, Minnesota: The Center for Farm Financial Management (CFFM) at the University of Minnesota.
- Farm Credit Greenwood Village, CO.
- Growing Small Farms North Carolina Cooperative Extension.
- Hawai'i Guide for New Farmers Manoa: University of Hawaii.
- National Ag Risk and Farm Management Library St. Paul: University of Minnesota.
- National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Washington, DC.
- New England Small Farm Institute Belchertown, MA.
- Beginning Farmers and Rancher U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Cornell Small Farms Program Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, Small Farm Program, Cooperative Extension Service.
- Small Farms Program Corvallis: Oregon State University Extension Service.
- Small Farm Research and Extension Davis: University of California.
- Women's Agricultural Network Burlington: University of Vermont.
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Business Planning Resources
Templates, tools and publications.
AgPlan AgPlan is a free online business plan development tool that gives tips on components of the business plan and allows the user to share their plan with others.
Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses – This SARE publication brings the business planning process alive to help today’s alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises.
Developing a Business Plan: Penn State (pdf) This publication will help you create your own business plan. It includes a discussion of the makeup of the plan and the information needed to develop a business plan. Pennsylvania State University, 2004
Market Vegetable Gardens: Planning for Success (pdf) This publication presents an overview of what is involved with producing vegetables for profit, including field considerations such as soil fertility and greenhouse requirements, and financial aspects such as crop revenue, labor, and marketing. Examples illustrate how implementation might work for your situation. Washington State University, 2012
Veggie Compass Veggie Compass is an ongoing project at the University of Wisconsin Madison that involves the development of whole farm profit management tools and workshops directed to diversified organic fresh market vegetable growers.
Organizations and Agencies – Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas
North Olympic Development Council – Offers agricultural business advising. The North Olympic Peninsula Resource Conservation & Development Council (NODC) empowers the North Olympic Peninsula to invest in and pursue its own economic and environmental destiny. As the federally-designated Economic Development District for Jefferson and Clallam counties, NODC is a collaborative, innovative effort among member governments, community organizations, tribes and businesses to advance economic, environmental and quality of life initiatives in the region.
Small Business Development Center – Located in Port Angeles that serves the North Olympic Peninsula. Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a network of more than 30 expert business advisors working in communities across the state to help entrepreneurs or small business owners start, grow or buy/sell a business.
Chamber of Commerce – The Chamber of Commerce is an active force in all segments of the business community, and promotes economic viability. Find your nearest Chamber: Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce , Sequim Chamber of Commerce , Forks Chamber of Commerce , Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce , Bremerton Chamber of Commerce , Silverdale Chamber of Commerce , Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce , Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce , Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce .
Economic Development Councils – Provides one-on-one, confidential consulting and technical assistance to existing businesses. Find your nearest EDC: Team Jefferson , North Olympic Development Council , Clallam Economic Development Corporation , Kitsap Economic Development Alliance .
Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship – CIE offers accessible and inclusive first step business training and support in underserved communities throughout Washington State to help people launch and build businesses and become leaders in building resilient, sustainable, and equitably shared community wealth.
Organizations and Agencies – Greater NW Region and Washington State
Business Impact NW – Business Impact NW works together with you, providing the coaching, classes and capital you need to successfully launch and grow your business.
Northwest Ag Business Center – NABC helps farmers establish new enterprises, and helps make existing businesses more profitable, by providing business feasibility, planning and implementation guidance, connections to markets and capital, and access to resources.
WSU Farm Business Planning Courses
Cultivating Success™ Information:
Cultivating Success™ WA programs currently consist of three courses, Is a Small Farm in Your Future? , Whole Farm Planning and Agricultural Entrepreneurship . The goal of these educational opportunities is to provide beginning and existing farmers with the planning and decision-making tools, production skills, and support necessary to develop a sustainable farm or food business. Cultivating Success™ connects the student with farmers and exposes them to real world situations through a community-based, experiential approach. Whether you are a community member wanting to learn how to plan your farm business, or an experienced farmer/rancher wanting to try something new – Cultivating Success™ creating and implement educational programs to increase the number and foster the success of sustainable small farmers and ranchers.
The foundational elements of Cultivating Success™
- Farmer Mentorship
- Experiential Learning
- Community Place-Based
- Whole Systems Thinking
- Small Farms Focused
Information found on this page is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of professional advice from lawyers and Certified Public Accountants.
MSU Extension Farm Management
Funding your farm: selling your story in a business plan.
Jonathan LaPorte , Michigan State University Extension - December 15, 2022
A new beginning farmer webinar series focuses on creating a business plan.
Creating a business plan is an important part of managing a farm business. A business plan helps to evaluate alternatives, identify market opportunities and communicate ideas to potential lenders and business partners.
Starting on February 2, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. and continuing each Thursday through February 23, the Funding your farm: Selling your story in a business plan webinar series will explore key uses of a business plan. Participants will learn how to create this valuable document for their farm and explore what lenders look for in a business plan when seeking loan financing.
Week 1: february 2, 2023 - basics of business planning and “what are lenders looking for” panel.
The series kicks off with a basic overview of business planning before leading in a panel discussion. Panelists will feature lenders and producers who will share their perspectives on how business plans benefit from obtaining farm financing.
Week 2: February 9, 2023 – Business planning basics: Marketing
Having a good business strategy is the first step in your planning process. What products will be sold? Who are the competitors in the market? What unique features can distinguish our farm and its products from the rest of the market? In this session, participants will learn how to assess market opportunities and develop a successful marketing strategy.
Week 3: February 16, 2023 – Business planning basics: Human resources and operations
A successful farm business understands how to manage their resources effectively. What will be produced by the farm? What physical resources will be needed for production? What labor will the farm need now and in the future? These questions and more will be explored as participants review their operation and human resources strategies.
Week 4: February 23, 2023 – Business planning basics: Financial
In this final session of the series, participants will focus on how to outline their farm’s financial situation. What financial needs exist? How well has the farm performed in generating profits? What types of risks exist and how will they be managed? What is the current financial environment and how is the farm navigating through?
The program is free to anyone who registers. To register for the Funding your farm: Selling your story in a business plan webinar, visit: https://events.anr.msu.edu/fundingfarm23/
The webinar series is offered through a joint partnership with Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems , Beginning Farmers DEMaND Series , and GreenStone Farm Credit Services .
Personalized business planning
In addition to the webinar sessions, Michigan State University Extension will be hosting business planning office hours. These online sessions will provide an opportunity to work with business planning experts from lending institutions and MSU Extension. Sessions are intended to help answer questions, review business plan drafts or practice your business plan pitch. More information on office hours and how to sign up will be provided during the live webinar sessions.
For more information, contact Jamie Rahrig, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and Product Center at [email protected] or Jon LaPorte, MSU Extension and DEMaND Series at [email protected] .
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension . For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu . To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters . To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts , or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
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Economic viability business plan reimbursement program.
PURPOSE: Support the development of professional economic viability business plans for NYC West of Hudson Watershed farm or forestry businesses in order to better position these businesses for improved economic profitability and sustainability.
ELIGIBILITY: Any NYC West of Hudson Watershed ‘farm operation’ as defined by Agriculture & Markets (AGM) CHAPTER 69, ARTICLE 25-AA, SECTION 301, Subdivision 11 meaning the land and on-farm buildings, equipment, manure processing and handling facilities, and practices which contribute to the production, preparation and marketing of crops, livestock and livestock products as a commercial enterprise, including a “commercial horse boarding operation” as defined in subdivision thirteen of this section, a “timber operation” as defined in subdivision fourteen of this section, “compost, mulch or other biomass crops” as defined in subdivision seventeen of this section and “commercial equine operation” as defined in subdivision eighteen of this section. Such farm operation may consist of one or more parcels of owned or rented land, which parcels may be contiguous or noncontiguous to each other. Preference will be given to WAC participants.
NYC West of Hudson Watershed Boundary Line Map : nycwatershed.org/nyc-woh-watershed-boundary-map
Open Enrollment : The Watershed Agricultural Council will be accepting applications on a rolling basis. Applicants approved for grant funding must provide proof of completion of proposed project/transaction/services and all invoices to WAC in order to be eligible for grant funding reimbursement.
Total amount you can apply for : $2,000 per applicant per fiscal year.
If you need assistance with please contact (607) 865-7090 or [email protected] .
1. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants will be notified of the approved/denied status no later than 30 days after the end of the month they applied in. 2. Grant applications will be awarded based on availability of program funding and merit of the proposal based upon evaluation criteria included in this application. If the applicant does not meet eligibility per Agriculture & Markets (AGM) CHAPTER 69, ARTICLE 25-AA, SECTION 301, Subdivision 11. ‘farm operation’ they will not be considered. 3. Eligible applicants must submit a complete grant application including a description of need for project funding. Applicants may apply for one business plan in the fiscal year. 4. These are reimbursable funds. Closeout packages must provide necessary documentation per each category before reimbursement is issued. 5. Payment will not be issued to participants who are not in good standing with WAC. 6. In order to receive the reimbursement, applicants must submit an invoice to WAC including proper documentation and receipts. 7. $2,000 cap per applicant per year. 8. Approved applications are subject to cancellation after one year. Staff may grant extensions upon request with approval by WAC’s Economic Viability Committee. 9. Grant recipients agree that a copy of any and all materials and documents, written or otherwise, including invoices, the completed business plan and its contents (sensitive, private or confidential information may be redacted) will be forwarded to WAC. The business owner, consultant and the Economic Viability Program Director agrees to sign the completed business plan form as part of the reimbursement closeout package. 10. The Watershed Agricultural Council’s grantees/participants are at the core of our mission and work. We are most effective when we are working together with participants to achieve the shared impact we all desire. WAC is therefore committed to safeguarding your personal information. All data, materials, knowledge and information generated through this application is to be considered privileged and confidential and is not to be disclosed to any third party with the exception of WAC staff and designated individuals processing applications as well as agents and auditors from funding sources reviewing collected information generated consistent with the terms of the sponsoring agreement. The business owner has the right to redact any sensitive, private or confidential information.
1. The business plans should include but are not limited to the following elements: -executive summary -mission/vision statements -business description -SWOT analysis -market analysis -marketing plan -operations plan -management summary -financial plan & analysis 2. Business plans must be developed by a qualified consultant from the approved Vendor list identified in Section V. 3. The business and consultant will be responsible for scheduling meetings and completing a business plan consistent with the requirements outlined in Section II A. within one year from the approval date. WAC and the business owner will review the final plan for compliance and acceptance. 4. Applicants must submit an estimate of cost for the project with the application. All estimates of cost must be provided by a qualified organization or professional. 5. Office space is available if needed to meet with selected businesses upon due notice. 6. Prior to issuing payment, WAC’s Economic Viability Program Director or designee will review the closeout package signed by the business owner that completed it. Applicants must submit a completed business plan with the signed completion form by the consultant and business owner provided by WAC for review. After this review WAC will submit payment via a two party check (payment to vendor) or a check directly to applicant.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Agricultural Educators (any CCE) Center for Agricultural Development & Entrepreneurship (CADE) Making Hay Sales & Marketing FarmNet FarmCredit East Cornell Small Farms Program Any university or college GrowNYC United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) New York State Ag & Markets Local Economic Development Agencies New York Small Business Development Centers Other: if you would like to use a business not listed please provide -three references -supporting documents including a sample of other plans written -contact information
Cornell Small Farms Programs – Sample business plans: smallfarms.cornell.edu/plan-your-farm/planning-funding-your-farm-business/sample-business-plans/
Cornell Small Farms Programs – Business plan templates: smallfarms.cornell.edu/plan-your-farm/planning-funding-your-farm-business/business-plan-templates/
USDA New Farmers – Make a Farm Business Plan: newfarmers.usda.gov/make-farm-business-plan
The Spruce – Details of a Small Farm Business Plan: thespruce.com/write-a-small-farm-business-plan-3016944
USDA New Farmers – Technical Assistance for Planning Your Business: newfarmers.usda.gov/technical-assistance-planning-your-business
If you need assistance with completing this form please contact the Economic Viability Program at (607) 865-7090 ext. 293 or by email .
Maine Farmer Resource Network
Planning and managing your farm business.
In any profession, the old saying “a stitch in time, saves nine” is a true friend! The most successful farmers we know have gotten themselves in the habit of ‘stitching,’ i.e. anticipating and practicing how they will solve a problem, before it ever happens. Planning and managing means taking the time to hone your agrarian skills at workshops and conferences, and making yourself develop a business plan that identifies WHY you farm, WHAT you will raise or produce and WHO will buy your products. It means finding and hiring trusted professionals to help you create and maintain production, legal and financial records. It means asking and answering your own key questions BEFORE you are suddenly overwhelmed and in awe, say, in the barn at 3:00 a.m. during lambing season.
- Farm Management – a farm is a business, and requires management tools
- New England Farm Account Book (Excel Version 2/18) – spreadsheet to help organize and track farm finances
- VT New Farmer Project – from the University of Vermont Cooperative Extension
- Maine Farmland Trust: Farmland Access
- ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture Program – ATTRA services are available to farmers, ranchers, market gardeners, Extension agents, researchers, educators, farm organizations, and others involved in agriculture, especially those who are economically disadvantaged or belong to traditionally underserved communities.
- The Organic Farmers Business Handbook – “A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff-and Making a Profit, By Richard Wiswall”
- Crop Planning for Vegetable Growers – Canadian Organic Growers
Who to Contact for Direct Assistance
- Coastal Enterprises, Inc. – CEI’s business counselors deliver business counseling and technical assistance to develop products, business and marketing plans for agricultural and food-related enterprises. CEI, also, finances loans to qualified borrowers to implement those plans.
- Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry provides technical assistance with agricultural business and market development
- Maine Small Business Development Centers provide business counseling and offer free online workshops
- University of Maine Cooperative Extension is the only entity in our state that touches every aspect of the Maine Food System
- SCORE Maine is a nonprofit organization providing educational workshops and helping small businesses get started, grow and operate effectively.
- Maine Farmland Trust – Farming for wholesale.
- MOFGA Farm Beginnings is a farmer-led program to help guide those with a strong commitment to creating a sustainable farm business achieve their goals. Designed for farmers with at least one year of production experience, this series of intensive workshops will help you to develop a whole farm plan through realistic goal setting, reflection, and assessment of your resources, skills, and markets – and gives you the business planning tools necessary to successfully implement your plan. The course was originally developed to support participants in the MOFGA Journeyperson Program but enrollment is open to any farm looking to apply whole farm planning and financial management tools to their operation.
- Starting & Running Your Own Small Farm Business by Sarah Beth Aubrey (2007), Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA , ISBN 978-1-58017-697-2
- Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Regional Markets – This publication helps farmers decide if they are ready to expand their operations to serve wholesale markets or produce more for direct markets. It describes how organization and planning can help a producer meet the challenges involved in scaling up. This publication addresses important considerations such as land, labor, food safety, marketing, and insurance.
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Applying for a Council farm
- Thread starter cowgirlclaire
- Start date Jul 30, 2021
- Jul 30, 2021
cowgirlclaire said: and have had positive feedback etc but always seem to get pipped to the post . Click to expand...
Here is the funny bit......i was told the reason was .... 2 dates in my busisness plan didnt match and there were a couple of spelling mistakes ...
cowgirlclaire said: Here is the funny bit......i was told the reason was .... 2 dates in my busisness plan didnt match and there were a couple of spelling mistakes ... Click to expand...
And I realise why you probably won’t want to say but all councils are different so it’s difficult to be specific
Flat 10 said: That sounds like they were making up excuses Click to expand...
cowgirlclaire said: ......i was told the reason was .... 2 dates in my busisness plan didnt match and there were a couple of spelling mistakes ... Click to expand...
Formatted said: Not really your business plan is your chance to show how you'd run your business. Not having accurate information, when compared to someone who does provide them with an indication of who to choose. Details matter I assume this is Devon county council? As heard they've got 7 farms up for rent this Autumn? Click to expand...
borderterribles said: Back in the day, when I got my first tenancy, I had a friendly local auctioneer and valuer look over my application when it was almost ready for submitting, which was a help. Click to expand...
No good looking around here as the VOG Council sold all off for a song!
cowgirlclaire said: Business plan was spot on to the point that the bank had already made cheque books etc in the farm business name to me as the buisness manager had said it was a no brainer ... Click to expand...
Personally I feel you need to have something tangible to move in with and hit the ground running. Whether you rent a bit of grass keep and run a small flock of sheep, or privately rent a few buildings to start building up a suckler herd. They want someone to move in and crack on. The landlord doesn't want to see massive projected borrowings from the bank. They also want to see diversified projects to add value to your farming business. Just because you live close by unfortunately doesn't mean your at the front of the queue.
cowgirlclaire said: Hi all , I'm looking for some advice please I have my eye on a small holding near me ( Council farm) and it is soon going to be advertised for new tenancy, Now i lived and worked on our family council farm for 16+years and i am now wanting my own , i have previously applied etc for other farms through the same council and have had positive feedback etc but always seem to get pipped to the post . I am looking for some fresh advice from more recent successfull applicants as to what seems to be the most favourable addition to add to the business plan that the agents like to see currently Click to expand...
Can’t speak from experience of this, but would those of you who have, do you think that spending a few quid to get an agent to present your application would help or not?
Still Farming said: Get to see the Local Councillors who are on the small holdings committee? Click to expand...
chaffcutter said: Can’t speak from experience of this, but would those of you who have, do you think that spending a few quid to get an agent to present your application would help or not? Click to expand...
Bongodog said: generally these days Cllrs aren't allowed anywhere near tenancy decisions due to the possibility that they might be unduely influenced one way or another. Cllrs are meant to set the parameters by which the professional officers make the decisions Click to expand...
Still Farming said: You got to find out somehow whats going I guess? Click to expand...
Little squeak said: He wasn't best mates with the agent handling the tenancies was he? Not meant as a critism just thought it may be worth engaging someone who knew agent to look at the proposal. Click to expand...
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Business plan was spot on to the point that the bank had already made cheque books etc in the farm business name to me as the buisness