YA BMN BLOG HEADER PiggiesFarm Business Tools

Young Agrarians works to empower new farmers to learn business skills that will allow their farms to thrive. We offer a B.C. Farm Business Mentorship Network as well as Business Management Tools to streamline your farm management practices. You can also stay up to date on our Business Blog!

Business Mentorship Network

New Farmers Apply for Farm Business Support through Young Agrarians Mentorship Network


Young Agrarians offers a limited number of business mentorships annually to new farmers to support skills development to run ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Through one-on-one mentorship and peer networks, we aim to nurture educational spaces that allow new farmers to work out how to overcome obstacles and achieve business goals.


DEADLINE: November 12th, 2017

Program Description:

Whether you are in need of business basics or strategic planning for long-term growth, Young Agrarians knows that gaining business development skills is one of the big challenges facing new farmers. Our aim is to provide new farmers with an opportunity to build their business knowledge and use it to grow their farm operations to achieve long-term viability.

Mentees will receive approx. 40 hours of mentorship and will be paired with mentors over three to four months throughout the winter and early spring. Mentors will help you to analyze your operations and chart a course to move forward towards financial sustainability. Mentorships will be by phone, email, and where possible site visits and in-person meetings.

Additionally, this winter season we’re planning to spend some time together as a full cohort to work directly on your farm business projects! We’re hoping all accepted applicants are available for an in-person work along in Kelowna, BC between January 22-26, 2018. Exact days TBD and there will likely be a small cost for attending – please contact us if this would prevent you from applying or participating (we’ll work something out).

Program Goals:

To support you to grow a sustainable farm business! Through one-on-one mentorship and peer networks, we aim to nurture educational spaces that allow new farmers to work out how to overcome obstacles and achieve business goals. Ultimately we want to see you produce an increase in: crop yields, revenues, and where possible, area of land in production.

Program Requirements of Mentee:

  • Commit to participating in 30-35 of mentorship hours over the course of 3-4 months.
  • Participate in orientation sessions, webinars, and closing session.
  • Complete an evaluation at the end of the program.
  • Must submit prior year financials, land in production, and volume of food produced.
  • After mentorship and season is complete, must submit end of production season financials, land in production, and volume of food produced.
  • Must complete two blog posts, one in the Spring either during or after Mentorship hours are wrapped up, and one in the fall of 2018.
  • Resource Map – add your farm and 1-3 of your favourite resources to the Young Agrarians U-Map: http://maps.youngagrarians.org/
  • Fill out the BC Ecological Farmers Survey – to be completed upon acceptance into the program, while drinking a pot of tea: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KSC65HJ
  • Mentees must also support the creation of a work schedule with their mentor.
  • $100 program fee to be paid on acceptance into mentorship network.
  • Applicants must email their resume as it pertains to agriculture upon submission of the application form.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • All applicants must be residents of British Columbia.
  • Priority will be given (but not limited to) to new entrants into agriculture ages 18-35, having been in operation for less than 3-5 years.

Applications will be peer-reviewed. Please note that every effort will be made to provide all applicants with a match, however Young Agrarians cannot guarantee that you will be placed in the program as this is determined by the number of mentors available with the appropriate skills and know-how relevant to your farm operation.


2015-2016-2017-2018 Funding for the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network is provided in part by Vancity, Salt Spring Coffee, Rotary Hastings Sunrise, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.

Farm Business Tools

Check out a few of our favourite farm business planning resources below. Have a business tool you love? Have you come across a resource that has helped you streamline your farm finances or operations? Share it with us: kristen@youngagrarians.org.

Want to see what business resources are available in your region? See what’s on the UMAP!


Farm Business Tools for New Farmers in Agroecology

Business Planning Tools

One Page Business Planning – Create a thirty minute business plan! This is a simple visioning and goal setting worksheet to help you set farm business objectives, plan measurable goals and the actions to get you there!

Business Model Canvas – Think of it as a tool to map out  and visualize your farm business. Get a clear vision of your customers, your offerings, and the infrastructure necessary to bring your products to market. Here’s a great walk through of the exercise: THE 20 MINUTE BUSINESS PLAN: BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS MADE EASY

Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management Planning Book – Farm Business Planning ‘Lite’ This workbook will take you through the basics of business planning but it pays to delve deeper once you’ve outlined your plan here. Print this workbook out!

Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for a Farm or Rural Business –  This workbook provides a more comprehensive examination of your business idea, marketing strategies, operations, human resources, and financial needs of your farm venture. A bank is going to want to see a business plan along these lines along with more detailed financial information.

Smart Farm BC – This website is a Ministry of Agriculture business resource website covering AgriBIZ from A-Z!

Farm Business Planning Guides – These BC Ministry of Agriculture guides may be a little dated but are great business plan examples of production specific enterprises: Chicken Broiler Producer, Dairy Producer, Grains and Seeds, Bee Keeper, Cow/Calf Ranch, Greenhouse Vegetable, Greenhouse Floriculture, Wholesale Nursery, & Direct Farm Marketing.

Sample Farm Business Plans:

The Carrot Project – Wild Food Farm Sample Business Plan and Financials

Persephone Brewing – Hops Farming Business Plan Template (very well designed!)

Futurepreneur – Agricultural Enterprise Template (another hops plan but can easily be tailored to your enterprise)

Web Tools

For the full run down of these CSA Management tools and more read Chris Bodner’s review of each here: Tools for Small Farms

Harvest Hand CSA Platform
Web based CSA membership management, built in website, integrated newsletter & social media, and e-commerce platform. Annual cost is $10 per CSA member. Built in Nova Scotia ($)

Farmigo CSA Management Software
Streamlines the management of selling, packing, and distribution of your CSA ($)

Small Farm Central CSA Management Software
Developed by Small Farm Central, provides web based CSA member management software ($)

Small Farm Central
Web design and development for small scale farmers, puts you easily in control of your own website ($)

Local Orbit
A supply chain platform for managing wholesale customers’ orders, deliveries, and payments through a web based software ($)

Mail Chimp E-Newsletters
An email marketing service provider that allows you to easily manage your newsletter subscriptions with a full suite of analytics for tracking sign-ups, opens, and traffic to your website.

Soil Mate
Soilmate.com is a website that connects consumers with their local food and drink growers, raisers, producers, and supporters.It allows consumers to find specific growers and products, as well as stores and restaurants that support those local growers and carry/use their products. For farmers this is a great way to have a web presence and e-commerce abilities without the process of building a website! (Free for Farmers!)

Production and Operations Tools

ATTRA Master Publications List – A wealth of knowledge! Peruse ATTRA’s database of more than 300 easy-to-read 1-2 page publications covering organic production, livestock, horticultural crops, business and marketing, farm energy, water and pest management and more. Publications are written by sustainable agriculture specialists, who are experts in their fields.

Seeding Manual (Roxbury Farm, NY) – This manual describes, crop- by- crop, how each is seeded, transplanted, protected, and cultivated. Don’t be overwhelmed by it’s completeness! Strive to start with your three favourite crops and build on it each season. Think of how helpful this tool would be to new employees or apprentices!

Harvest Manual (Roxbury Farm, NY) – This manual outlines, crop-by-crop, harvest procedures, ready-to-harvest indicators, packing and washing procedures, and storage conditions. By streamlining your harvesting and packing procedures your operations become more efficient and you build value into your product through high quality standards.

Finance Tools

Enterprise Budgets – These enterprise budgets have been designed by KPU’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and cover Vegetable, Animal, and Specialty Crop Budgets. An enterprise budget is a helpful tool because it projects the costs and returns of growing and selling a particular crop or livestock over a period of time.

Farm Finance Glossary – Julia Shanks has an awesome glossary of helpful business and finance terms for farmers and food producers.

Basic Accounting for Farmers Watch Part 1 & Part 2

Getting Started with Quickbooks for Farmers (part 1)- The Carrot Project & Julia Shanks team up again to review the basic accounting concepts that underlie QuickBooks and go through the basic set-up of the online software. Download the slides.

Quickbooks for Farmers: Expenses & Sales (part 2) – This session takes the user through entering sales and expenses as well as how to use classes and customers to review profitability of sales channels. Download the slides.

Organic Price Tracker – Canadian Organic Growers publishes the regional prices of certified organic products sold at farmers’ markets and wholesale markets across Canada. Perfect resource for crop planning, enterprise budgeting and cash flow exercises!

Farm Cash Flow Statement (Explanation) –  Skip to Lecture 3 for explanation of cash flow template.

Farm Cash Flow Statement (Template) –  Skip to Unit 2 to download cash flow template.

Marketing Tools

BC Association of Farmers’ Markets Toolkit – Get the low down on best business practices for Farmers’ Market farmers with these resources from the BCAFM, including case studies and best management practices.

Understanding Consumer Behaviour at Farmers Markets: An Innovative Approach to Increasing Sales – Get a primer in retail science and consumer behaviour to see how you can encourage customers to buy more of your product at farmers markets.

47 Royalty Free Vegetable Images for Download – From A to Zucchini! Your website, newsletters and facebook page could use a little pizazz.

Write a Better End of Season Customer Survey – If you haven’t ever checked in with your customers at the end of a season you’re missing out on valuable feedback that you should incorporate into the next season’s planning. Take a few ideas from this article and adapt them to your marketing channels whether its a CSA or restaurant and retail customers!

PRIZM 5 Market Analysis Tool – Demographic and psychographic snapshot of Canadian postal codes. Get an idea of what kind of consumers live in your target market.

Human Resource Tools

Guide to Developing a BC Agricultural Employee Handbook – Smart Farm BC has put together a easy to follow guide for developing an employee handbook. Whether you’ve got a few WWOOFers or dozens of employees it is important to establish guidelines and set parameters for working on your farm to protect both your employees, yourself, and your business.


Virtual GrangeStone Barns Centre for Sustainable Agriculture has a wealth of farming focused educational videos from farm business management to soil biology and small engine maintenance.

PracticalFarmers.org – Ongoing winter series every Tuesday evening! Sort archives by topic or farm priorities.

Agriwebinar.com – Farm Management Canada’s amazing database of ag sector information!



FEB & MAR: 6-Day Holistic Land Design Course – Castor, AB

Posted by Dana Penrice on January 18, 2018


Course Details: Facilitator: Takota Coen, Grass Roots Family Farm Where: Castor, Alberta When: February 20, 21 and 22  March 2, 3 and 4 Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Course Description: The best person to design and manage your land is you. Every landowner or land steward holds a vast collection of personal and inherited experience and wisdom unique to them and their landbase. This 6 day workshop acknowledges that fact and provides you with the tools and resources that will help you successfully design, establish, and manage resilient human habitats that are ecologically sound and economically profitable. It is … Continue reading FEB & MAR: 6-Day Holistic Land Design Course – Castor, AB

January 27-28: Kelowna, BC – Young Agrarians 5th Okanagan Winter Mixer

Posted by Emily Jubenvill on January 05, 2018


Looking for the Young Agrarians Vancouver Island Winter Mixer? Click here! Celebrating five years of Winter Mixers in the Okanagan, we’re back at the location of the first ever mixer – the beautiful Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna, BC! Summerhill Pyramid Winery gives us more space for sessions and gathering with a beautiful backdrop of Okanagan Lake and the vineyard. Based on your feedback and insights we’ve crafted an awesome program for this year’s Okangan Winter Mixer with a full two days of workshops and sessions you will be sure to sharpen your farm and business skills, and build connections with other new farmers. … Continue reading January 27-28: Kelowna, BC – Young Agrarians 5th Okanagan Winter Mixer

FEB 10-11: SHAWNIGAN LAKE, BC – Vancouver Island 5th Winter Mixer

Posted by Moss Dance on January 04, 2018


We are celebrating five years of Winter Mixers on Vancouver Island this year! Join us for our Vancouver Island 5th Winter Mixer at Camp Pringle in Shawnigan Lake, on beautiful Vancouver Island for two days of farming workshops & networking! Looking for the Young Agrarians Okanagan Winter Mixer? Click here! VANCOUVER ISLAND 5TH WINTER MIXER At-A-Glance WHEN: Saturday February 10 – Sunday February 11, 2018 WHERE:  Coast Salish Territory – Camp Pringle, 2520 W Shawnigan Lake Rd, Shawnigan Lake, BC V0R 2W3 COST:  Sliding scale $75-125.  All funds raised go to covering the cost of the event. Thank you for your support! Work trade options are available, … Continue reading FEB 10-11: SHAWNIGAN LAKE, BC – Vancouver Island 5th Winter Mixer

Dec 13: Online Webinar – Novice Farm Finance Management

Posted by Dana Penrice on December 11, 2017


Novice Farm Finance Management Webinar Michigan State University Extension Date: December 13, 2017 Time: 8-9 p.m. Location: Online Webinar Contact: Frank Wardynski, wardynsk@anr.msu.edu, 906-884-4386 Learn how to: Organize your farm accounting Develop detailed balance sheets Analyze Farm Profitability Understand financial measures such as liquidity, solvency, working capital, debt to asset ratio. Cost to participate is $5 per person. Register here. Photo by Autumn Mott on Unsplash

Lessons Learned: Riverside Farm

Posted by Kristen Nammour on November 28, 2017

Riverside Farm CSA Harvest

We’re checking back in with our B.C. Business Mentorship Network participants to see how their seasons have gone and how mentorship has benefitted them. Name: Riverside Farm, run by Jenn Cline and Caroline Chiu, graduates of the Richmond Farm School Program (Kwantlen Polytechnic University). Location: Richmond, BC What were your goals for this season and how did you work to achieve those? We stepped into our second season of farming with excitement and anticipation. We decided to change our marketing outlet from Vancouver Farmers Markets to running our own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Our goals were to grow some … Continue reading Lessons Learned: Riverside Farm

Lessons Learned: City Beet Farm

Posted by Kristen Nammour on November 26, 2017

City Beet Farm Chard Plot

We’re checking back in with our B.C. Business Mentorship Network participants to see how their seasons have gone and how mentorship has benefitted them. We are Elana and Maddy from City Beet Farm in Vancouver. Our goals for the 2017 season were to pay off the farm that we bought in 2016 and run our first ever successful, 60 member CSA program. We both committed entirely to making those goals a reality. We sacrificed paying ourselves and working full time on the farm in order to breakeven and not incur any debt. Long days, focus, dedication, a little help from … Continue reading Lessons Learned: City Beet Farm

Lessons Learned: SOLscapes Ecological Landscaping

Posted by Kristen Nammour on November 24, 2017

Solscapes Edible Garden Boat

We’re checking back in with our B.C. Business Mentorship Network participants to see how their seasons have gone and how mentorship has benefitted them. Hello fellow farmers and foodies! We are Stephanie Vigneux (Urban Farmer) and Jordie Bulpit (Horticulturalist) from SOLscapes collaborating with Samantha Philips and Lisa Giroday of Victory Gardens. We so deeply appreciate having had the opportunity to be a part of the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship network. This experience has truly nurtured our growth and development as a small business. SOLscapes is an ecologically sustainable landscaping company that services the Sea-to-Sky Corridor; you can find our edible … Continue reading Lessons Learned: SOLscapes Ecological Landscaping

Lessons Learned: Plenty Wild Farm

Posted by Kristen Nammour on November 22, 2017

Plenty Wild Farm Family

We’re checking back in with our B.C. Business Mentorship Network participants to see how their seasons have gone and how mentorship has benefitted them. The 2017 season certainly kept us on our toes!  It presented a wide array of both challenges and gifts and we are incredibly grateful to have had the mentorship of Chris Bodnar, through the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Program. Last spring we were anxiously preparing for a wave of change as we planned to make several key changes to our farm’s marketing and production plans while expecting our first child. We had decided to stop raising … Continue reading Lessons Learned: Plenty Wild Farm

Lessons Learned: Two Roads Farm

Posted by Kristen Nammour on November 20, 2017

Business Mentorship network new farmers at two roads farm grow a luscious and colourful cover crop

We’re checking back in with our B.C. Business Mentorship Network participants to see how their seasons have gone and how mentorship has benefitted them. Name, Farm, Location? Sam Croome and Emily Anderson at Two Roads Farm on Denman Island. What were your goals for this season and how did you work to achieve those? Goal 1: Increase our income (both gross and net, to allow us to pay ourselves more than a parking meter) – We worked with our mentor to identify low hanging fruit to increase efficiency and reduce expenses. We implemented some of these, like buying potting soil in bulk rather than mixing … Continue reading Lessons Learned: Two Roads Farm

Lessons Learned: Dancing Dandelion Farms

Posted by Kristen Nammour on November 18, 2017

Dancing Dandelion Precision Seeder and Dog

We’re checking back in with our B.C. Business Mentorship Network participants to see how their seasons have gone and how mentorship has benefitted them. Name, Farm, Location? Dancing Dandelion Farms, Duncan, BC What were your goals for this season and how did you work to achieve those? This was our very first year farming. Our main goal for the year was to learn to grow vegetables and flowers at a market scale. Our first goal was to set-up our farm infrastructure such as our wash station, harvest area, deer fencing, irrigation and to prepare our soil and beds to grow crops. Once … Continue reading Lessons Learned: Dancing Dandelion Farms