Farm Business Tools
Our goal is for new and young farmers to develop the skills they need to become viable! Young Agrarians works to empower new farmers to learn business skills by aggregating resources (scroll down below, and visit the U-MAP) and tools. In B.C., we offer an annual farmer-2-business mentorship program for new farms in start-up.
B.C. Business Mentorship Network
Young Agrarians offers a limited number of business mentorships annually to a diverse array of new farms to support skills development to run ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Through one-on-one mentorship and peer networks, we create customized mentorships to support the needs of new farms in start-up.
Applications for the 2019/2020 cohort are now closed.
Please check back in the Fall of 2020 for an opportunity to apply.
Whether you need business basics or strategic planning for long-term growth, Young Agrarians knows that gaining business development skills is one of the biggest 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 approximately 30-40 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.
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.
- Commit to participating in 30-40 of mentorship hours over the course of 4-6 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 2020.
- Resource Map – add your farm and 1-3 of their favourite resources to the Young Agrarians U-Map: https://maps.youngagrarians.org/
- Fill out the BC Ecological Farmers Survey – to be completed upon acceptance into the program, while drinking a pot of tea: https://youngagrarians.org/survey/
- Mentees must also support the creation of a work schedule with their mentor.
- $100 program fee to be paid on acceptance into mentorship network.
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. Every effort will be made to provide all applicants with a match. Successful placement is determined by the number of mentors available with the appropriate skills and know-how relevant to your farm operation.
This program is made possible with the generous funding support of Vancity, Province of British Columbia, and Columbia Basin Trust.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to see what business resources are available in your region? See what’s on the UMAP!
BUSINESS PLANNING | WEB TOOLS | PRODUCTION & OPERATIONS | FINANCE | MARKETING | HUMAN RESOURCES | FARMINARS
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!
New Farm Start Up: A Guide to Starting and Growing A Small or Medium Sized Farm Business in British Columbia – This guide from the BC Ministry of Agriculture offers resources for new farmers in start up to supplement the general business planning guides found online with the B.C. perspective as well as hints and insights into how to best develop your farm enterprise plan.
Sample Farm Business Plans:
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)
For the full run down of these CSA Management & Direct Sales 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 ($)
Harvie (formerly Small Farm Central)
Developed by Small Farm Central, provides web based CSA member management software ($)
An all-in-one order management platform for direct food sales ($)
A supply chain platform for managing wholesale customers’ orders, deliveries, and payments through a web based software ($)
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.
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!)
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.
COG Pro provides an online solution to the detailed record-keeping required for Organic Certification.
VeggieTables is perfect for small to mid-size organic farms because it has all of the features of COG-Pro with a few additional features, like labour and expense tracking.
AgSquared attempts to bring together a range of functions from farm mapping and crop planning to record keeping and harvest records.
Farmbrite has a more holistic take on farm software. You can track livestock, crops, equipment, accounting and more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Posted by Kolby Peterson on December 14, 2019
Are you a farmer looking to hire and mentor a young, new, or aspiring farmer? Youth Employment and Skills Program The Youth Employment and Skills Program is providing funding in 2020 for the creation of agricultural internships to youth and youth facing barriers. This is a program of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and employers across the agriculture sector may apply for funding to hire Canadians, age 15 to 30. We reached out to inquire about their upcoming funding. “We plan to have a short intake starting Jan 13, 2020 at 10:00 am EST for the $864,000 and then another in … Continue reading Opportunity: It’s time for Mentors to Apply for Funding Internships and Apprenticeships →
Posted by Melanie Buffel on November 12, 2019
Young Agrarians is celebrating the sixth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) Program. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers across BC. Through one-on-one mentorship and peer networks, young farmers develops the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. We love to profile our program participants and celebrate their efforts! Applications now open for the 2019/2020 season. APPLY NOW! Deadline extended to Monday, November 18th, 2019 – Program Application here! What is your name, where do you farm, and who are your mentors? My name is Katie Ralphs from Rad-ish Farm in Duncan, BC (unceded Cowichan Territory). I am supported by … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Rad-ish Farms →
Posted by Melanie Buffel on November 04, 2019
Young Agrarians is celebrating the sixth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) Program. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers across BC. Through one-on-one mentorship and peer networks, young farmers develops the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. We love to profile our program participants and celebrate their efforts! Applications now open for the 2019/2020 season. APPLY NOW! Deadline extended to Monday, November 18th, 2019 – Program Application here! What is your name, where do you farm, and who are your mentors? Our names are Louise Lecouffe and Jed Wiebe and we operate Elderberry Grove. We farm in the Shuswap … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Elderberry Grove →
Posted by Alex on October 30, 2019
Young Edmonton Grant Are you a youth living in the Edmonton area and have a great idea for a farming-related event? Young Edmonton Grants (YEG) may be a great way to do that! The YEG program gives funding for projects initiated, led, and organized by young Edmonton and area residents. These grants range from $500-$3,000 and are available for residents between the ages of 13 and 24. The grant is intended to support young residents who partner with a registered charity to create their own projects or initiatives. Find out more at www.ecfoundation.org/yeg Application Details Application deadlines are three times a year, February 15 … Continue reading GRANT: Young Edmonton Grant →
Posted by Melanie Buffel on October 29, 2019
Young Agrarians is going into the sixth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) Program. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers across BC. Through one-on-one mentorship and peer networks, young farmers develops the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. We love to profile our program participants and celebrate their efforts! Applications now open for the 2019/2020 season. APPLY NOW! Deadline extended to Monday, November 18th, 2019 – Program Application here! What is your name, where do you farm, and who are your mentors? Our names are Riley Peterson and Olivia Kester and we operate Blackwater Creek Orchard in Devine, … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Blackwater Creek Orchard →
Posted by Melanie Buffel on October 21, 2019
What is your name, where do you farm, and who are your mentors? My name is Kate Fraser and I run Bees Please Farms in and around Victoria, BC. My business mentor is Seann Dory from Salt and Harrow Farm in Parksville, and my production mentors are Deb and Liam at Six Legs Good Apiaries in East Vancouver. What do you farm? I rent out bees and chickens around the lower island! For the bees, it is a way for people to support bees without having to learn to be a beekeeper. For the chickens it is a way for people to … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Bees Please Farms →
Posted by Melanie Buffel on October 01, 2019
Ready to Grow Your Farm Business? Are you a young (or young at heart) animal or vegetable producer living in British Columbia? Are you operating a new farm and looking for guidance to grow your business? Young Agrarians is excited to offer its sixth season (woo!) of the BC Business Mentorship Network! This program pairs new and seasoned farmers together to cultivate the skills for running ecologically sustainable and financially viable businesses. Mentors work with you to analyze your operations and lay the groundwork for your farm’s business growth. What You Get! As a participant in this program you will receive 30-40 hours of one-on-one mentorship with an experienced … Continue reading 2020 BC BUSINESS MENTORSHIP NETWORK – APPLY! →
Posted by Ashlee Brillert on September 24, 2019
METRO VANCOUVER – FRASER VALLEY LAND LINKING WORKSHOP Date: Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 | 1-6pm Location: Langley Mennonite Fellowship, 20997 40th Avenue, Langley, BC Kwantlen, Katzie, & Semiahmoo Territory Please RSVP: Register Now Facebook: Don’t forget to join the Facebook Event to share with your community and coordinate ride sharing in the discussion! Questions about this event, or about the B.C. Land Matching Program? Reach out to our Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley Land Matcher, Ashlee at: email@example.com Land Linking Workshop: Networking, Land Access Arrangements, B.C. Land Matching Program & Farmer Q&A! GOT LAND? WANT LAND? Are you a landowner looking for farmers? Are you a farmer looking for … Continue reading NOV 23, 2019: LANGLEY, BC – Land Linking Workshop →
Posted by Melanie Buffel on September 10, 2019
What is your name, where do you farm, and who are your mentors? My name is Kim Watt and I run Thimble Hill Orchard and Nursery, just outside Nelson B.C. My business mentor is Chris Bodnar of Close to Home Organics in Abbotsford, and my production mentor is Richard Walker of Silver Moon Food Forest in Osoyoos. What do you farm? I grow edible and useful perennial plants through my nursery, and will be selling produce from the orchard once our young trees come into production. The orchard includes nut trees, fruit trees, berries, herbs, and perennial vegetables that are … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Thimble Hill Orchard and Nursery →
Posted by Michalina Hunter on September 06, 2019
Community Futures Wildfire Business Transition Program Business and Not-For-Profit Training The Wildfire Business Transition – Self-Directed Training Program is intended to help businesses and not-for-profits (organizations) impacted by the 2017 wild fire season to identify their training needs and provide financial and advisory support to meet those needs. Courses such as the “The Market Gardener’s Master Class” with Jean-Martin Fortier can be paid for, if completed by Nov 15, 2019. For a list of more information and eligible communities, click the document below: How to apply and find if a certain training is eligible: Application forms are available at cfwildfire.ca Contact … Continue reading Training Courses Covered Through Wildfire Recovery Program in BC →