Farm 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
THE BC BUSINESS MENTORSHIP NETWORK IS NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2019 SEASON!
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.
APPLY NOW! – Program Application
Deadline: November 05, 2018
Whether you need 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 approximately 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 January we hosted our first ever Farm Business Intensive, a three day workshop series dedicated to farm planning, financial management, and strategic business development. It was awesome to spend some time together as a cohort, network up, and have the chance to work directly on farm planning with a dynamic crew of educators!
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 35-40 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 2019.
- 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: 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.
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.
Funding for the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network in 2019 has been provided by B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and regionally by Vancity and Columbia Basin Trust. Young Agrarians generously thanks our funders!
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 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 ($)
A supply chain platform for managing wholesale customers’ orders, deliveries, and payments through a web based software ($)
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.
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 Moss Dance on October 15, 2018
FABx is dedicated to helping local food businesses grow! The Expo brings together producers, processors (caterers, restauranteurs, value-added businesses), distributors and purchasers. FABx AT A GLANCE WHEN: Thursday, November 29, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. WHERE: Nelson, BC WHO: Basin food growers and producers, retailers, restaurateurs, caterers, distributors and wholesalers interested in purchasing Basin products The event includes: Workshops Networking lunch featuring local food suppliers Vendor expo and discussions with food industry experts FABx WORKSHOPS Sales & Distribution – Who to sell to, who to distribute with, how to represent your product. The Path from Farm to Table – Local food restaurants and schools … Continue reading NOV 29: NELSON, BC – FABx Columbia Basin Food & Buyers Expo
Posted by Sara Dent on October 14, 2018
MEET YOUR CENTRAL B.C. COORDINATOR: Robin Hunt is a market gardener from the Cariboo Region of B.C. She is excited to join the Young Agrarians team and work with farmers around the region. She currently farms with her husband Johan Bos at Big Rock Ranch in Buffalo Creek, B.C. Here they raise free range heritage chickens rotationally on pasture, run a mixed fruit/vegetable market garden and tiny home B&B, with a large focus on animal welfare and soil health. They feel strongly about building community, their local economy and supporting it by investing locally. Questions? Get in touch with Robin here: email@example.com WILLIAMS LAKE … Continue reading Our new Central B.C. Coordinator is looking for your input!
Posted by Riana Zietsman on October 05, 2018
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 a fifth season 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 … Continue reading 2019 BC Business Mentorship Network – Apply Now!
Posted by Susheela Kundargi on September 17, 2018
ABOUT THE FARM Shady Acre Farm is a small-scale farm in Richmond B.C. Started in 2015, the farm focuses on small-scale, mixed vegetables grown in a way that is sustainable for the earth, the farmers, and the community, following organic practices and growing a wide variety of produce. ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY This farm would be ideal for someone who wants to start a small farm business. The business would be best suited to summer growing with a smaller variety of crops or niche crops, and the existing infrastructure and customer base will provide someone with a foundation on which to … Continue reading FARM BUSINESS FOR SALE: Shady Acre Farm, Richmond B.C.
Posted by Sara Dent on August 24, 2018
CONTRACT POSITION: Are you an entrepreneur at heart but you’ve been bitten by the farm bug? Do friends come to you for business advice? Are you a spreadsheet whiz who understands enterprise budgets and five year financials? If you think in numbers, and dream in lettuce-patch green, Young Agrarians is looking for you! We are seeking a dynamic individual who is capable of taking a leadership role to support farm viability for new and young farmers in B.C. The primary focus of this position will be to coordinate Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network activities focused on pairing up new farms … Continue reading JOB: YOUNG AGRARIANS BUSINESS MENTORSHIP COORDINATOR
Posted by Moss Dance on June 18, 2018
Demand for organic seed is increasing across North America and many regions of BC offer a great growing environment for seed crops. On-farm seed production can bring additional revenue to your farm and help you grow seed optimally suited to your farm environment. SEED PRODUCTION WORKSHOPS WITH PATRICK STEINER Join long-time organic seed producer and founder of Stellar Seeds, Patrick Steiner, for these seed production workshops and field days in Winlaw (July 15) and Prince George (July 10 & 11). These workshops include both classroom and field time as Patrick covers the fundamentals of seed production in the classroom and … Continue reading JUL 10,11,15: WINLAW & PRINCE GEORGE, BC: Seed Production Workshops
Posted by Moss Dance on June 14, 2018
AgSafe has launched a new free safety self-assessment web tool for B.C.’s agriculture organizations and other naturally aligned industries. The Safety Ready Certificate of Recognition (COR) Self-Assessment website is designed to assist organizations in assessing their readiness for a COR program audit. The self-assessment tool begins with a questionnaire to be completed by the person responsible for overseeing the Safety Management System in your organization. Once that is done, the tool provides feedback on your readiness for a COR review. The web tool will also help you calculate your organization’s potential WorkSafeBC incentive. “There are three levels of readiness and … Continue reading AgSafe launches new COR Self-Assessment website for B.C.’s agriculture industry
Posted by Darcy Smith on May 25, 2018
A unique community gathering place, the Surrey Urban Farmers Market (SUFM) is a local based non-profit community market located at the North Surrey Recreation Centre beside Surrey Central Mall and the Surrey Central sky-train & bus loop. Our market benefits hundreds to thousands of residents in the Surrey Central City area as well as the small business vendors from all across Surrey, the lower mainland and BC. The market opens this year on Wednesday June 6th with the last day on Wednesday October 3rd. We are now into our 10th year and host free live music shows, kids’ activities … Continue reading SURREY URBAN FARMERS MARKET LOOKING FOR NEW FARMERS
Posted by Moss Dance on April 14, 2018
WAGE SUBSIDY OPPORTUNITIES FOR FARMS Are you a farm looking for a wage subsidy to hire labour? Here are four federally funded programs to consider in 2018. For a youth to qualify to be hired using one of these programs, they cannot be accessing a wage subsidy through another federally funded program. This is a one wage subsidy program per employee opportunity. ECO CANADA This program is for up to 50% of an employee’s salary, at a maximum subsidy of $15,000. It is funded through the Government of Canada, Department of Natural Resources and Science Horizons. The goal is to help … Continue reading Wage Subsidy Programs Available!
Posted by Emily Jubenvill on February 26, 2018
Business Planning for New Farms Workshop Participants: New farmers or farmers looking to change or diversify their products Date and Time: Saturday, March 10, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (PST) Location: Taghum Hall, Nelson Presenters: Emma Holmes, Organics Industry Specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture, and Chris Bodner, owner of Close to Home Organics and farm business management specialist and teacher at Kwantleen Polytechnic University. Workshop Overview: The focus of this workshop is farm business planning. Emma Holmes will also provide information on soil management fundamentals, and Ministry of Agriculture resources and programs for farmers. Lunch: 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm (potluck mingler) Cost: Free – Registration required Register now!