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!
THE BC BUSINESS MENTORSHIP NETWORK IS NOW UNDERWAY FOR THE 2018 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. We are working with 12 fresh farmers in the 2018 season. Look for their stories to be featured on the YA blog this spring and fall!
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. The aim of the B.C. Business Mentorship Network 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. Ultimately we hope to see farmers produce an increase in: crop yields, revenues, and where possible, area of land in production.
Mentees receive approx. 40 hours of mentorship and are paired with mentors over three to four months throughout the winter and spring. Mentors help our new farmer to analyze their operations and set goals to move forward towards financial sustainability. Mentorships are held 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!
Funding for the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network in 2018 has been provided by Vancity, the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia, and the Governments of Canada and British Columbia through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. 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!
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:
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 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!
Posted by Emily Jubenvill on February 19, 2018
Kwantlen Polytechnic University presents this Short Course: Business Planning for a New Farm. Managing your farm as a business is an important but often neglected component of operating a farm. Recent research shows that farmers who create and use business planning are more confident, more profitable and more able to take advantage of new opportunities. This short course will introduce participants to the concept of farm business planning through some practical, hands-on exercises. Teaching content will reference Ministry of Agriculture resources, primarily the New Farm Start-Up guide, and introduce participants to options for further support through the Ministry. Save the dates and … Continue reading March 1, 8, & 22: Short Course – Business Planning for a New Farm
Posted by Kristen Nammour on February 08, 2018
Higher Profits. Less Work. Sound like your farm business goals for 2018? Join Young Agrarians and author Ben Hartman for a series of webinars focused on how lean principles of efficiency can be applied to your farm enterprise to decrease waste and increase profitability. DATES: March 6, 2018 – An Introduction to Lean Concepts for the Small Farm March 13, 2018 – Five Lean Business Management Tools to Increase Profits w/ Less Work TIME: 10:00AM – 12:00PM (PST) COST: $45 If you’re not able to join for both sessions, please contact kristen(at)youngagrarians.org for single session payment options – cost: $25/session REGISTER NOW: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3653149762140663811 Once you register on the GoToWebinar page … Continue reading MARCH 6 & 13: LEAN FARM MANAGEMENT WEBINARS
Posted by Moss Dance on January 29, 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
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
Posted by Kristen Nammour on January 12, 2018
By Kareno Hawbolt & Kimi Hendess, Sweet Digz Farm What a year! As for all farmers around us, the wet cold spring played a huge roll in the timing of our crops, the speed at which we tried to catch up all season long, and the bumper crops of weeds that tried to take over the farm! Luckily, we had the moral support of our awesome mentors at Sea Bluff Farm – Robin Tunnicliffe and Sasha Kubicek with their combined extensive expertise in farming and financial management (respectively). Being in constant communication with them helped us realize we weren’t alone in the challenges … Continue reading Food For Thought | Remembering our Roots & Committing to Change!
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
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, email@example.com, 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
Posted by Kristen Nammour on November 28, 2017
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
Posted by Kristen Nammour on November 26, 2017
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