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

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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 Extended: November 18, 2018

Program Overview:

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.

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:

  • 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.

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. 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.

Funders:

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!


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: business@youngagrarians.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

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!

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:

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.

Farminars

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!

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BUSINESS BLOG


FEB 9-10: WILLIAMS LAKE MIXER

Posted by Robin Hunt on December 15, 2018

Join us for our first ever Central B.C. winter mixer at Thompson Rivers University, Williams Lake Campus!    Based on your feedback and insights we’ve crafted an awesome program for this year’s Williams Lake Mixer with two full days of workshops and sessions you will be sure to sharpen your farm and business skills, and build connections with other new farmers. We will have two streams of content that will kick start new farmers, and that will deepen the knowledge and success of those with a few seasons in their pocket. Saturday night we will host a community Potluck and hear your stories … Continue reading FEB 9-10: WILLIAMS LAKE MIXER

Jan 25-26: SURREY – Regenerative Agriculture & Soil Health Workshop

Posted by Michi Hunter on December 10, 2018

Regenerative Agriculture and Soil Workshop

Intensive 2-day Workshop on Regenerative Agriculture and Soil Health What: An intensive 2-day workshop on Regenerative Agriculture and Soil Health When: January 25 – 26 2019 Where: Surrey, BC This workshop has a limited capacity of 30 participants. What this workshop offers With the workshop’s heavy focus on regenerative agriculture and soil health, participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of how to appropriately engage with their water management systems while promoting plant fertility governed mainly by soil biology. Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of: Farm planning and management Streamlining farming operations with regenerative design Water management and farm hydrology Fundamentals of soil ecology and microbiology’s role in plant production Integrated pest management and promotion of biodiversity … Continue reading Jan 25-26: SURREY – Regenerative Agriculture & Soil Health Workshop

January 12 & 13: ALIX, AB – Young Agrarians Central Alberta Winter Mixer

Posted by Dana Penrice on November 29, 2018

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Calling all farm dreamers and food growers! Join us for our 2nd Young Agrarians Winter Mixer in Alix, AB for two days farm inspiration and skill sharing to help you grow your farm business. There will be workshops on getting your farm started, farm financial planning, direct marketing, and stories from successful farm start ups. Meet with other farmers and share ideas, struggles and successes. Find mentors and supporters and learn what works right here in Central Alberta. And come for the fun! There will be farmer slide shows, the Farmer’s Library, campfires and more!!! When: Saturday, January 12 – Sunday January 13, 2019 Where:  Deer Valley … Continue reading January 12 & 13: ALIX, AB – Young Agrarians Central Alberta Winter Mixer

Dec 11: B.C. Ministry of Agriculture Open House

Posted by Susheela Kundargi on November 23, 2018

Ministry of Agriculture Open House

Farmers invited to B.C. Ministry of Agriculture open house! Ever wonder what happens at the Ministry of Agriculture? Want to meet the folks who run programs and offer support for farmers across the province? Now’s your chance to get a look behind the curtain – they’re opening the doors to their Abbotsford location to all agricultural producers, and especially new and young farmers, to help them learn what the Ministry of Agriculture has to offer as support. Plus, folks will be able to tour through the lab portion of the building and understand what goes on on that side! Where: 1767 Angus Campbell Road, … Continue reading Dec 11: B.C. Ministry of Agriculture Open House

Marketing for Hippies – Peace River & Demmitt, AB

Posted by Dana Penrice on November 01, 2018

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Young Agrarians Alberta is excited to be partnering with the Berwyn Legion, Demmitt Cultural Society, and the County of Grande Prairie to bring: Marketing for Hippies 101: How to Grow Your Green, Local and Holistic Business to the Peace Country! Marketing can feel good. That’s the premise of this workshop. Learn the marketing secret of North America’s most successful green, holistic, community-minded entrepreneurs! This is a pay-what-you-can, day-long, content-rich, roll-up-your-sleeves, nuts and bolts workshop. It’s all about how you can grow your business and attract all of the right kinds of clients (without ever sacrificing your integrity or spending a … Continue reading Marketing for Hippies – Peace River & Demmitt, AB

NOV 29: NELSON, BC – FABx Columbia Basin Food & Buyers Expo

Posted by Moss Dance on October 15, 2018

FABx Columbia Basin Food & Buyers Expo

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

Our new Central B.C. Coordinator is looking for your input!

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:  centralbc@youngagrarians.org WILLIAMS LAKE … Continue reading Our new Central B.C. Coordinator is looking for your input!

2019 B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Apply Now!

Posted by Riana Zietsman on October 05, 2018

B.C. Business Mentorship Network

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 B.C. 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 B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Apply Now!

FARM BUSINESS FOR SALE: Shady Acre Farm, Richmond B.C.

Posted by Susheela Kundargi on September 17, 2018

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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.

JOB: YOUNG AGRARIANS BUSINESS MENTORSHIP COORDINATOR

Posted by Sara Dent on August 24, 2018

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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