Financial Plan I: Herding Dollars

It’s time to put your farm dreams to the financial test! The next two topics are all about financial planning and there is a lot of ground to cover. We’ll start with talking about financial goal setting and start-up costs.

If this is your first time doing any sort of financial planning for your farm, don’t worry about getting all the nitty-gritty details right away. It can be helpful to first get a solid understanding of the words and concepts involved in financial planning before diving into the spreadsheets. Approach the financial planning process at whatever level you’re comfortable and know that your spreadsheet skills will build with practice.

For this session we’ll be joined by Chris:

Chris Bodnar farms vegetables with his wife Paige in Abbotsford. Their business, Close to Home Organics, sells to wholesale buyers, through farmers markets and through a Community Shared Agriculture program at Glen Valley Organic Farm. He provides business coaching and development support to farmers as a consultant through the BC Agri-Business Planning Program and mentorship through the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Program. He developed and teaches the Business of Agriculture course at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Sustainable Agriculture program and chairs the Board of Directors of Mount Lehman Credit Union. Particular interests include co-operative development in the agricultural sector.

Please watch the videos and take a look at the start-up costs templates for our next session. I encourage you to fill out as much information as you can in the spreadsheets – there are a lot of numbers to research but you gotta start somewhere!


Here you’ll find one video for financial goal setting and one for determining start-up costs. There is also a series of videos about the basics of financial planning. These videos are optional because we won’t be focusing on those topics in this session but could be good to watch if you’re interested in learning more about different financial documents.

Financial Goal Setting

Start-up Costs
Additional Financial Planning Videos from Chris Bodnar (Optional)

Overview  of Financial Planning
Three Big Reports
Income Statement (Profit/Loss Statement)
Balance Sheet
Cash Flow Statement
Sensitivity Analysis & Putting It All Together


Here is a worksheet to begin thinking about your financial goal setting & start up costs:

Financial Goal Setting & Start Up Costs Worksheet (pdf)
Financial Goal Setting & Start Up Costs Worksheet (doc)

Here is an excel template for calculating your personal financial needs.

Personal Cash Flow Needs Template (excel)

Here is an excel template for farm start-up costs (and cash flow projections, which we’ll cover next week). Fill out the “start up costs” sheet to the best of your abilities and see what questions/barriers come up for you. Then bring these questions to our live session.

Start Up Costs & Cash Flow Projections Template (excel)

If you are new to spreadsheets, then check out some of the resources below. And if you’d like a walk through of the Start Up Costs & Cash Flow Projections Template then check out this video.

There are also a myriad of other farm-related financial resources and excel templates below!


General Financial Resources

Document – Glossary of Financial Terms (Carrot Project)
Website – The Farmer Spreadsheet Academy
Template – Excel Calculator for Ranching  (Arnold Mattson)

Enterprise Budgets

Website – Enterprise Budgets (KPU)
Website – Enterprise Budgets (BC Agriculture)

Accounting Software

Website – Quickbooks
Website – Freshbooks
Website – Sage
Website – Wave
Website – Xero

Income Statement & Balance Sheet Templates

In addition to cash flow, here are templates for the other two big reports that you may need for your farm: income statement (also called profit and loss statement) and balance sheet.

Template – Balance sheet 
Template – Income (profit & loss) statement