Operations Plan & Logistics: Boots On the Ground

For this topic, we’ll be getting into the details of what needs to happen on your farm and when, and what infrastructure you need to make it all happen. Farm logistics is an important part of a business plan because it helps map out a workflow, a timeline of expenses and sales, and a general idea of start-up costs.

An operations plan is really a time budget. You can’t “borrow” time so it needs to be allotted wisely! Consider this…

52 weeks x 50 hours a week equals 2,600 hours
3 weeks of vacation and sick equals 150 hours
There are 2,450 work hours in the year

1 day a week marketing equals 490 hours
1/2 day a week administration equals 245 hours
1/2 day a week research/education equals 245 hours
There are 1,470 farming hours left in a year

What can realistically be accomplished in those ~1470 hours? How will the tasks change throughout the seasons? Will you need help with any of the farm tasks? What happens if a tasks takes longer than expected?

At this stage you’ll likely need to do some in-depth research into the logistics of the type of farming you want to do – books, videos, mentor farmers, and your peers are all great places to look for what you need. There are A LOT of details when it comes to starting a farm so I encourage you to not get too bogged down in making sure everything is perfect in year 1. Remember to start small and work on making your systems fit your needs. Then, continue to revisit your logistics plan and adjust it as you grow.

The Operations Plan & Logistics session will feature three farmers:

Mike Kozlowski from Steel Pony Farm has been market gardening and providing families in Central Alberta with chemical-free produce since 2011. He is a self proclaimed soil worshiper who feels a deep sense of awe about ecosystem function, soil biology and plant metabolism. He pursues his mission, just outside of Red Deer, of leveraging these biological processes to grow the highest quality crops so that they can support the health of all people who eat them.

Andrew, a city slicker turned haskap fruit farmer, has slowly grown his 27 acre orchard since 2016. His desire to build our horticulture community has guided him to be the founder to the Haskap Alberta Association, founding shareholder, board member of North 49 Fruit Corp and 2020 Nuffield scholar. His mission is to make haskaps our everyday food, move over blueberries.

Blake Hall is a first generation farmer. He grew up in Red Deer, Alberta and after working on farms and ranches across Canada and the northern US, purchased cattle in 2010 and started his own farming business: Prairie Gold Pastured Meats. Him and his wife Angela primarily raise grass-finished beef which they direct-markets to over 200 families in Central Alberta. Blake also has experience with swine rearing, sheep tending, and poultry minding. Blake is also a graduate of Olds College’s meat processing program and works off the farm part time as a mobile butcher harvesting beef for local farmers throughout Central Alberta.

During the online session you will get the chance to ask these three farmers all your questions about the behind-the-scenes work of running a farm.


For this topic there are three videos about the general operations plan for an annuals, perennials, and animal farm. Watch as many of these videos as you find relevant to your farm.

I recognize that these categories by no means encompass the many diverse farms out there. Therefore, I encourage you to use this opportunity as an excuse to call up a farmer that you admire and ask them some questions about how their operate their farm. You never know what great connections might arise!

Annuals – Mike Kozlowski (Steel Pony Farm)

Book – Crop Planning for Vegetable Growers (Canadian Organic Growers Society)
Chart – Seed Quantity and Yield Chart – Direct Seeding (Johnny’s Selected Seeds)
Chart – Seed Quantity and Yield Chart – Transplanting (Johnny’s Selected Seeds)
Document – Field Grown Cut Flowers (BC Agriculture)
Website – Harvest & Crop Manuals (Roxbury Agriculture Institute)
Website – Cut Flower Resources (Floret Flowers)
Website – Canadian Caterpillar Tunnel Kits (GrowHoops)

Animals – Blake Hall (Prairie Gold Pastured Meats)

Document – Grazing Farm Startup (Blake Hall)

Perennials – Andrew Rosychuk (Rosy Farms)

Documents – Rosy Farm Operations Documents (Andrew Rosychuk)

Additional Operations Resources For All Farm Types 

Workbook – Successful Whole Farm Management Planning (Oregon State University)
Website – Farmer Resource Library (The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project)
Website – AgPal Program and Service Finder (Government of Canada)
Guide – A Guide to Agri-Tourism (BC Ministry of Ag)
Website – Organic Seed Suppliers Directory (Canadian Organic Growers)
Article – Small Farm Software Tools (Young Agrarians)


This worksheet has two parts: an operations plan and an infrastructure list (two tabs in excel, two pages in the worksheets). Please customize these worksheets to suit your needs. If you like working with spreadsheets, I encourage you use the excel version because it’s easy to modify as you go. If you prefer the old pen-and-paper method then download and print the worksheet version. The operations plan is for a single year but you can duplicate it for each year you want to plan.

Operations Plan Worksheet (excel)
Operations Plan Worksheet (doc)
Operations Plan Worksheet (pdf)

Check out this short video that describes the operations plan in more detail: