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
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.
Did you miss our 2018/2019 application deadline? Check back October 2019 for the 2019/2020 Season
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.
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: email@example.com.
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 Hailey Troock on February 18, 2019
On February 2nd, 2019, 16 farmers with a range of experience levels came together at Vallican Whole Community Center for a Farm Business Planning 101 Workshop. The workshop was prepared and given by Paul Kelly from the Community Futures Central Kootenay Self Employment Program. Paul holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Business and Entrepreneurship. He has managed large retail food operations including the Kootenay Co-op, production and processing at Fieldstone organic granary, and operated a local biofuel and feed commodity business out of Winlaw. Paul began his presentation by setting the regional labour market context. December 2018 saw the lowest … Continue reading EVENT RECAP: Columbia Basin Farm Business Planning 101 Workshop
Posted by Dana Penrice on February 15, 2019
Donovan and Lisa live in symbiosis with their environment. They create very familiar boundaries with their animals and raise them with respect, passion and patience. They are in love with nature and they are farmers not only through their job, but also through their whole way of living. Their courage, their determination led them to take a great step forward by starting their own organic farm, off the grid. They are pioneers. But more than being passionate farmers, they are humans. Their generosity, their kindness make them wonderful hosts for Wwoofers and apprentices. They transmit their skills, learning-by-doing, and radiate … Continue reading YA Apprenticeship: Reflections from The Homestead, Goodfare AB
Posted by Lilli Klamke on February 12, 2019
The second Young Agrarians Farmer Mixer in the Peace Country is coming up! If you are a farmer, passionate food lover, grower, or a farm dreamer, join us! These two days will be filled with networking, skill sharing, and farm inspiration to help you grow your own farm business and farm story. When: Saturday, March 2 – Sunday, March 3, 2019 Where: Camp Tamarack located south of Grande Prairie. Follow Highway 40 south, turn east onto secondary Highway 668, turn south onto Range Road 62 and you will find the camp on your left side. Find it on Google Maps. Cost: $75 + … Continue reading MARCH 2-3, 2019: GRANDE PRAIRIE, AB – YA Peace Country Winter Mixer
Posted by Robin Hunt on February 01, 2019
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 at … Continue reading FEB 9-10, 2019: WILLIAMS LAKE MIXER
Posted by Michalina Hunter on January 31, 2019
Join us for a workshop with the legendary Ben Hartman, author of The Lean Farm, on preventing burnout and increasing farm profits with less waste and work. Ben has inspired thousands to increase efficiency on their farms, and now he’s coming to BC to share his knowledge! No matter where you are at in your farming journey or what type of farm you operate, these “lean” principles can help you streamline and maximize your time. WHEN: Sunday, March 3, 2019, 1-6pm WHERE: Dakelh Territory | Prince George Civic Centre, 808 Canada Games Way, Prince George B.C. COST: Sliding scale $25-$50. There are a couple work … Continue reading MARCH 3, 2019: PRINCE GEORGE, BC – Lean Farm Workshop with Ben Hartman
Posted by Michalina Hunter on December 20, 2018
The Sector Development Branch of the BC Ministry of Agriculture is hiring a New Entrant Agrologist. The role provides support and technical expertise to new producers to the industry. The role builds capacity, supports business management and entrepreneurial skill development, increases awareness of programs and services, and encourages the use of sound management practices. This role is responsible for the effective implementation of the New Entrant Strategy and all aspects of developing and delivering programs, tools, resources and projects for new farmers and ranchers. Position Summary New Entrant Agrologist Licensed Science Officer (Agrologist) 2 Bring your operational expertise to this unique opportunity The … Continue reading JOB: ABBOTSFORD – Ministry of Agriculture New Entrant Agrologist
Posted by Michalina Hunter on December 19, 2018
Join us for a workshop with the legendary Ben Hartman, author of The Lean Farm, on preventing burnout and increasing farm profits with less waste and work. Ben has inspired thousands to increase efficiency on their farms, and now he’s coming to BC to share his knowledge! No matter where you are at in your farming journey or what type of farm you operate, these “lean” principles can help you streamline and maximize your time. WHEN: Monday, January 21, 2019 from 1:00-6:00 PM WHERE: Ktunaxa Territories – Centre 64 Theatre – 64 Deer Park Ave, Kimberley, BC COST: Sliding scale $25-50. All funds raised go … Continue reading JAN 21, 2019: KIMBERLEY, BC – Lean Farm Workshop with Ben Hartman
Posted by Michalina Hunter on December 19, 2018
Grow Series with Chris Bodnar on Co-op Development & Farm Business Management Join us for two days of exciting workshops with Chris Bodnar of Close to Home Organics, in partnership with NEAT Northern Co-Hort. WHEN: January 26-27, 9am-4pm WHERE: Treaty 8 Territory | Northern Grand Hotel, 9830 100 Ave, Fort St. John, B.C. COST: Sliding Scale $25-$50. All funds raised go towards Young Agrarians programming. Thank you for your support! Work trades are available – contact Michi at firstname.lastname@example.org REGISTER: https://chrisbodnarfortstjohn2019.brownpapertickets.com ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/events/2233592653521911/ WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS Co-operatives in Agriculture Saturday, January 26th, 9am-4pm Introduction to the Co-operative Model in Agriculture: Co-operatives have … Continue reading JAN 26-27, 2019: FORT ST. JOHN, BC – Chris Bodnar on Co-op Development & Farm Business Management
Posted by Michalina Hunter on December 10, 2018
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, 2019: SURREY – Regenerative Agriculture & Soil Health Workshop
Posted by Susheela Kundargi on November 23, 2018
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