Farm Business Support

Young Agrarians empowers new farmers to develop the business skills they need to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. YAY Farmers!

Check out our programs, tools and resources below and come back often for updates:

BUSINESS BOOTCAMP – This online, community-based program will give you the space and skills to write a stellar business plan for the farm of your dreams. The Business Bootcamp will cover everything from writing a mission statement to creating a financial plan to defining a marketing strategy.

B.C. BUSINESS MENTORSHIP NETWORK – 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? The B.C. Business Mentorship Network pairs new and seasoned farmers together to cultivate foundational business and production skills. Mentors work with you to analyze your operations and lay the groundwork for your farm’s business growth. 

ON THE UMAP – See what farm business resources are available in your geographical region!

BUSINESS BLOG – We love to showcase new and young farmers from our Business Mentorship Network, as well as provide insight and information on resources to support you towards success on your farm.

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 by sending an email to: business@youngagrarians.org.


Farm Business Tools

BUSINESS PLANNING | WEB TOOLS | PRODUCTION & OPERATIONS | FINANCE | MARKETING | HUMAN RESOURCES | FARMINARS | REGULATION REFERENCES

Business Planning Tools

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

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 addition to the general online business planning guides. Offers  hints and insights into how to best develop your farm enterprise plan with a B.C. perspective.

Farmer Resource Library –  From the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project in the US this digital library has hundreds of resources on sustainable farming, marketing, and operating a successful small business.

Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management Planning Book – Farm Business Planning ‘Lite’. This workbook from Oregon State University 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 from the Minnesota School for Sustainable Agriculture 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.

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 a review of CSA Management & Direct Sales farm software tools read Chris Bodnar’s: Tools for Small Farms. To learn more about E-Commerce options read Hailey Troock’s: DIY Website Toolkit for Farmers & Food Producers: Ecommerce Tricks, Tips & Tools

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 ($)

Harvie (formerly Small Farm Central)
Developed by Small Farm Central, provides web based CSA member management software ($)

Cropolis
An all-in-one order management platform for direct food sales ($)

Local Orbit
A supply chain platform that allows for individual to sell and multiple producers to aggregate sales, manage 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.

COG Pro provides an online solution to the detailed record-keeping required for Organic Certification.

VeggieTables is perfect for small to mid-size organic farms because it has all of the features of COG-Pro with a few additional features, like labour and expense tracking. 

AgSquared attempts to bring together a range of functions from farm mapping and crop planning to record keeping and harvest records.

Farmbrite has a more holistic take on farm software. You can track livestock, crops, equipment, accounting and more.

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

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) – Referenced in Lecture #3 above.

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.

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!

Canada Organic Trade Association – COTA produces valuable market reports for the Canadian organic industry. From the flagship Canadian Organic Market Report to specialized reports like Organic Food Processing, this research equips businesses and policy makers with valuable market insights and trends for the sector. 

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

Stone Barns Centre for Food and Agriculture has a wealth of farming focused educational videos from farm business management to soil biology and small engine maintenance.

PracticalFarmers.org – Ongoing Farminar winter series every Tuesday evening! Sort archives by topic or farm priorities.

Agriwebinar.com – Farm Management Canada’s amazing database of ag sector information!

Regulations Reference

Farm Practices Protection – Land in the Agricultural Land Reserve, areas where land is zoned by local governments for farming, and licensed aquaculture areas, represent locations in B.C. where farming is a priority and specifically permitted. 

Farm Land Classification – Receiving Farm Classification reduces property tax rates through BC Assessment mechanisms. Learn about the eligibility requirments and application process.

Agricultural Environmental Management – On February 28, 2019, a new regulation called the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM Code) came into effect.  The new AEM Code applies to all agricultural operations in British Columbia, from small hobby farms to large commercial operations.

PST exemption for Farmers – As a qualifying farmer, you may purchase or lease specifically listed farm equipment and other goods exempt from PST. You must either have a BC Farmer Identity Card or fill out this exemption form.

WCB and Farms – Understand your obligations as an employer to plan for the safety of workers on your farm and register your employees for workers compensation. Information on rates, remittance and claim processes.

BC Chicken Marketing Board licences  broiler quota holders in BC and primary poultry processors.  As a small producer you must apply for a permit to raise up to 2000 chickens a year for farm direct  sales. Having less than 200 chickens for personal use does not require a permit.

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BUSINESS BLOG


MAR 15, 2021: Urban Farming Workshop Webinar (Victoria, BC)

Posted by Azja Jones Martin on February 24, 2021

Would you like to become an urban farmer and learn how to create your own agriculture business in the city? We’re excited to bring you this event where you will learn the basics of running your own farming business in an urban landscape! ABOUT THE EVENT Join us for a FREE virtual 3-hour workshop on urban farming March 15th at 5PM where you could learn about the basic skills needed to run a successful urban farm! During this time, we will discuss: Farm design Farm management Farm operations Farm Economics Revenue streams & selling product Some of the necessary skills to create … Continue reading MAR 15, 2021: Urban Farming Workshop Webinar (Victoria, BC)

Canadian Eco-Scholar Award: Scholarship for students who care about organic agriculture

Posted by Michalina Hunter on February 18, 2021

APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN FOR THE 2021 YORKSHIRE VALLEY FARMS CANADIAN ECO-SCHOLAR AWARD Are you a full-time student at a Canadian academic institution?  Are you passionate about organics? Yorkshire Valley Farms wants to hear from you! Applications for The 2021 Yorkshire Valley Farms Canadian Eco-Scholar Award are now open. $10,000 in funding is available and will be awarded to four students.  To apply, submit a video in which you answer the question “what role do you hope to play in the organic regenerative movement?”. The Eco-Scholar Award was launched in 2004 by the Guelph Organic Conference. Under the new partnership with … Continue reading Canadian Eco-Scholar Award: Scholarship for students who care about organic agriculture

How to Plan a Market Garden

Posted by Michalina Hunter on February 04, 2021

how to plan a market garden

This post covers the basics of planning a market garden (or backyard garden), including tools from Johnny’s Seeds for calculating the amount of seed you’ll need and crop yields. An Intro to Johnny’s Seed Quantity Calculators & Yield Charts • How to measure • How much of what to plant • How far apart • To produce just so much? Planning your market garden layout is one of the more challenging annualized tasks of vegetable production, because multiple goals must be rolled into the planning process. Rotations, planting dates, days to maturity, duration of harvest, labour resources, and even microclimates … Continue reading How to Plan a Market Garden

Wage Subsidy Programs for Farms in Canada

Posted by Michalina Hunter on January 06, 2021

Wage Subsidies for Farms in Canada

2021 WAGE SUBSIDY PROGRAMS FOR FARMS Are you a farm looking for a wage subsidy to hire labour? Here are several federally and regionally-funded programs to consider. Make sure to read the eligibility requirements carefully, as some subsidies are not allowed to be combined with others. Canada Summer Jobs Canada Summer Jobs is an initiative of the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, which aims to provide flexible and holistic services to support all young Canadians develop the skills and gain paid work experience to successfully transition in the labour market. The Canada Summer Jobs program objectives align with the redesigned … Continue reading Wage Subsidy Programs for Farms in Canada

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Linden Lane Farms

Posted by Melanie Buffel on December 20, 2020

Young Agrarians is celebrating the sixth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program. The BMN offers business mentorships  to a diverse array of new and young farmers across BC. Through one-on-one mentorship and peer networks, young farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. We love to profile our program participants and celebrate their efforts! My name is Matthew Carr from Linden Lane Farms and my Mentor was Seann Dory from Salt and Harrow Farm. What were your goals for this season and how did you work to achieve those? Investigate, develop and refine a plan to expand operation while increasing … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Linden Lane Farms

Alberta Small and Medium Sized Business Relaunch Grant

Posted by Dana Penrice on December 10, 2020

  The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations, and that experienced a revenue reduction of at least 40%, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible organizations can apply for 15% of their pre-COVID-19 monthly revenue, up to a maximum of $5,000 in funding. Businesses, cooperatives and non-profits can use these funds as they see fit to help offset a portion of their relaunch costs, such as implementing measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission, which could include: physical barriers purchasing … Continue reading Alberta Small and Medium Sized Business Relaunch Grant

Online Marketplaces for Farmers and Food Producers in BC

Posted by Hailey Troock on December 04, 2020

Are you an enterprising farmer or food producer looking for more ways to sell your locally-made products online, to your community and beyond? Read on! In other blog posts, we cover general ecommerce tricks, tips and tools and small farm software tools for farmers and food producers. These resources are helpful for anyone in and outside of BC! In BC, multiple online platforms, directories and marketplaces where farmers and food producers (and other businesses!) can sell their fare have popped up in the last year to address increased demands for buying local, including healthy food. This post features two of … Continue reading Online Marketplaces for Farmers and Food Producers in BC

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Digable Roots

Posted by Melanie Buffel on December 02, 2020

Young Agrarians is celebrating the seventh year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program. The BMN offers business mentorships  to a diverse array of new and young farmers across BC. Through one-on-one mentorship and peer networks, young farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. We are wrapping up with our 2020 Mentee Cohort and are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts! Megan Henwood and Callum Bottrell  are the owners of Digable Roots in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island and are participants in the 2020 Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network Program. What were … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Digable Roots

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Brass Bell Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on November 18, 2020

Young Agrarians is celebrating the seventh year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program. The BMN offers business mentorships  to a diverse array of new and young farmers across BC. Through one-on-one mentorship and peer networks, young farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Applications are now open for our BMN 2021 Mentee Cohort. Find more information and an application form here. Deadline to apply has been extended to November 20th, 2020.  We are wrapping up with our 2020 Mentee Cohort and are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts! Amber Rowse- Robinson is … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Brass Bell Farm

VANCOUVER, BC : City Beet Farm is for Sale!

Posted by Michalina Hunter on November 12, 2020

city beet farm sale

ABOUT THE FARM City Beet Farm is a multi-site urban farm that was established in Vancouver, BC in 2013. We grow vegetables and flowers on front and backyards in Mount Pleasant, Riley Park and Southlands, with our current growing space being a little under 0.5 acre. City Beet is a unique farming model focused on building urban food security and community engagement. City Beet sells produce primarily through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model in addition to a weekly pop-up market in partnership with The Federal Store, and wholesale relationships. Since 2016, City Beet has been co-owned and operated by … Continue reading VANCOUVER, BC : City Beet Farm is for Sale!