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 MENTORSHIP NETWORK – Are you a new farm business operator or next gen farmer starting a new business living in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba? Are you involved in primary production raising livestock, vegetables, fruits,  flowers, bees, grain etc and wanting to increase the size and skills of your business operation? 

The Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network pairs new farm business operators and seasoned farm business operators  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. 

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.

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| FUNDING

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!

Business Development Bank of Canada(BDC) – the Business Development Bank of Canada is a crown corporation dedicated to supporting Canadian entrepreneurs. They provide some great tools including their Entrepreneurial Self Assessment Tool.

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.

Beginning Farmer Guide (Alberta) – This guide was published by the AB government in 2015. It is a handy guide to help you evaluate what skills and knowledge you can bring to the farm operation. – Assessed your personality traits and values and considered how they align with the farm business.

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!

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.

Business Support Resources for Indigenous Entrepreneurs:

Indigenous Pathfinder Service – Connect directly with an advisor from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, who will provide guidance, referrals, information about available programs and services, and connect you with resources and support for your agricultural business.

Indigenous Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative – An initiative delivered by the Canadian government to support Indigenous-led agriculture and food systems projects.

B.C. Indigenous Agriculture Development Program – This program offers personalized business development services and funding for Indigenous peoples or organizations launching businesses in the food and agriculture sector in B.C.

Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program – This program provides access to capital and business opportunities to Indigenous entrepreneurs and business owners in Canada.

Alberta Indian Investment Corporation – This First Nation-owned investment company provides lending and business resources for Indigenous entrepreneurs in Alberta.

National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) – NACCA has a ton of helpful resources for Indigenous entrepreneurs, like this map of Aboriginal Financial Institutions across Canada, or the Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurship Program.

Futurpreneur Indigenous Services – Futurpreneur offers specialized support in the form of funding, resources, and business mentorship for Indigenous people in Canada aged 18-39.

Business Link Indigenous Services – Specialized resources and mentorship for Indigenous-owned businesses in the form of coaching, guidebooks, funding connections, workshops, and training.

Canadian Centre for Aboriginal Entrepreneurship (CCAE) – Training, project management, speaking and writing services, and consulting for Indigenous-led Canadian businesses. The CCAE offers the Business and Entrepreneurship Skills Training (BEST) program – contact the CCAE to see if there is an upcoming BEST program opportunity (either in person or online) for you. BEST graduates in Coast Salish territory are also eligible for the Vancity Aboriginal BEST microloan.

Indigenous Business Development Services – Skills training and resources for Indigenous entrepreneurs in BC, offered in person through community organizations or online.

Inuit Women in Business Network – Mentorship, workshops, resources, and community support for Inuit women starting a business anywhere in Canada!

BDC Indigenous Entrepreneur Loan – The BDC offers a loan specifically for Indigenous-led businesses, to fund start-up, operations, or expansion.

Want to explore more resources? Check out Small Business BC’s list of resources for Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Business Support Resources for New Canadian Entrepreneurs:

Business Link Immigrant Services – Specialized business support for immigrant entrepreneurs in the form of coaching, guidebooks, workshops, referral networks, and capacity building.

Futurpreneur Newcomer Services – Futurpreneur offers financing support, networking opportunities, and business mentorship for new Canadian citizens or permanent residents aged 18-39 who are starting a small business in Canada.

Business Support Resources for Black Entrepreneurs:

Futurpreneur’s Black Entrepreneur Startup Program – Financing, mentorship, and resources for young (aged 18-39) Black entrepreneurs in Canada.

Black Entrepreneurship Program – This program, delivered by the government of Canada, includes support and funding for Black entrepreneurs.

Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) – The BBPA is a non-profit organization that offers skills training, mentorship, advice, webinars, scholarships, and more to create business opportunities and economic development for the Black community.

Business Support Resources for Women Entrepreneurs:

Women’s Enterprise Centre Manitoba –The Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba is a resource for women looking to start or expand their businesses. They run workshops and work on an individual basis with women throughout the province to answer their questions and help them determine the steps to make their businesses successful.

Women’s Enterprise Centre Saskatchewan

WESK is a  non-profit, membership-based organization of 800 members and growing with the goal  to help you start, grow, and scale your business in Saskatchewan. WESK provides financing resources for those looking for small business funding as you start a business in Saskatchewan and affordable services.

Business Support Resources for Persons with Disabilities:

Entrepreneurial Development Programs for Persons with Disabilities – Community Futures offers two business coaching and training programs designed to support new and aspiring business owners living with a disability.

Sample Farm Business Plans:

The Carrot Project – Wild Food Farm Sample Business Plan and Financials

Down in the Dirt Farm – Farm Sample Business Plan 

Futurepreneur – Farm Brewery Sample Business Plan (Click “Download Tool” to download the document)

Article: Farm Credit Canada “10 steps to a solid business plan” 

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 ($)

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.

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.

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.

Farm Cash Flow Statement Instructions & Template –  Skip to Lecture #3 for explanation of cash flow template.

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.

Royalty Free Vegetable Images for Download – 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 it’s 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!

Regulation References

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 requirements 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.

* please note these numbers are different for different provinces. Please seek out information from your provincial chicken and or egg marketing board * 

Manitoba Direct Marketing your Food Product – This fact sheet focuses on what direct marketers of food products in Manitoba need to know to meet the legal requirements for production, processing and marketing of food products in Manitoba.

* Please note that direct marketing  outside of the province  may have additional requirements to meet and that rules and regulations are different within each province * 

Funding

Wage Subsidy Programs: Are you a farm looking for a wage subsidy to hire an employee? There 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. 

Grants: As a new farmer, access to capital in the early years of operation, or during periods of significant change such as farm transition or expansion, can be a challenge. The good news is, there are many grants available for new farmers in Canada, and we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourites , as well as tips for applying.

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BUSINESS BLOG


YA Business Mentorship Network – Between Two Farms / Six Ewes Yarn

Posted by Tori Ames on April 11, 2024

Young Agrarians is celebrating the tenth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program in BC and the second year of the program in the Prairies! If you are a new farmer or the next generation to take on your family farm and need support to figure out the business aspects of your farm consider applying for the 2024/2025 cohort. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers/ranchers/producers. Through one-on-one mentorship, peer networks and online workshops new farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Apply for the 2024/2025 program here – applications processed … Continue reading YA Business Mentorship Network – Between Two Farms / Six Ewes Yarn

YA Business Mentorship Network – Frozen Coast Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on April 09, 2024

Young Agrarians is celebrating the tenth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program in BC and the second year of the program in the Prairies! If you are a new farmer or the next generation to take on your family farm and need support to figure out the business aspects of your farm consider applying for the 2024/2025 cohort. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers/ranchers/producers. Through one-on-one mentorship, peer networks and online workshops new farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Apply for the … Continue reading YA Business Mentorship Network – Frozen Coast Farm

YA Business Mentorship Network – Sunny Slope Farm

Posted by Tori Ames on April 04, 2024

Young Agrarians is celebrating the tenth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program in BC and the second year of the program in the Prairies! If you are a new farmer or the next generation to take on your family farm and need support to figure out the business aspects of your farm consider applying for the 2024/2025 cohort. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers/ranchers/producers. Through one-on-one mentorship, peer networks and online workshops new farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Apply for the 2024/2025 program here – applications processed … Continue reading YA Business Mentorship Network – Sunny Slope Farm

YA Business Mentorship Network – Secret Garden Cut Flowers and Tiny Farm Foods

Posted by Melanie Buffel on April 03, 2024

Young Agrarians is celebrating the tenth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program in BC and the second year of the program in the Prairies! If you are a new farmer or the next generation to take on your family farm and need support to figure out the business aspects of your farm consider applying for the 2024/2025 cohort. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers/ranchers/producers. Through one-on-one mentorship, peer networks and online workshops new farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Apply for the … Continue reading YA Business Mentorship Network – Secret Garden Cut Flowers and Tiny Farm Foods

YA Business Mentorship Network – Daisy and Dill Red Deer

Posted by Tori Ames on April 02, 2024

Young Agrarians is celebrating the tenth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program in BC and the second year of the program in the Prairies! If you are a new farmer or the next generation to take on your family farm and need support to figure out the business aspects of your farm consider applying for the 2024/2025 cohort. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers/ranchers/producers. Through one-on-one mentorship, peer networks and online workshops new farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Apply for the 2024/2025 program here – applications processed … Continue reading YA Business Mentorship Network – Daisy and Dill Red Deer

YA Business Mentorship Network – Deeply Rooted Market Garden

Posted by Tori Ames on March 26, 2024

Young Agrarians is celebrating the tenth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program in BC and the second year of the program in the Prairies! If you are a new farmer or the next generation to take on your family farm and need support to figure out the business aspects of your farm consider applying for the 2024/2025 cohort. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers/ranchers/producers. Through one-on-one mentorship, peer networks and online workshops new farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Apply for the 2024/2025 program here – applications processed … Continue reading YA Business Mentorship Network – Deeply Rooted Market Garden

YA Business Mentorship Network – QC Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 21, 2024

Young Agrarians is celebrating the tenth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program in BC and the second year of the program in the Prairies! If you are a new farmer or the next generation to take on your family farm and need support to figure out the business aspects of your farm consider applying for the 2024/2025 cohort. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers/ranchers/producers. Through one-on-one mentorship, peer networks and online workshops new farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Apply for the … Continue reading YA Business Mentorship Network – QC Farm

YA Business Mentorship Network – Cluck and Clove Farm

Posted by Tori Ames on March 19, 2024

Young Agrarians is celebrating the tenth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program in BC and the second year of the program in the Prairies! If you are a new farmer or the next generation to take on your family farm and need support to figure out the business aspects of your farm consider applying for the 2024/2025 cohort. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers/ranchers/producers. Through one-on-one mentorship, peer networks and online workshops new farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Apply for the 2024/2025 program here – applications processed … Continue reading YA Business Mentorship Network – Cluck and Clove Farm

YA Business Mentorship Network – Buttercup Sandwich Florals

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 14, 2024

Young Agrarians is celebrating the tenth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program in BC and the second year of the program in the Prairies! If you are a new farmer or the next generation to take on your family farm and need support to figure out the business aspects of your farm consider applying for the 2024/2025 cohort. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers/ranchers/producers. Through one-on-one mentorship, peer networks and online workshops new farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Apply for the … Continue reading YA Business Mentorship Network – Buttercup Sandwich Florals

YA Business Mentorship Network – Tuff Ranching

Posted by Tori Ames on March 12, 2024

Tuff Ranching

Young Agrarians is celebrating the tenth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program in BC and the second year of the program in the Prairies! If you are a new farmer or the next generation to take on your family farm and need support to figure out the business aspects of your farm consider applying for the 2024/2025 cohort. The BMN offers business mentorships to a diverse array of new and young farmers/ranchers/producers. Through one-on-one mentorship, peer networks and online workshops new farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. Apply for the 2024/2025 program here – applications processed … Continue reading YA Business Mentorship Network – Tuff Ranching