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

Down in the Dirt Farm – Farm Sample Business Plan 

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

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. 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.

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.

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!

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


B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Vida Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on November 30, 2021

Young Agrarians is celebrating the eighth 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. The 2021 Mentee Cohort are wrapping up their growing season and reflecting back on the lessons of the year.  We are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts as we begin the match process with our new cohort of farmers for the BMN 2022 program. For more information please … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Vida Farm

Resources for Farmers Affected by BC Floods

Posted by Michalina Hunter on November 24, 2021

Resources for Farmers Affected by BC Floods

We are devastated about the recent flooding in southern BC. Our hearts go out to all the farmers affected by flooding, and their families, animals, and communities. This post contains resources for farmers, as well as options for those wishing to support with recovery efforts. Resources for Farmers Affected By BC Floods: Link to Ministry’s website Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries response to flooding – Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca)  at this site you will see PDF Mental Health Resources for Agriculture Sector Link to AgSafe mental wellness resources for producers and employers; and PDF AgSafe’s new Mental Wellness Resource/App, called Avail (Handbook). PDF Health … Continue reading Resources for Farmers Affected by BC Floods

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Peas n’ Carrots Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on November 22, 2021

Young Agrarians is celebrating the eighth 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. The 2021 Mentee Cohort are wrapping up their growing season and reflecting back on the lessons of the year.  We are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts as we recruit a new cohort of farmers for our BMN 2022 program. For more information and to apply please see … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Peas n’ Carrots Farm

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Rake and Radish Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on November 18, 2021

Young Agrarians is celebrating the eighth 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. The 2021 Mentee Cohort are wrapping up their growing season and reflecting back on the lessons of the year.  We are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts as we recruit a new cohort of farmers for our BMN 2022 program. For more information and to apply please see … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Rake and Radish Farm

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Farmer Cam’s Foods

Posted by Melanie Buffel on November 08, 2021

Young Agrarians is celebrating the eighth 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. The 2021 Mentee Cohort are wrapping up their growing season and reflecting back on the lessons of the year.  We are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts as we recruit a new cohort of farmers for our BMN 2022 program. For more information and to apply please see … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Farmer Cam’s Foods

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Flora and Fungi Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on October 25, 2021

Young Agrarians is celebrating the eighth 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. The 2021 Mentee Cohort are wrapping up their growing season and reflecting back on the lessons of the year.  We are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts as we recruit a new cohort of farmers for our BMN 2022 program. For more information and to apply please see … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Flora and Fungi Farm

#RISINGYOUTH community service grants

Posted by Michalina Hunter on October 20, 2021

Do you have a simple project idea to support your community? #RisingYouth is a program led by TakingITGlobal that empowers young people aged 15 to 30 across Canada to give back to their community through grants of $250, $750, and $1,500. THEY HAVE THREE LEVELS OF GRANTS AVAILABLE: Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis. You’ll hear from them within 30 days of applying! They are currently prioritizing grant applications that respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic. All grantees and projects must comply with applicable public health guidelines in their province or territory. Please postpone applications for any projects involving in-person … Continue reading #RISINGYOUTH community service grants

2021/22 BC BUSINESS MENTORSHIP NETWORK – APPLY!

Posted by Melanie Buffel on October 05, 2021

New Farmers Apply for Farm Business Support through Young Agrarians Mentorship Network

Ready to Grow Your Farm Business? 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? Young Agrarians is excited to offer the eighth season (woohoo!) of the BC Business Mentorship Network! This program pairs new and seasoned farmers together to cultivate the skills for running ecologically sustainable and financially viable businesses. Mentors support you to dig into the business of farming and lay the groundwork for your farm’s long term viability.  What You Get: As a participant in this program you will receive … Continue reading 2021/22 BC BUSINESS MENTORSHIP NETWORK – APPLY!

Growing Change Program

Posted by Michalina Hunter on September 14, 2021

We’re thrilled to be partnering with Growers and Co. to provide small-scale regenerative farmers with equipment, knowledge and financial support so they can better feed their communities and provide access to healthy, locally-grown food through the Growing Change Program.  True change comes from farmer-led, community-based, and boots-on-the-ground innovators. We are here to support the problem-solvers and change-makers working to grow food for their communities. How the Growing Change Program works A portion of each purchase from Growers and Co. goes towards the program, which focusses on long term solutions to create positive impacts on farmers, their communities and the planet. … Continue reading Growing Change Program

Business Bootcamp Speakers

Posted by Alex on August 29, 2021

The Business Bootcamp for New Farmers features a carefully selected team of exceptional speakers that will help you get your farm business off the ground! Learn from these amazing first-generation farmers and business experts. Note that all these speakers have contributed content to the Business Bootcamp but some may not be present during the live sessions due to scheduling conflicts.  Shelby Montgomery was born and raised in Mohkinstsis, on Treaty 7 land in the settler-city of Calgary. By day, she works for a food access charity. In her remaining time, she is dedicated to building and supporting grassroots food justice … Continue reading Business Bootcamp Speakers