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


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

Posted by Melanie Buffel on April 13, 2021

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. The 2021 Mentee Cohort are hard at work planning for the season ahead and we are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts! Hi everyone, my name is Katie and my farm is called Peas n’ Carrots and I focus on growing classic staple vegetables and chickens for eggs. … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Peas n Carrots Farm

Fork in the Rowed Farms: The Journey of a Small-Scale Market Garden

Posted by Michelle Lam on April 11, 2021

Fork in the Rowed Farms is based on Treaty 7 territory, a traditional gathering place, travelling route and home for many Indigenous Peoples including the Niitsítpiis-stahkoii ᖹᐟᒧᐧᐨᑯᐧ ᓴᐦᖾᐟ (Blackfoot / Niitsítapi ᖹᐟᒧᐧᒣᑯ), Ktunaxa ɁamakɁis, Tsuu T’ina, Michif Piyii (Métis), Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. The land is also known in Canadian geography as Lethbridge, AB. This case study is a part of Young Agrarians Alberta Land Access Guide, a toolkit for farmers seeking land opportunities. Jodi and Moira didn’t want to start farming when they did. They had a five year plan to get into market gardening but things sped up when a … Continue reading Fork in the Rowed Farms: The Journey of a Small-Scale Market Garden

The Northern Table: A Non-Traditional Trade for Land Use

Posted by Michelle Lam on April 07, 2021

The Northern Table is based on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place, travelling route and home for many Indigenous Peoples including the Nehiyawak/Cree, Tsuut’ina, Niitsitapi/Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Haudenosaunee/Iroquois, Dene Suliné, Anishinaabe/Ojibway/Saulteaux, and the Inuk/Inuit. The land is also known in Canadian geography as Edmonton, Alberta. This case study is a part of Young Agrarians Alberta Land Access Guide, a toolkit for farmers seeking land opportunities. While Melanie was working her magic in the kitchen of the YA Winter Mixer in Alix, Alberta, Tom was busy socializing with the wonderful Phil and Heather Seutter of Bretona Farm Co. It … Continue reading The Northern Table: A Non-Traditional Trade for Land Use

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

Posted by Melanie Buffel on April 05, 2021

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. The 2021 Mentee Cohort are hard at work planning for the season ahead and we are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts! My name is Ardeo Mann and my farm is Rake and Radish Farm. I’m being mentored by Arzeena Hamir from Amara Farm. Where do you farm? … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Rake and Radish Farm

KELOWNA, BC: Urban Farm Business for Sale

Posted by Michalina Hunter on April 01, 2021

kelowna farm for sale wise earth farm

Wise Earth Farm in Kelowna, BC is looking to sell their 2 acre urban farm business! We are looking for an immediate sale of a successful, turn key small scale (2 acre) urban farm located in Kelowna for $125,000. We would like to hire the buyer ASAP (individual or a couple) and train them to successfully learn and take over all aspects of the operation by the fall of 2021. It’s a great opportunity for an individual or a couple with some farming experience that are looking to own and run their own farm business. Wage for this season would … Continue reading KELOWNA, BC: Urban Farm Business for Sale

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Vida Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 30, 2021

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. The 2021 Mentee Cohort are hard at work planning for the season ahead and we are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts! My name is Vida Rose, and I farm at Vida Farm. My mentor is Arzeena Hamir.  Where do you farm? I am a small-scale urban farmer … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Vida Farm

Lazy T Farm: A Story of a Generational Farm Transition

Posted by Michelle Lam on March 25, 2021

Lazy T Farm is located on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place, travelling route and home for many Indigenous Peoples including the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Cree, Michif Piyii (Métis), Tsuu T’ina, and Niitsítpiis-stahkoii ᖹᐟᒧᐧᐨᑯᐧ ᓴᐦᖾᐟ (Blackfoot / Niitsítapi ᖹᐟᒧᐧᒣᑯ) nations. The land is also known in Canadian geography as Halkirk, Alberta. This case study is a part of Young Agrarians Alberta Land Access Guide, a toolkit for farmers seeking land opportunities. Brett and Jenna live and farm on Lazy T Farm, which was homesteaded in 1904 by Jenna’s great great grandfather. The farm has since been transitioned through the females … Continue reading Lazy T Farm: A Story of a Generational Farm Transition

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Hoe Down Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 22, 2021

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. The 2021 Mentee Cohort are hard at work planning for the season ahead and we are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts! My name is Kate Rustemeyer and my farm is Hoe Down Farm, in Krestova. My Mentor in the program is Nigel Francis, from Cartwheel Farm in Creston. … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Hoe Down Farm

Beyond the Market: Selling to Retailers

Posted by Jolene Swain on March 18, 2021

Have you outgrown the farmers’ market? Can you produce more than you can sell direct to customers? Are you ready to branch out to retailers? Here are some tips and tricks from retailers and producers to help assess your readiness and provide some considerations when it comes to moving your product beyond the market. Flexible farm business incubators Farmers’ Markets are a great incubator for local producers to fine tune their growing practices while building up a customer base and brand. Direct to customer sales offer a short supply chain and forge valuable relationships with the community. Cutting out the … Continue reading Beyond the Market: Selling to Retailers

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Valley Vitals

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 15, 2021

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. The 2021 Mentee Cohort are hard at work planning for the season ahead and we are thrilled to profile them and celebrate their efforts! Ashley Taylor is the owner/ farmer at Valley Vitals and she is mentored by  Ruth & Mick Wilson at Earthly Pleasures Organic Farm.  Where do you … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Valley Vitals