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:

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

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 some of these CSA Management & Direct Sales tools and more read Chris Bodner’s blog 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 ($)

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 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.

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!

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!

——

BUSINESS BLOG


B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Glade Organics

Posted by Melanie Buffel on January 20, 2020

Mira in harvest mode.

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 develops the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. We love to profile our program participants and celebrate their efforts! Glade Organics is owned and operated by Mira Grbich and Ross Petrie in Glade near Nelson, BC. In the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship 2019 program we were supported by Seann Dory from Salt and Harrow Farm. What were your goals for this season and how did you work to … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Glade Organics

FEB 22 & 23: GRANDE PRAIRIE, AB – YA Peace Country Winter Mixer

Posted by Lilli Klamke on January 15, 2020

teaserFBd1a

The third annual 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 brand your farm story. Meet with other farmers and share your story, your ideas, struggles, and successes. Find mentors and supporters, engage in new opportunities and get to know your farming companions in the Peace Country. When: Saturday, February 22 – Sunday, February 23, 2020 Where:  Camp Tamarack, Grande Prairie. Follow Highway … Continue reading FEB 22 & 23: GRANDE PRAIRIE, AB – YA Peace Country Winter Mixer

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Bees Please

Posted by Melanie Buffel on January 02, 2020

Kate and her husband at Bees Please Farms.

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 develops the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. We love to profile our program participants and celebrate their efforts! Bees Please Farms is owned and operated by Kate Fraser. This year with the Young Agrarians mentorship program I teamed with Liam and Deb from Six Legs Good, and Seann Dory from Salt & Harrow. What were your goals for this season and how did you work to achieve … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Bees Please

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Peninsula Kiwis Update

Posted by Melanie Buffel on December 18, 2019

Delicious kiwi crop!

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 develops 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 Stuart Basset and I operate Peninsula Kiwi in the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island. My Mentor is Chris Bodnar from Glorious Organics. What were your goals for this season and how did you work to achieve those? My goals were to improve production and … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Peninsula Kiwis Update

Opportunity: It’s time for Mentors to Apply for Funding Internships and Apprenticeships

Posted by Kolby Peterson on December 14, 2019

20190608_162502(1)

Are you a farmer looking to hire and mentor a young, new, or aspiring farmer? Youth Employment and Skills Program  The Youth Employment and Skills Program is providing funding in 2020 for the creation of agricultural internships to youth and youth facing barriers. This is a program of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and employers across the agriculture sector may apply for funding to hire Canadians, age 15 to 30. We reached out to inquire about their upcoming funding. “We plan to have a short intake starting Jan 13, 2020 at 10:00 am EST for the $864,000 and then another in … Continue reading Opportunity: It’s time for Mentors to Apply for Funding Internships and Apprenticeships

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Rad-ish Farms

Posted by Melanie Buffel on November 12, 2019

Katie Ralphs with her Mentor DeLisa Lewis.

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 develops the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. We love to profile our program participants and celebrate their efforts! Applications now open for the 2019/2020 season. APPLY NOW! Deadline extended to Monday, November 18th, 2019 – Program Application here! What is your name, where do you farm, and who are your mentors? My name is Katie Ralphs from Rad-ish Farm in  Duncan, BC (unceded Cowichan Territory). I am supported by … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Rad-ish Farms

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Elderberry Grove

Posted by Melanie Buffel on November 04, 2019

Louise and Jed, Elderberry Grove 2019

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 develops the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. We love to profile our program participants and celebrate their efforts! Applications now open for the 2019/2020 season. APPLY NOW! Deadline extended to Monday, November 18th, 2019 – Program Application here! What is your name, where do you farm, and who are your mentors? Our names are Louise Lecouffe and Jed Wiebe and we operate Elderberry Grove. We farm in the Shuswap … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Elderberry Grove

GRANT: Young Edmonton Grant

Posted by Alex on October 30, 2019

YEG+ECF

Young Edmonton Grant Are you a youth living in the Edmonton area and have a great idea for a farming-related event? Young Edmonton Grants (YEG) may be a great way to do that! The YEG program gives funding for projects initiated, led, and organized by young Edmonton and area residents. These grants range from $500-$3,000 and are available for residents between the ages of 13 and 24. The grant is intended to support young residents who partner with a registered charity to create their own projects or initiatives. Find out more at www.ecfoundation.org/yeg Application Details Application deadlines are three times a year, February 15 … Continue reading GRANT: Young Edmonton Grant

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Blackwater Creek Orchard

Posted by Melanie Buffel on October 29, 2019

Blackwater Creek Orchard Farm Stand

Young Agrarians is going into 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 develops the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. We love to profile our program participants and celebrate their efforts! Applications now open for the 2019/2020 season. APPLY NOW! Deadline extended to Monday, November 18th, 2019 – Program Application here! What is your name, where do you farm, and who are your mentors? Our names are Riley Peterson and Olivia Kester and we operate Blackwater Creek Orchard in Devine, … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Blackwater Creek Orchard

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Bees Please Farms

Posted by Melanie Buffel on October 21, 2019

Kate and a handsome fella.

What is your name, where do you farm, and who are your mentors? My name is Kate Fraser and I run Bees Please Farms in and around Victoria, BC. My business mentor is Seann Dory from Salt and Harrow Farm in Parksville, and my production mentors are Deb and Liam at Six Legs Good Apiaries in East Vancouver. What do you farm? I rent out bees and chickens around the lower island! For the bees, it is a way for people to support bees without having to learn to be a beekeeper. For the chickens it is a way for people to … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Bees Please Farms