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 | 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 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!

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.

——

BUSINESS BLOG


B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Brass Bell Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 30, 2020

cow face

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 Amber Rowse-Robinson from Brass Bell Farm and my Mentor is Blake Hall from Prairie Gold Meats in Alberta.  Where do you farm? I farm in Sooke, BC.  What do you farm? I raise and sell heritage breed grass-fed beef and pastured chicken. What inspired you … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Brass Bell Farm

Kootenay Farm Directory: Spring 2020

Posted by Hailey Troock on March 24, 2020

It’s March 2020 and in the face of a global health crisis, we’re experiencing some supply chain disruptions and an increased local demand for healthy food. It’s more important than ever to support your local farmers! Food producers have had to quickly pivot their business models and sales channels to adapt to the evolving market and regulatory conditions. If you are located in southeastern BC and are looking for ways to connect directly with farmers and food producers in your area, consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for weekly boxes, purchasing online for delivery, pick-up or from your local Farmers’ Markets, … Continue reading Kootenay Farm Directory: Spring 2020

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Denman Island Heritage Apples

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 23, 2020

11 of the 130 varieties grown here

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 Kate Janeway from Denman Island Heritage Apples and my Mentors are Chris Bodnar from Close to Home Organics and Kent Mullinex, Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at Kwatlan Polytechnic University.  Where do you farm? I farm on Denman Island, one of the … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Denman Island Heritage Apples

Now’s the time to support your local farmers!

Posted by Michalina Hunter on March 19, 2020

9205419904_40a0784f2b_z

The Young Agrarians team has been brainstorming ways we can support farmers during these challenging times, and ensure our communities have access to safe and nutritious food. Supporting our local food systems is more important than ever. Small farms will have a much harder time surviving the economic slowdown than bigger businesses. As restaurants and other markets close, some farmers are experiencing challenges getting their produce to consumers.  Fortunately, farmers are a creative bunch, and many are restructuring their sales channels to offer online ordering and contactless pickup and delivery to optimize safety and make sure their food gets to eaters. We’re all in this together, … Continue reading Now’s the time to support your local farmers!

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Late Bloomers Flower Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 16, 2020

Elly farmer gothic

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 Elly Rakhmetouline and I own and run Late Bloomers Flower Farm.  I’ve been lucky enough to have two mentors this season; a business one and a production one. The incredibly smart, persistent and helpful Kristen Nammour has been helping me whip the business … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Late Bloomers Flower Farm

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Linden Lane Farms

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 09, 2020

Matthew Carr at Linden Lane 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 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 is Seann Dory from Salt and Harrow Farm.  Where do you farm? The farm is located in Krestova, BC (Between Nelson & Castlegar).  What do you farm? We mainly farm mixed vegetables and small fruits on … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Linden Lane Farms

Buy from SPUD.ca in March & Support Women Farmers!

Posted by Michalina Hunter on March 08, 2020

kay rollans, young agrarians, womens day, spud.ca, spud

Gender Equality For Food Sustainability In celebration of all the hard-working women in the food system, SPUD.ca is donating 25% of all sales from eight highlighted women-led vendors to Young Agrarians! Thank you SPUD.ca! Buy from any of their women-owned vendors this month and a portion of your purchase will support aspiring women farmers in BC and Alberta. Get groceries, grow a farmer! >> Shop SPUD’s Women-Owned Businesses << Funds raised will go towards the Young Agrarians B.C. Business Mentorship Network, and the Alberta Apprenticeship Program, which pair up new and seasoned farmers to cultivate skills for running ecologically sustainable and financially viable businesses. Get … Continue reading Buy from SPUD.ca in March & Support Women Farmers!

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Still Wild Gardens and Design

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 02, 2020

dahlias

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! One of two flower farms in this year’s cohort is Still Wild Gardens and Design on Vancouver Island with Mentors Kristen Nammour from Quadra Island and Amie Bengtson from Back Country Blooms in Lumby, BC.  Where do you farm? On leased land in Saanich, Vancouver Island, BC.  What do you … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Still Wild Gardens and Design

B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Sweet Acres Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on February 24, 2020

Harvest

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 Ariella Falkowski from  Sweet Acres Farm, and my Mentor is Niki Strutynski at Tatlo Road Farm.  Where do you farm? On leased land at Lohbrunner Community Farm, in Langford, BC  What do you farm? Mixed vegetables and culinary herbs What inspired you to … Continue reading B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Sweet Acres Farm

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

Posted by Lilli Klamke on February 18, 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