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Undoubtedly, when beginning farmers get started, it’s their passion for feeding the world good food and taking care of the land that drives their ventures.However, farming is a tough business, and without a solid business plan, it can be difficult for a first-time farmer to make ends meet.If that beginning farmer chooses to get a four-year college degree, add another ,000 to 0,000. Available credit is tightening, with ag lenders increasing scrutiny of farm balance sheets and their own lending policies.
Preparing a business plan can feel a bid tedious, especially if you don’t spend much time typing on a computer.
Great news, though, is business plans tend to follow a fairly common format, and there are numerous templates that can be adapted for your own use.
As farms grow larger, more hired labor – often skilled labor – is needed, adding attention to recruitment and retention to the mix.
Meeting a farm’s labor needs begins with hiring the right person.
“Even if you never show your business plan to anyone else, it will be very valuable in helping you think your farm business through from every angle.” The best plans are those that are constantly revisited, revised, and that incorporate changes in the business environment or marketplace as they occur.
In other words, don’t write a plan only to shelve it with the receipts for chicken feed.Here you will find insight into some of the key issues about the business end of farming, from marketing strategies to personnel management and passing the operation to the next generation. Weather, market fluctuations, family, and production issues all have the potential to put a kink in even the best-laid plans.That’s where having a whole farm plan that outlines the farm’s mission and objectives comes in.If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, so the saying goes.Regardless of the size of your farm when starting out, whether operating a small truck farm that sells produce at a weekly farmers’ market or a farm with multiple enterprises that support your entire family plus some part-time employees, getting a plan down on paper is essential to your success.The process starts with assessing where the business is headed and the best path to get there.Survey your needs, and what employee traits will be beneficial, then look at what you are willing to pay.Depending on the source, business plans can be structured in different ways, but each seeks to accurately depict what your business is all about in both words and financial numbers.“A good business-planning process will put you through the paces of assessing the realities: exploring markets, looking at your assets, and thinking about what you can realistically do with your time and skills,” says Jody Padgham, editor of (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Ed Service, 2012).The most important aspect can often be identifying problems early, and in all farming enterprises, from the traditional to the experimental, farmers need to know the costs of production, overhead, and family living expenses, and plan accordingly.With a solid business plan and an open mind to new opportunity and problem solving, farm operators can weather the storms of a volatile ag industry, allowing multiple generations to enjoy rural life and the satisfaction that comes from feeding the world and a job well done.