Farm Business Management

The educational materials listed on this page are about Farm Business Management.

Growing and selling products profitably is critical to an agriculture business, but there are other aspects that are essential to farm business management. While it is difficult to find grants to start a farm, operating or starting a farm require a basic understanding of ag credit, including FSA loans (and other farm loans), and how to obtain farm credit for an agriculture loan. Savvy producers understand agricultural finance and agricultural accounting, and keep a close eye on farm finances. Farmers need to understand agricultural marketing and may need to know demand for a specific crop, such as with apple marketing. Starting a small farm may include finding land through FarmLink. While some new farmers may get started with a farm internship, others may useless formal farming training or more formal agriculture education. Ultimately, farmers also need to learn about farm labor, farm labor laws or farm succession planning at some point in their career. Key practices include marketing management, financial management, community-supported agriculture, risk management, agricultural finance, whole farm planning, farm succession, land access, labor/employment.

SARE’s bulletin Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranchers offers alternatives for producers to market their products through unconventional channels. Building a Sustainable Business aids producers in developing a sustainable and profitable business plan for their enterprise. Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities gives producers options for agricultural loans, grants and technical expertise. Farmers looking to transition to organic will find Organic Transition: A Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers and Food Entrepreneurs useful for business planning.

SARE’s bulletin Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranchers offers alternatives for producers to market their products through unconventional channels. Building a Sustainable Business aids producers in developing a sustainable and profitable business plan for their enterprise. Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities gives producers options for agricultural loans, grants and technical expertise. Farmers looking to transition to organic will find Organic Transition: A Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers and Food Entrepreneurs useful for business planning.

Showing 1-20 of 57 results

Northeast Agritourism Collaboration

This Northeast Agritourism Collaboration website, hosted by the University of Vermont, supports farmers and ranchers interested in entering the agritourism business by sharing best practices and resources available in the Northeast. 

Agricultural Conservation Leasing Guide

This bulletin, authored by Sarah Everhart of the University of Maryland Francis K. Carey School of Law, provides guidance to farmers, landowners and agricultural service providers interested in lease agreements to help implement stewardship planning and conservation practices on leased land. The publication describes many popular conservation programs and considerations for how they might be […]

Reversing the Downward Trend

Farmers across the Northeast have reported decreases in consumer participation at farmers' markets and reduced sales. This toolkit was developed as a result of survey research that looked at consumer perceptions of shopping at farmers' markets. The publication provides information on marketing strategies and services aimed to help farmers' market managers and farmers understand what […]

Evaluation of the Intervale Center Food Hub

From 2007 to 2010, the Intervale Food Hub grew from a research project to a food hub with 21 participating farms, grossing $280,000 in total and returning 70 percent to participating farmers. The food hub provides the infrastructure needed to aggregate produce from local farms and distribute it to the community. With the help of a 2007 […]

Farm to School Training Toolkit

Farm to School in the Northeast is a training toolkit that provides information and resources for extension educators and other community leaders involved in starting a farm to school program. The toolkit is divided into sections representing the key steps needed to create and sustain successful farm to school connections. The curriculum was designed to […]

Guide to Financing Community Supported Farms

Since it is not always easy to obtain loans from traditional financing sources, farmers are exploring alternative funding opportunities to meet their needs. Unconventional financial arrangements, which are new to the agricultural sector, include a variety of mechanisms where financial transactions take place between the community and farmers. Community financing, represented by both monetary and […]

Cheshire Labor and Infrastructure Needs Assessment

In 2011, New Hampshire's Cheshire County Conservation District explored the labor and infrastructure needs for farms in the county to provide farmers, agricultural service providers and community members with the information they need to promote economic viability of agriculture. The needs assessment reports on labor-related barriers faced by farmers in Cheshire County as well as […]

Marketing for Profit Curricula

The following materials are available as part of the Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success online course developed by the Farmers Market Federation of New York for farmers and farm educators as part of the Northeast SARE project, "Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success." Marketing for Profit Tools for Success Handbook (Book/Handbook) Trainer Curriculum Self […]

Resources for Vermont’s Beginning Farmers

Over the next decade and a half, an estimated 70 percent of farms in the United States will transfer out of production or to new owners. To help cultivate the next generation of farmers, University of Vermont researchers surveyed new and beginning farmers on their informational needs to help them build Vermont’s Beginning Farmers website. Now, […]

Case Studies on Setting Up Microloans

According to a study conducted by The Carrot Project, 25 percent of farmers that request financing are denied access to credit needed for start-up and expansion costs. In 2009 and 2010, the Massachusetts-based nonprofit set up collaborative microloan programs in Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont. They facilitated 15 loans, with a median loan size of $12,300, […]

Sunflower Production for On-Farm Energy

The following production guides, cost calculator and research reports are on sunflower production, including weed management. They were developed as part of a multi-year research project by University of Vermont Extension on growing sunflowers and canola for on-farm energy. Find research reports on canola here. Production guides Northeast Oilseed Production Manual.pdf 10.18 MB VT Oilseed […]

Expanding Winter Harvest and Sales for New England Vegetable Crops

The Winter Production, Storage and Sales website is maintained through a partnership of the UMass Extension Vegetable Program, the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and two local food organizations, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) in western MA and Seacoast Eat Local (SEL) in eastern NH. This project addresses the need for expanding winter […]

High Tunnel Winter Cropping Systems

A 40-minute presentation by Lewis Jett, West Virginia Extension Service, on the use of high tunnels for winter crop production. Download separate audio and slideshow files:Download audio (MP3, 15MB) Download slideshow (PDF, 10MB)

Getting Work Done Series

The legal classification of farm workers has many implications, including whether farmers must pay minimum wage, carry workers’ compensation, withhold and pay taxes, and more. A series of guides--one for each state in New England--are designed to help farmers better understand the legal definitions and criteria for classifying their workers. The guides walk readers through […]

New Jersey Ethnic Demographics Map for Marketing Ethnic Produce

With funding from Northeast SARE, Rutgers University State SARE staff and their team worked to develop this interactive map to help inform ethnic crop production. The map couples demographic information of ethnic populations with crops that can be grown in New Jersey to market to specific geographical areas. The map makes use of publicly available […]

Problem Solving and Innovation on the Farm

This manual is designed to help farmers improve operations by combining problem-solving and experimentation with day-to-day farm management. The step-by-step process outlined is based on the know-how of experienced farmers who have developed innovative approaches for adapting their farms to changes. By explaining the techniques these farmer innovators use, the manual provides information on how […]

Good Food Farmers Network Guide

The guide, written by farmer Henry Corsun of Dog Wood Farm in Old Chatham NY, documents the work to develop Good Food Farmers Network as a replicable model of farmer-owned joint marketing and sales. The model was designed to require little start-up capital and utilizes nationally available resources to make it more readily available to […]

A Guide to Sharing Farm Equipment

Hudson Valley New York farmer Faith Gilbert of Letterbox Farm Collective wrote this guide for farmers, service providers, cooperators, and organizers of shared equipment pools. The guide covers an array of practical concerns for equipment sharing. Contents include case studies, a review of different ownership and management arrangements, financial considerations, annotated budgets, sample fee structures, […]