Start Your Own Farm Business

With more and more consumers interested in natural, organic products, there’s never been a better time to make your initial foray into a local foods venture.

| July 16, 2010

The following is an excerpt from The Profitable Hobby Farm by Sarah Beth Aubrey (Wiley Publishing, 2010). Packed with tips not only from an expert author but from the experiences of other small-scale farmers, The Profitable Hobby Farm offers a blueprint for building a sustainable local foods business, from finding financial assistance to surviving your first year in business. This excerpt is from Chapter 2, “From Idea to Inventory: Planning and Assessing the Market.” 

When I began Aubrey’s Natural Meats in 2003, I started with a 30-page business plan. It made sense. First, as a writer, being verbose was no problem for me, and planning made me feel like I was doing something. Second, I wanted to borrow money from a local bank and knew they’d want to see projections for returns and cash flow. Yet, though I strongly advocate having a solid plan, newbie ruralistas are not likely to write up a formal document.

The structure and length of your business plan will vary widely depending on what you plan to do, but the basic components are as follows.

Mission statement: This can be one sentence or one paragraph. It’s a formal statement that defines who and what you want to be and your objectives or goals.

Company profile: The company profile describes everything from the name and address to the legal designation (corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship, etc.). For location, it describes the surroundings and the area or setting of the business. It lists who owns what percentage of the company and the roles and responsibilities of the participants. The profile also provides more detail on what the company does.

Product description: In this section, which can be as brief or as detailed as necessary, you define and describe your product. Strong plans also detail quantities expected to be produced and timelines for production, as well as product pricing.

7/4/2012 8:46:12 AM

this is really great, thanks. i am really planning to start a farm biz. so am going to bother you with questions for a while.

Rick Kennerly
7/21/2010 10:57:43 AM

Sorry, no Kindle Ed., no sale. I don't buy DTBs anymore (DTB = Dead Tree Books).

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