Learn how to successfully plan for your food business. In-depth information on business-related topics, including resources for beginning farmers, will help you improve your new or existing business plans.

Information for Beginning Farmers

Cover of guidebook for Hawaii farmers featuring different Hawaiian landscape pictures at the top.

A Guide for Hawai’i’s Farmers

This guide was developed to assist new farmers in tropical small-island settings.Download File (422.53 kB)

guide on how to begin your small farm dream

How to Begin Your Small Farm Dream

This plain language guide is for people who want to start a small farm. It covers skills you need to start a small farm; risks and rewards of farm ownership; financial resources; creating a business plan; and marketing.Download File (943.95 kB)

how-to guide for aspiring urban micro-agricultural entrepreneurs

How-to-Guide for Aspiring Urban Micro-Agricultural Entrepreneurs

Created for city residents who want to increase their access to fresh, healthy and affordable food. Download File (19.80 MB)

Internship Curriculum for Food Farmers in the North Central Region

With support from an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant, Betrand Farm developed 24 educational PowerPoint modules that can serve as an internship curriculum for food farmers in the North Central region.Download File (26.78 MB)

Screenshot of UVM Beginning Farmers Website

Resources for Vermont's Beginning Farmers

This website provides new and beginning farmers in Vermont with information to help them succeed.

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Beginning Farmers (a collection of ATTRA resources)

BeginningFarmers.org (a compilation of online information resources)

New Farmers(a one-stop shop of information on USDA programs)

Capital and Finance

Sustainable Funding Guide Cover

Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities

This guide lists funding opportunities offered by federal programs, and is indispensable for anyone seeking government help to foster their innovative enterprise in forestry and agriculture. Download File (3.13 MB)

download case studies on setting up microloans in pdf format

Case Studies on Setting Up Microloans

Information for lenders financing new and expanding farm businesses with limited access to capital.Download File (865.85 kB)

Applying for an FSA Loan with three pictures of farmers and directions below

Financing the Farm: Applying for an FSA Loan

This plain language guide has information on the types of FSA loans available, and includes instructions for applying and developing a business plan.Download File (1.26 MB)

Download the financing the community supported farm guide in PDF fromat

Guide to Financing Community Supported Farms

This guide outlines alternative, local funding sources that farmers can use to finance their farm business,Download File (3.65 MB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Farm Financial Planning (practical information and links to resources, from the Center for Rural Affairs)

Land Access and Suitability

Farmland Connections Title page with pictures of farms and trackers lining the top and bottom

Farmland ConneCTions

A guide for towns, institutions, and land trusts using or leasing farmland.Download File (1.10 MB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Finding Land to Farm: Six Ways to Secure Farmland (an ATTRA publication)

State, regional and national land linking programs (a list maintained by the Center for Rural Affairs)

Tools for Finding and Assessing Farmland (New Entry Sustainable Farming Project webinar)

Return to top

Planning Your Local Food Business

A guide to developing a business plan for farms and rural businesses.

Building a Sustainable Business

Bringing the business planning process alive, Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses helps today's alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises. Incluye una versión abreviada en español.Download File (3.06 MB)

Cornell University’s Anu Rangarajan in a vegetable crop

National Continuing Education Program

This program is designed for Cooperative Extension and Natural Resource Conservation Service personnel, and is also open to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural professionals nationwide. It emphasizes core concepts and a basic understanding of sustainable agriculture, its goals and its relevance to every farming and ranching operation—large or small.

The core of the national continuing education program is a series of three online courses. Take them now.

Food for Profit On-line Training Course

Training for future entrepreneurs on planning a feasible, marketable and profitable food business.

managing risks on the small farm guide

Managing Risks on the Small Farm

This plain language guide explains the five types of risk—production, marketing, worker, legal and financial—and provides worksheets.Download File (1.31 MB)

Cover image of the Organic Transition Planner

Organic Transition

The profit potential of transitioning to organic production—along with other rewards—has farmers, ranchers and food business owners across the country considering the switch. But successfully managing your business through the multi-year transition process requires careful planning. Use Organic Transition: A Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers and Food Entrepreneurs to develop an actionable business transition plan that is suitable for yourself, your management team or a lender.Download File (3.59 MB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Business Planning and Management (a collection of ATTRA publications)

Farm Business and Financial Planning Resources (templates and external resources from The Carrot Project)

Farm Commons webinars (resources to help farmers navigate legal issues)

Urban Farm Business Plan Handbook (US Environmental Protection Agency)