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 Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets 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.
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America's Heartland "Leaders in Sustainable Agriculture" Now Available on YouTube
SARE recently partnered with PBS KVIE to produce an episode of RFD-TV's America's Heartland featuring four farmers describing their commitment to sustainability, how they plan to overcome modern farming challenges, and how SARE has impacted their farming and ranching practices. The full 24-minute episode titled Leaders in Sustainable Agriculture is now available at https://www.sare.org/resources/leaders-in-sustainable-agriculture/. Watch: Videos featuring each […]
RFD-TV Episode to Highlight Sustainable Innovations
Tune in to RFD-TV on March 29 at 5:30pm EDT for the premiere of a new “America’s Heartland” episode showcasing farmers and ranchers from across the country who are leaders in sustainability. SARE partnered with PBS KVIE to produce this episode, which features farmers describing their commitment to sustainability, how they plan to meet farming […]
Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets
SARE’s newest bulletin, Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets, provides a variety of strategies and tools to help owners of small- to mid-scale operations branch out into wholesale markets.
Transitioning to Organic Production
Transitioning to Organic Production lays out many promising conversion strategies, covering typical organic farming production practices, innovative marketing ideas and federal standards for certified organic crop production.
The Value of Farming with Community
Shakera and Juan Raygoza talk about why their bonds with local consumers, families, schools, agricultural educators and other farmers are beneficial for both them and for the community where they live and farm. They operate Terra Preta Farm on 15 acres in Edinburg, Texas, where they grow organic radishes for wholesale markets and run a […]
Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets
For direct market farmers, expanding your operation to capture local and regional wholesale markets can represent an opportunity. But such a shift brings with it many changes to how you run your farm because the expectations that wholesale buyers have is much different than your direct market customers. Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale […]
Farmer-Focused Innovations Funded by SARE
“Institutionalized food is the forgotten part of the food revolution,” says Ann Swanson, talking about the lack of fresh produce available from local institutions in her community of Champaign–Urbana, IL. Inspired, Swanson used a SARE Farmer/Rancher grant to create new opportunities for local farmers, launch a series of educational classes and expand institutional capacity to […]
Understanding and Measuring Social Sustainability
This SARE brief defines social sustainability and illustrates how it can be addressed more clearly in SARE projects. Sample projects and quality of life indicators are provided to help grant-seekers and reviewers think broadly about understanding, measuring and describing the social impacts of research and education projects.
2021–2022 Report from the Field
Report from the Field features 12 stories from around the country of recent SARE grantees who are finding new ways to improve the sustainability of U.S. agriculture. The report also summarizes our total investment in research and education projects since 1988.
SARE Video Dives into the Economics of Sustainable Agriculture
While most agricultural profit models focus on maximizing yields in the short term, sustainable strategies prioritize profitable returns over the long term. SARE’s "The Economics of Sustainable Agriculture" animation describes how practices such as crop rotation and reduced tillage can improve an operation's bottom line sustainably. The newest episode in SARE’s “What is Sustainable Agriculture?” series provides […]
New "Conservation Tillage and Soil Health" Video from SARE
The newest episode of SARE’s “What is Sustainable Agriculture?” animation series illustrates how many producers are retiring conventional tillage equipment and turning to conservation tillage to improve soil health and productivity. “Conservation Tillage and Soil Health” provides a short, animated outline of the basic principles of conservation tillage that can be used to introduce or […]
Plain Language Guides for New and Under-Served Producers
These plain language guides cover topics such as farm financing, accessing government programs, harvest practices and marketing. The plain language format makes this material accessible to beginning farmers, immigrants and other under-served audiences. They were produced by New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.
Videos from the Field
SARE, in partnership with Cooking Up A Story, has produced a series of how-to videos showcasing production and marketing practices used by some of the nation’s most successful sustainable farmers and ranchers.
Cover Crop Economics
Cover crops can build soil health, control weeds, conserve moisture, provide grazing opportunities and more. But when do they start to pay for themselves? This analysis looks at the economics behind different management scenarios to determine if cover crops are likely to improve profitability in one, three or five years of use in corn and soybean rotations.
New Release: Cultivating Climate Resilience
Texas ranchers Gary and Sue Price began noticing disruptive changes in the weather about 10 years ago, with dry periods getting drier and hot periods getting hotter. So they began making management decisions that would help their ranch adapt. As a result, when the crippling drought of 2011–2012 arrived, they were able to get by. […]
Farmers' Guide to Business Structures
Farmers’ Guide to Business Structures describes the fundamentals of sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited liability companies and C, S and B corporations in straightforward language, to help you choose the best entity for your operation. Selecting the right business entity for your farm is like building the foundation of a house.
30 Years of SARE: Our Farms, Our Future
30 Years of SARE: Our Farms, Our Future tells the story of thousands of men and women who have led SARE and received SARE grants. They have one objective in common: making American agriculture stronger, more sustainable and better equipped to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.
Bringing Independent Farmers into the Marketplace
Small- and mid-sized farms are increasingly turning to supermarkets as a means to earn more for their products and to participate in local economies. In this video, Diana Endicott discusses how she decided to take this route 15 years ago when it was less typical, and how her efforts have resulted in a 100-member co-op today that sells to 30 stores in the Kansas City area.
Building a Local Food Movement
Over the last few decades, agriculture in western North Carolina has transformed from a reliance on tobacco to a diversified, self-sustaining industry intertwined with local communities and economies. In this video, learn how one organization has worked alongside local farmers and communities to support this transformation.
Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches
This bulletin outlines the new challenges that changing weather patterns pose in agriculture throughout the United States, and what you can do to make your farm more resilient.