Marketing & Business Management
This section contains a collection of print and internet resources selected to help new and established farmers develop or improve a business plan, finances, and labor management strategies.
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2013 Midwest CSA Conference Resources & Materials
Tons of great resources! See the “Business and Financial Management” section for the “CSA Business Chronologies” and “CSA Farm Finances Panels.”
Building a Sustainable Business
An excellent SARE publication which examines how farm families set goals, research processing alternatives, determine potential markets, and evaluate financing options. Includes sample and blank worksheets. Freely available as a PDF or $17.00 for a print version. An abbreviated Spanish version is available here.
ATTRA Business Planning
The ever-useful ATTRA has several publications on business planning and management for farm enterprises.
Preparing a Business Plan: A Guide for Agricultural Producers
A thorough collection of publications from the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture covering planning your business structure, finances, marketing, labor, and production. Different country, same principles.
USDA Guide to Starting a Small Business
An enormous and comprehensive list of government and third-party publications regarding business start-up, planning, and management.
UMN Ag Plan
Free, online business planning software for farms and agricultural businesses from the University of Minnesota.
Building a Plan for Your Farm
A basic overview of developing a business plan.
USDA Farm Business Plan Worksheets
Two worksheets to help develop a business plan. The first worksheet is for compiling business plan information: Worksheet 1. The second worksheet focuses on projected income/expenses over time: Worksheet 2
Labor Management in Agriculture
An excellent, 260-page publication available as a free PDF from the University of California. It covers a broad array of topics, including hiring, worker education, performance evaluation, wages, communicating effectively, and managing conflicts.
Positive Practices in Farm Labor Management
A brochure from ATTRA highlighting a broad range of positive labor practices—including many that are no-cost or low-cost—that can help you to improve worker satisfaction and retention on your farm. This handbook is based upon “Best Labor Practices on 12 California Farms: Toward a More Sustainable Food System,” published by the California Institute for Rural Studies, which can be viewed here.
CSA Guide to Accepting SNAP / EBT
PDF guide and a video containing info for farmers nationwide about accepting SNAP / EBT.
CSA Michigan and Michigan State cooperated to produce a good practical overview of what is involved in starting and succeeding in running a CSA farm. Contains information on a variety of issues relating to CSA’s. Much of their text is derived from the experience of CSA farmers.
Planning for a Successful CSA Season
A series of questions and ideas every CSA farmer should consider when planning for the season. Courtesy of Harmony Valley Farm, part of the Coalitions ongoing grower education programs.
What goes in the Box
These are handouts from a MACSAC training session. Detailed instructions are given for: determining share size, delivery seasons for different types of shares, contents of a box, goals for seasonal contents of CSA boxes, portion sizes, records and planning, and surveys of members. Here is a list of box contents for Harmony Valley Farm from 2009
Cooperative CSA Manual
This publication explores the benefits and challenges of operating a cooperative CSA.
Marketing Your Farm
This presentation contains sample brochures and a powerpoint presentation on basic principles for marketing your farm.
Ongoing Member Communication
Tricia Bross of Luna Circle Farm led this presentation which discusses a different ways to stay in touch with your CSA members. Methods discussed include brochures, newsletters, websites, and surveys.
REAP food group led this presentation on selling directly to food service and restaurants. Topics covered include invoices, developing sales, samples, and a detailed report that covers common barriers to sales and the crops with the most potential for this market.
- Approaching food services
- Direct Sales to Restaurants
- Developing restaurant sales
- Are you restaurant ready?
- Samples to potential buyers
- Wholesale farmer profiles
- The Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing. Neil Hamilton. 1999.
The author is a successful farmer, attorney and professor of agricultural law. This comprehensive guide is essential for anyone considering direct farm marketing. Hamilton covers liability, regulations, labor law, processed foods, and meat marketing issues in layman’s terms.
- The New Farmers’ Market. Vance Corum, Marcie Rosenzweig, and Eric Gibson. 2001
- The Organic Farmers’ Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff and Making a Profit. Richard Wiswall. 2009
- You Can Farm, The Entrepreneurs Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise. Joel Salatin. 2008
Family Friendly Farming. Joel Salatin. 2001