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Why bother with a business plan?

The idea of spending time in nature, working with soil, plants, and animals to produce food for people has enormous appeal, especially since most of us are several generations removed from farms. But if you intend to sell any of your bounty, it is important to get past the romantic idyll of farming and do some research to see how feasible your ideas are. Many new and especially small-scale farmers don’t think of their farm as a business. But we often hear from more experienced farmers “If I had treated my farm as a business and made smarter business decisions from the beginning, I would be in better shape now.”

If your farm start-up will require a loan, you will need to have a solid business plan in place. But even if you are self-financing your operation, it’s a really good idea to have at least an outline of a plan, to demonstrate the feasibility of your idea. Even if your farm will not be your primary income source, the sooner you learn to think of it as a business, the more successful you are likely to be.

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