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How can I start to put together estimates of potential costs and revenue?

Good question! It’s not easy, but you probably already know that. We’ve listed some of the best enterprise budgets we (or other people) have collected online, along with advice on estimating costs and revenue, within the Choosing an Enterprise tutorial. The final step of deciding what to grow is to ask the question, but Does … Read More

What types of insurance should I have?

Please read the Farm Risk Management and Farm Insurance fact sheets in the Guide to Farming in NY.

What can I do to achieve or improve profitability?

Visit the Improving Profitability Tutorial for exercises and information to help you work toward a level of profitability that is sustainable for you.

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 … Read More

Is there a “business plan lite” that I can use?

Yes, many successful farmers end up with several business plans. The “lite” version is often used internally, while a more comprehensive plan with visual appeal might be used externally for potential lenders. Completing the worksheets in each of the tutorials under Plan Your Farm will get you a “lite” business plan, with: vision, mission, goals, … Read More

I’d like to start a CSA. How do I know how much land I need and how much to plant for the number of shares I want to offer?

Rachel Schneider at Hawthorne Valley Farm provides the following estimate of land needed for new CSA farmers. This is intended only as a starting point. You may find these to be too high or low for your farm, but your experience and advice from nearby farmers will help you get more refined over time: 0.5 … Read More

I’m not ready to write a business plan yet. What do you recommend for me?

If you’re not ready to write a formal business plan, that’s fine. The worksheets sprinkled throughout the tutorials on the Plan Your Farm will help you think through most of the critical topics related to planning your new enterprise. If you are still trying to decide whether farming is definitely a good fit for you, … Read More

What business structure should I choose?

How do you want to organize your business? Depending on how many people are involved in your operation and what your goals are, this question may take some time to answer. You need to talk to key individuals who are or will be in the business to get their input. Advisors should be consulted to … Read More