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Farm Business Planning Resources

The Cheshire County Conservation District, the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, and National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) partnered in 2021, to host a free 7-week-long business planning course for specialty crop producers in New Hampshire. Resources for business planning are available below! This course will be offered in future years as well, learn more about the course and future application cycles, here!

Inside Greenhouse

Basic Accounting Guidance for Beginning Farmers


Good bookkeeping is critical to financial well-being for any business. It allows the business owner (the farmer) to see whether the business is profitable, set and monitor progress toward goals, and, above all, plan for the financial stability of the farm. The purpose of this publication is to make basic accounting approachable for people with little or no accounting experience and encourage new farmers to develop good record keeping habits at the outset.

Crop Insurance Options for Specialty, Diversified, and Organic Farmers


This publication reviews federally subsidized crop insurance, with special attention to options available to specialty, diversified, and organic farmers. Generally, the greater the diversity or specialization of the crops and livestock farmers grow, the more difficult it can be for them to obtain insurance that fully covers the value and risks of their production. This publication gives several examples of using alternative crop-insurance policies that can offer some degree of protection from significant market-price changes and the multiple perils of farming that can impact yield. It gives special attention to understanding whole-farm revenue insurance options, which may be of particular interest to growers of diverse specialty and organic crops and livestock.

Evaluating a Farming Enterprise

Determining what to grow and how to sell it are the first steps in starting a farm-based business. This publication will help the reader take these important first steps.

Farm Branding: Selling Your Products Through Story

If you are farming to be profitable, you need to be more than a farmer. You need to be the executive director of your farm business. Moving product to a paying customer, a.k.a. marketing, is the core of that business. And we have learned that product moves based on the meanings that we associate with it. Consumers buy from farm stands, for example, because they want to support local businesses, eat fresher, or know their farmer. In other words, consumers are buying the story of your farm as much as they are buying your physical farm products. This publication helps you take control of your farm story and develop a farm brand that will connect with your customers.

Farm Business Start-Up Checksheet

Before starting a new farm business, you need to consider many things. What rules and regulations apply to your business? Which levels of government (city, county, state, federal) are responsible for which regulations? What permits will you need? What are the business structure options for your farm? What are your tax liabilities? This checksheet provides a list of some of the types of rules, regulations, and other things you should be aware of prior to starting your farm business.

Tips About Farm Business Structures

Choosing the legal structure for your farm is an important decision for beginning farmers. The farm business structure will affect the legal and tax liability of your farm. This is a short introduction to the major business structures, including the pros and cons of each.

Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers

This publication lays out several financing options available to beginning farmers to start a farm, and to illuminate the step-by-step process of applying for a loan. Small- and medium-scale sustainable farmers and those new to the world of finance are the target audience for this publication. The intention is to help these readers consider a range of options for raising capital and reducing expenses involved in starting a farm, with a bank or government loan as just one tool, albeit an important one, in a whole toolkit of creative possibilities.

Food Hubs: A Producers Guide

Small and medium-sized farms are often challenged with finding new markets that support their ability to increase production and help meet increasing demands for fresh and locally raised food. Local and regional food hubs are improving market access for farmers and ranchers by operating aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and marketing services for local producers. This publication focuses on providing producers with information, resources, and case studies specific to understanding how food hubs can provide new marketing outlets..

Guide for Organic Crop Producers

New farmers, and farmers experienced in conventional agriculture, often find that obtaining organic certification for their crops is quite challenging. This guide is intended to help lead farmers through the organic certification process. Chapters 1 through 4 explain the National Organic Program (NOP) and describe the process of organic certification. Later chapters explain specific USDA organic regulations that apply to planting, soil fertility, pest management, and other farm practices. In addition to interpreting the regulations, this guide explains the practices and materials that are allowed for organic production.

Legal Guide for New Hampshire Agricultural Producers – UNH

New Hampshire guide focusing on common laws and regulations with which agricultural producers need to comply.

NCAT Marketing Tip Sheet Series

This publication contains 13 tip sheets, each of which describes a particular marketing channel and notes some of the considerations associated with that approach to marketing. Each tip sheet also provides additional resources about that marketing channel.

Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming

While the basic concept of profit is very simple, assuring profitability in a sustainable farming business requires careful planning. Simply put, profit is a situation where income is greater than expenses over time. While careful planning will not absolutely assure that you will operate at a profit in your farming business, it certainly increases your chances. This publication provides an introduction to assessing and planning for farm profitability and includes additional resources that can provide further assistance.

Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Regional Markets

This publication helps farmers decide if they are ready to expand their operations to serve wholesale markets or produce more for direct markets. It describes how organization and planning can help a producer meet the challenges involved in scaling up, and addresses important considerations such as land, labor, food safety, marketing, and insurance.

Understanding Organic Pricing and Costs of Production

This publication provides resources to compare organic and non-organic agricultural prices, discusses organic production costs, and offers tips on how to set organic crop prices. Case studies summarize insights gained from organic farmers and ranchers.

Weathering the Storm: A Guide to Preparing for Disaster and Finding Disaster Assistance for Your Farm or Ranch

Planning for the worst means being ready in the event that disaster strikes. This publication explains disaster declarations and briefly discusses federal disaster-assistance programs. It describes how record keeping, risk management, and insurance can help farmers be prepared for disasters, and it explores how environmental, social, and financial resilience can help agricultural producers mitigate and survive disasters.

Funding for this program is provided in part by the New Hampshire Department Of Agriculture and the Markets & Food USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

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