As a farmer, you’re in the business of putting food on the table. Agriculture is one of the world’s oldest professions. Today it accounts for over 5% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, and 1 in 10 American workers are in agriculture, food, and related industries.
But starting a new agriculture business requires intensive planning and upfront preparation. If you’re looking for a free, downloadable agriculture sample business plan PDF to help you create a business plan of your own, look no further.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to find a sample business plan that exactly matches your farm. Whether you’re launching a larger agricultural business outside a bustling city or a smaller organic operation, the details will be different, but the foundation of the plan will be the same.
Are you writing a business plan for your farm because you’re seeking a loan? Is your primary concern outlining a clear path for sales growth? Either way, you’re going to want to edit and customize it so it fits your particular farm.
No two agriculture farming businesses are alike. For example, your strategy will be very different if you’re a dairy operation instead of a soybean farm. So take the time to create your own financial forecasts and do enough market research for your specific type of agriculture so you have a solid plan for success.
What should you include in an agriculture farm business plan?
Your agriculture business plan doesn’t need to be hundreds of pages—keep it as short and focused as you can. You’ll probably want to include each of these sections:
1. Executive summary
An overview of your agriculture business, with a brief description of your products or services, your legal structure, and a snapshot of your future plans. While it’s the first part of the plan, it’s often easier to write this section last.
2. Business summary and funding needs
Details about your farming operation, including how much capital you will need and the types of funding you’re considering. Include your business history, your current state, and your future projections. It should also cover your business location, the equipment and facilities needed, and the kinds of crops or livestock you plan to raise.
3. Products and services
Provide details on the types of crops, farming methods, and any value-added products you plan to offer, such as finished goods or even agritourism offerings.
4. Marketing plan
Compile your market research findings, including the demand for your products or services, your target customers, and your competitors. It should also outline your marketing strategy—how you plan to attract and retain customers.
5. Financial plan
Your revenue projections, cost estimates, and break-even analysis. This section should demonstrate that your business has a path to profitability.
Building on your farm business plan sample
With a free agriculture business plan template as your starting point, you can start chipping away at the unique elements of your business plan.
As the business owner, only you can speak to aspects of your agriculture operation like your mission and core values. You’re putting in the long hours to start a thriving farm business, so aspects of your mission – like a commitment to sustainable farming practices – will be best explained in your own words. Authenticity will help you connect with a growing market of consumers who value transparency and environmental stewardship in their food sources.
As for more conventional aspects of business planning, you will want to take on things like your marketing and financial plans one at a time. Here are a few specific areas to focus on when writing your business plan.
Invest time in market research
Starting an agriculture operation requires significant startup costs. When you throw in the unique land use considerations involved, it’s crucial to conduct thorough market research before investing hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of dollars into a farm business.
Start by researching the types of farms operating in your locality and wider region, and the specific crops or livestock they specialize in. You will need to understand seasonal trends, including crop yields and livestock productivity. Note the demographics of the local community to understand their buying habits and preference for local produce. Also, be aware of the competitive landscape and how your farm can differentiate itself from others. All of this information will inform your service, pricing, marketing, and partnership strategy.
From there, you can outline how you plan to reach your target market and promote your farm’s offerings.
Craft your agriculture go-to-market strategy
One of the things that makes an agriculture farm business plan different than some other service-based business plans is that you might decide to only work with one or two businesses that purchase your goods.
You may offer different tiers of products to different types of buyers, such as produce for an organic farmers market, and corn for another farm’s animal feed. If that’s the case, make sure you include ideas like setting aside land for organic growth and maintenance.
Discuss your advertising and promotional strategies, emphasizing channels relevant to your target market. Also, consider how partnerships with local businesses, farmers’ markets, and other industry stakeholders can enhance your visibility.
Include your pricing strategy and any special promotions or loyalty programs. Also, consider public relations and media outreach efforts that can raise awareness about your farm and its sustainable practices.
Prepare for unique farming challenges
Running an agricultural business comes with its own set of challenges, including weather-related disruptions and market volatility. Your business plan should identify these potential risks and present contingency plans to address them.
Include a plan to mitigate weather-related risks, such as crop diversification, employing weather-resistant farming practices, investing in appropriate infrastructure like greenhouses or drainage systems, or taking out insurance to cover weather-related losses.
Detail the operational aspects of your business, including land ownership, employee status, farm maintenance, and safety requirements. Also, illustrate your strategies for managing crop production, livestock care, land stewardship, and regulatory compliance.
Plan for the future
Contingency planning is important in all businesses. But the unique challenges in agriculture of changing market dynamics, regulatory changes, and climate impacts make it especially necessary to plan for the future. Detail how you’ll measure success, and how you will be prepared to adapt your offerings if you need to change the focus of the business due to factors outside your control.
Also, be ready to discuss opportunities for scaling your business over time, such as introducing new crops, expanding farm operations, or opening additional locations.
Get started with your farm business plan sample
There are obviously plenty of reasons farm owners can benefit from writing a business plan — for example, you’ll need one if you’re seeking a loan or investment. Even if you’re not seeking funding, the process of thinking through every aspect of your business will help you make sure you’re not overlooking anything critical as you grow.
Download this agriculture farm sample business plan PDF for free right now, or visit Bplans’ gallery of more than 550 sample business plans if you’re looking for more options.