Do you have a dream to start your own farm and the drive to make it happen? It takes a lot of planning (and grit) to launch your own business in dairy farming, vegetable farming, livestock ranching, fruit growing, beekeeping or another agricultural venture. You need a solid business plan to get your farm off the ground and on track for a successful harvest.
If you’ve done your legwork, you know what it will take in terms of land, resources, equipment and labor. You’ve spent time analyzing crop plans and rotations for the best yields in your region. You’ve invested time, sweat and your own cash to get started, and now you’re ready to explore financing options to take things to the next level.
In order to get the buy-in you need for long-term success, it’s crucial to translate the vision in your mind into a written business plan. You’ll need to present your plans to potential lenders, investors and community leaders. Putting your business plan in writing can help you convey your vision to those who have the resources to help your business grow.
How to write a business plan
A thorough business plan should include details about your farm, market research and financial projections. Consider including relevant data in each of the following areas in your business plan:
- Executive summary — a brief overview or “elevator pitch” including your mission and goals
- Company summary — details about the company structure and ownership
- Products — a description of the products you’re growing, harvesting or raising on your farm
- Market and competitive analysis — market research on your products, target customers and competitive analysis
- Marketing strategy and sales forecast — details about your marketing strategy (how you will generate awareness about your farm and products) and sales forecast (projected sales for the first year and subsequent years)
- Management and payroll — a roster identifying who will be involved in running the operation and cost of hiring employees, if needed
- Financial analysis — projected financial statements including profit and loss, cash flow forecast and balance sheet
A business plan is an important factor in the loan application process, but that’s not all. It’s also your roadmap for farming success. Having a solid business plan can help you plan ahead for growth opportunities and mitigate risks so you can manage the farm with fewer bumps in the road. It’s a good idea to update your business plan as your farm weathers ups and downs and evolves over time.
A partner you can count on
You can trust PeoplesBank to provide flexible solutions for your farm business. We’ve been working hard to provide agricultural banking in Pennsylvania and Maryland for more than 150 years. We take the time to get to know you and your needs, and can help you put together financing that’s a good fit for your farm. Learn more about our agricultural loans today!