Embarking on an agricultural venture, whether it’s running a beef ranch out East or managing a large produce business, is both thrilling and daunting at the same time. Creating an effective, sustainable, and profitable business plan from which to run your entire company appears overwhelming at first glance. However, our Farm Credit of Southern Colorado team is here to help you create a solid business plan or recreate one you already have in place to improve upon. We fully understand the myriad considerations of starting or enhancing your agricultural enterprise. From navigating legal structures to defining your goals and objectives, establishing governance strategies, and making crucial decisions, we’ve got you covered every step of the way.

Let us make the development of this critical document easier for you! We’ve put together a guide that walks you through all the intricacies of organizing a new plan and ensures your journey toward viability is smooth sailing.


How to Create a Helpful Business Plan for Your Farm

A well-crafted business plan is one of the most important foundational pieces of planning for success in the agricultural realm. Whether you’re drafting your very first business plan or revamping an existing one, it’s essential to cover all your bases to be well-prepared for all situations. Here are some key points to consider covering within your plan:


1. Operational Plan: Map out your vision, your mission, and the strategies you will use to achieve your goals. A clear roadmap will guide your actions and keep you focused on your goals.

Creating a Farm Business Plan2. Business Structure: Identify the legal entity that best suits your needs, whether a corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each plan has benefits and implications for liability, taxation, and business.

3. Set Goals and Budgets: Creating a business growth strategy can be more manageable when you start from where you would like your business. Goals give you focus, create budgets, and help you understand if your plan is reasonable. They can also validate whether you’re on the right growth path.

4. Licenses and Certifications: While every farming operation’s certification and license will differ depending on the type of product they produce, it’s crucial to complete your research and ensure you are fully certified and licensed where you need to be. Ensure there is a yearly check-in for reestablishments of all documentation as well.

5. Company History: Record all the pivotal moments in your business from its origins to the present day to organize milestones, accomplishments, and the work of influential figures into a cohesive narrative. It is helpful to record your farm’s progress and story.

6. Inventory: Markup a consistent monthly or quarterly game plan to check in and count your farming inventory. Make sure to include physical count, spot checking, cycle counting, and new product ordering, amongst any other item nuances you may have in your operation.

7. Establish Sales and Distribution Channels: Identify the most suitable sales and distribution channels for your agricultural products to calculate your potential net profit. Explore options such as direct business-to-consumer, partnerships and networks with distributors, and growth paths to get into larger markets and supply chains.

8. Financing Opportunities: Find ways to obtain financing, grants, or loans to further your growth and expansion. Identify potential sources of income and create a comprehensive budget to support your business goals, including forward acquisitions and other growth options.

9. Emergency Protocols: A guide that includes roles, responsibilities, relevant contact information, and resources available in the case of emergency. This plan should consist of assessing damage, protecting property, minimizing damage or business disruptions, and determining the appropriate actions after the incident.

10. File Records: Keep proper records of finances, transactions, inventories, and other vital information to track progress and make informed decisions. Accurate recordkeeping is critical for compliance, financial analysis, and strategic planning.

11. Risk Management: Identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them, protecting your business from unexpected challenges. Engaging and managing risks will help protect your assets and business continuity.

Business Planning Tips for Farmers12. Performance Analysis: Continuously assess your performance, identify areas for improvement, and adjust your strategies accordingly. Conducting regular business reviews will help you stay agile and responsive to changing market conditions.

13. Mental Health: Prioritize self-care and well-being to ensure resilience and sustainability. Farm work can be demanding, and maintaining mental and emotional well-being is essential to long-term success.

14. Field Transition Plan: Define follow-up procedures and plans to ensure a smooth transition of ownership and operations. Succession planning is essential to preserve the legacy of your business and ensure its continuity across generations.

15. Environmental Stewardship: Create a map to implement sustainable farming practices, conserve natural resources, and promote biodiversity. A solid hold on your business’ sustainable operations is crucial to appeal to the current customer market in this greener age.

16. Environmental Preparedness: Due to weather and environmental factors like droughts, freezing temperatures, hail, pests, and diseases, you must be prepared to plan and react to each. Adapting to climate change and reducing environmental risks requires careful planning and adaptation that fits your personal business needs.

17. Knowledge Expansion: Ensure you have a game plan encouraging you and your employees to expand their knowledge bases and improve their expertise constantly. Focusing on further education is the steppingstone to sustainability and diversification within your organization.

18. Growth Strategy: Conduct a detailed outline that lists your actions to expand operations, increase revenue, and boost market reach. You’ll want to evaluate the financial, market, and industry positions to establish clear objectives to help your business develop over time.

19. Labor and Workload: Farming can be physically demanding and labor intensive, requiring long hours, especially during critical periods such as planting or harvesting. Managing and coordinating workers’ energy can be difficult, especially in large operations.

20. Marketing: Create a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote your product or service, reach your target audience, and generate sales. Effective marketing strategies will help you build brand awareness, attract customers, and generate revenue. Utilize social media platforms to target your audience directly.


You Guide to Building a Profitable AG Business PlanNow, depending on the type of farm or ranch you’re running, your business plan might look slightly different and may not include every single topic outlined above. This step-by-step is meant to get anyone started and begin thinking about all the aspects of their operation to create an effective and efficient business plan.

With Farm Credit of Southern Colorado by your side, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge, resources, and support you need to thrive in the competitive agricultural landscape. Our team is here to help not only with the ag financial and ag insurance side of things but also with your farm’s business planning and operational logistics. We take pride in also being an educational resource for our customer-owners, so never hesitate to ask for assistance! Let’s embark on this journey together and pave the way for your local agricultural venture’s success.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial, legal, or investment advice. Any information contained in this post is subject to change without notice and should not be relied upon without seeking the advice of a qualified professional. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of our Association. The author and Association are not responsible for any errors or omissions and are not liable for any losses or damages arising from the use of the information contained in this post.