Online Farm Planning Course – Resources & Links
This page provides all the links to course case studies, worksheets, resources and links that will help you in writing your farm plan.
Week 1 (Jan 12th): Farm Visioning
This workshop will cover the bigger picture questions surrounding the development of a whole farm plan. Why do you want to farm? Where are you now and where are you headed? How will an agricultural business fit with the rest of your life and in your community? What will be your enterprise of focus and how do you determine the scale of your business? Learn how to craft a mission/vision for your farm plan that takes into consideration your lifestyle, family and social goals, as well as your financial goals and needs.
Week 2 (Jan 19th): Planning for Production
What products do you plan to sell on your farm? How will you produce what you sell? Learn what’s needed to write a production plan for your farm, and which tools can support this process and are appropriate to your scale and farm model.
Week 3 (Jan 26th): Farmer Panel – Choosing the Right Enterprise and Scale
Hear from a panel of farmers about why they chose their particular enterprise and scale of production and what their production planning process looks like.
Week 4 (Feb 2nd): Marketing and Distribution
This session will look at the factors that can lead to a successful marketing strategy for your business. How do you conduct market research? How do you evaluate market opportunities and possibilities? How do you price your product and effectively promote it? All these questions will be addressed as well as appropriate distribution channels and methods for your products.
Week 5 (Feb 9th): Farmer Panel – Marketing and Distribution Strategies
Hear from a panel of farmers who use different strategies to market and sell their products. Find out why they chose their particular marketing strategies, and what they’ve learned along the way.
Week 6 (Feb 16th): Record Keeping
Farm businesses have an incredible amount of information to track. This session will explore the information you should be keeping track of, and the tools and methods available to help keep everything organized.
Week 7 (Feb 23rd): Farm Financials
This workshop will focus on the key financial information that every small business owner should know, starting with terminology and progressing into different ways of organizing your business’s financial records.
Week 8 (Mar 2nd): Farm Focus – Financials
Take an in-depth look into how one farm organizes and tracks all their financial information. Get great tips, advice and ideas to help you plan the finances for your own farm.
Week 9 (Mar 9th): Meeting Requirements
What steps do you need to take to meet the legal requirements of starting up a farm business In Ontario? Should your farm be a sole proprietorship or should you incorporate, and what are the advantages behind each? What regulations do you need to comply with? This session will help you understand what you should be doing to start your farm business out on the right foot.
Week 10 (Mar 16th): Risk Management
Farming comes with risks – from weather, market fluctuations, and even personal injury. Coming up with a plan to prevent risks and deal with those that might come up will help keep your farm business stable in the face of adversity.
GENERAL COURSE RESOURCES
Week 1: Farm Visioning
- Spiral Farm | Mission & Vision
There is no “right way” to write your farm mission/vision. Choose a style that works for you!
- Writing Your Farm Mission/Vision | Blank Worksheet
Other Resources & Links
- Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture: Building a Sustainable Business
- Rutgers University | Developing a Mission Statement for Your Agricultural Business
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources | Farm Mission and Vision (pdf presentation)
- Week 1: Farm Visioning | Watch on Vimeo