Synopses & Reviews
To help farmers position themselves well for the opportunities of today's market, Sarah Aubrey, a successful farm-based business owner, shares her years of research and first-hand experience in Starting & Running Your Own Small Farm Business. Here is everything you need to know to launch a small agricultural enterprise, from initial start-up to consumer marketing. Begin by fine-tuning your idea into a viable business plan, and then learn how to go out and sell it. Secure financing, work out the legalities, follow USDA guidelines--- and a farming business is born. Aubrey explains every step of the process and even includes samples of the required forms.
Every small farmer must also become a skilled salesperson and marketing professional. Aubrey covers all sales venues — from rural farmstands to web sites to food service wholesalers — and explains the pros and cons of each. She also explains how to create and stick to an advertising budget, develop pricing strategies, and protect personal assets.
Aubrey brings her business advice to life with profiles of farmers who are successfully selling everything from small batches of wine to exotic animals, such as elk and alpacas. Their stories are mini-courses in successful farming, sure to inspire every reader.
"Great tips for newbies who need to determine the feasibility of following their dreams, and still helpful to those who have been at it awhile." ForeWord
"Aubrey leads the agri-preneur from business plan to market research, from USDA guidelines to product pricing and into the strange world of marketing....This book will help farm operators find a plans that works for them."
"Here is everything you need to know about launching a small agricultural enterprise, from initial start-up to consumer marketing." American Small Farm
You Can Farm for a Living
With entrepreneurial drive, a practical business plan, and some marketing savvy, you can run a successful small-farm business that brings your products to your target audience. The demand for fresh, local, organic, naturally raised, lovingly crafted, or sustainably produced small-farm products is on the rise. With seasoned farmer Sarah Beth Aubrey as your guide, discover how you can make the most of these opportunities.
Learn how to:
*Develop a viable business plan
*Conduct market research
*Comply with USDA and other food safety guidelines
*Protect your assets
*Determine correct product pricing
*Choose your selling venues: farmers' markets, farmstands, the Web, direct mail, wholesalers
*Create a marketing plan that tells your story
*Adjust and revise your plan as your business grows
Throughout, Aubrey includes profiles of successful farm businesses for inspiration, as well as checklists, contracts, and sample forms to keep you on track.
About the Author
Sarah B. Aubrey is the owner of Aubrey's Natural Meats, Indiana's premier source for gourmet natural beef and pork. She has also written many articles on agriculture and rural lifestyles for magazines such as Farmworld, Beef Business Journal, Farm Journal, Farm and Ranch Living, and Country Woman. Sarah and her husband live in rural Indiana, where they raise beef cattle for her company.
Table of Contents
1 Build a Plan
Components of a Business Plan
Altering Your Business Plan
Profile: Sweeter Song Farm CSA
2 Test the Waters
Choosing Your Research Methodology
Administering the Questionnaire
Profile: Leelanau Natural Beef
3 Get the Money
Simple Financial Statements
Profile: Evans Orchard and Cider Mill, LLC
4 Choose Your Business Type
Professional Financial and Legal Advisors
Business Entity Types
Profile: Chaney's Dairy Barn
5 Follow the Rules
Make the Rules Work for You
Common Practices and Where to Find Information
Profile: WaxinkMoon Artisan Goat Cheese
6 Protect Your Assets
Selecting Liability Insurance
Insurance Recommendations and Limits
Other Ways You're Covered
Profile: Tulmeadow Farm Store, Inc.
7 Price Your Products
Setting Your Prices
Wholesale versus Retail
Pricing for Breakeven
Money Collection Options
Profile: Lee Farms, LLC
8 Select Your Selling Venues
Types of Selling Venues
Profile: Homestead Growers, Inc.
9 Spread the Word
Creating a Marketing Plan
Other Brand-Building Ideas
Profile: Huber's Orchard and Winery
10 Reflect and Revise
Years Two through Five
Profile: Chileno Valley Ranch
A: Business Plan
B: Sample Market Research Questionnaire
C: Simple Advertising and Marketing Budget for New Business
D: Press Release/Customer Correspondence
E: Sample Venture Capital Agreement
F: Profit and Loss Statement
G: Cash Flow Comparison