Agricultural Business Planning Templates and Resources
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Agricultural Business Planning Templates and Resources

Business and Marketing Resource List

Holly Born
NCAT Agriculture Specialist
June 2004


This resource list contains sources of business planning templates and further resources for agricultural enterprises. These resources include Internet and print resources as well as training courses and workshops

Table of Contents


Business planning is crucial to success for both new and established enterprises. Going through the planning process increases the chances for success and helps avoid costly mistakes. It can be very helpful to have your plan evaluated by several people to make sure that you haven't missed any vital components or issues. This critical evaluation will also be helpful when presenting the plan to lenders or other potential funders.

There is a great deal of information and assistance available for writing and using business plans in your farm enterprise. Every state has Small Business Development Centers and Cooperative Extension offices that offer such assistance, as do many state departments of agriculture and/or economic development agencies. However, many producers would like to have business plan examples and other information that is specific to agriculture. This resource list, therefore, does not tell you how to write a business plan, but refers you to sources of business planning information and assistance that are most relevant to the smaller-scale or alternative agricultural entrepreneur.

General Agricultural Enterprise Business Planning Resources

Related ATTRA Publications:
Assessing the feasibility of an agricultural enterprise is the first step to developing a business plan. The following ATTRA publications will help you explore the feasibility of your enterprise ideas

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Internet and Print Resources

While not focused on agricultural enterprises specifically, BizPlanIt's Virtual Business Plan is a free on-line resource that includes business plan fundamentals to consider and incorporate into each section of your plan; highlights the most common mistakes in each section of the plan; and provides other advice, articles, tips, tools, and links related to each section of a business plan. Available at

How to Write a Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide:

The following British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (BCMAFF) enterprise business planning templates are available on the Internet:

Chicken Broiler Producer, Dairy Producer, Grains and Seeds, Bee Keeper, Cow/Calf Ranch, Greenhouse Vegetable, Greenhouse Floriculture, Wholesale Nursery, and Direct Farm Marketing (mixed vegetables, berries, and value-added products). These templates include detailed information on each step of developing agricultural enterprise business plans, and they are very highly recommended. They are available at

A sample business plan for an herb enterprise is available at [PDF/116KB]
Download Acrobat Reader

A vineyard business plan workbook is available at [PDF/171KB]

Adding Value to Beef Production walks you through developing a business plan for value-added beef enterprises. Includes case studies of actual businesses.

Adding Value to Pork Production walks you through developing a business plan for value-added pork enterprises. Includes case studies of actual businesses.

An interesting sample business plan for an Internet-based horse reseller is available at

Sample business plans for various food businesses are available at

A sample business plan for value-added sauces and other Hispanic foods is available at

"Building a Sustainable Business: a Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses" brings the business planning process alive to help today's alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises. Sample worksheets lend a practical perspective and illustrate how real farm families set goals, researched processing alternatives, determined potential markets, and evaluated financing options. Blank worksheets help the reader develop a detailed, lender-ready business plan or map out strategies to take advantage of new opportunities.

Download a copy. [PDF/6038K]

This publication is also available in an abbreviated Spanish version from the University of Missouri at:

Hard copies are available for $17 (plus $5.95 shipping and handling charge).

To order hard copies, go to: or contact:
Sustainable Agriculture Publications
210 Hills Building
University of Vermont
Burlington , VT 05405-0082
802-656-9091 FAX

Getting Started in Freshwater Aquaculture is a "one-stop" resource for planning an aquaculture enterprise. A CD-ROM includes sections on business planning, marketing, species selection, water resources needed, and production methods. An accompanying workbook provides review questions, business planning forms, and example test questions. Also included are sample business plans, cash flow statements, and enterprise budgets. "Getting Started in Freshwater Aquaculture" is available for $59.95 (checks payable to Purdue University Aquaculture). To place an order, or for more information, contact:

LaDon Swann, Aquaculture Specialist
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
Purdue University
1026 Poultry Science Building
West Lafayette , IN 47907-1026

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Personal Assistance

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), a national organization sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA), is made up more than 13,000 volunteer business executives who provide free counseling, workshops, and seminars to prospective and existing small business people. E-mail counseling is a confidential, fast, and convenient option that is also offered by SCORE. SCORE volunteers can assist you in developing a business plan, or review an existing plan. There are SCORE volunteers with expertise in agriculture available. You can find them by searching at If you don't have access to the Internet, call ATTRA, and we can do the search for you. If you would prefer face-to-face counseling, visit their Web site or contact SCORE to find a counselor near you.

SCORE Association
409 3rd Street, SW
6th Floor
Washington , DC 20024

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are sponsored by the SBA, in partnership with state and local governments, the educational community, and the private sector. They provide technology, informational resources, and on-site counseling for start-up and expanding businesses to create business, marketing, and other plans, do research, and receive expert training and assistance. To locate your nearest SBDC, contact the SBA Small Business Answer Desk at 800-827-5722, or go to SBA business planning resources are available at .

Software Resources

FINPACK is a comprehensive financial planning and analysis system designed to help farmers and ranchers understand their financial situation and make informed decisions. The FINPACK Business Plan includes a comprehensive outline, sample plans, and detailed information on what should be included in the business plan. Supporting information from any electronic source can be cut-and-pasted into the plan. Cost is $295 ($145 for Minnesota residents) for the Professional version and $95 for the Personal version. You can download a free trial version of the FINPACK Business Plan at:

To order, or for more information, contact:
Center for Farm Financial Management
University of Minnesota
130 Classroom Office Building
1994 Buford Avenue
St. Paul , MN 55108
612-625-3105 FAX

Business Plan Pro 2004 is the most used business planning software available. More than 400 sample plans are included; among them are some plans relevant to agriculture, such as plans for medicinal herb, tree fruit, and mixed fruit and vegetable enterprises. Most Small Business Development Centers offer use of this software for free or at nominal cost. If you would like your own copy, it costs $99.95. To order, or for more information, call 800-229-7526, or visit

PlanWrite is another highly recommended business planning software package. Sample business plans, some related to agriculture, and actual business plans from real businesses—winners of the prestigious MootCorp® business plan competition—are included. The basic version costs $119.95. To order, or for more information, call 800-423-1228 or visit

Market Farm Forms is an excellent planning tool for diversified farms that market direct to the consumer or run Community Supported Agriculture operations. There are few resources for this type of farm enterprise, and this is one of the best. Developed by a market farmer, Market Farm Forms contains computer spreadsheet templates for planning and organizing information on diversified market farms. This software program will help you in planning crops and budgets, ordering seed and soil amendments, growing transplants, projecting yields and income, and then tracking what really happens compared to your projections. If you don't use a computer, you can copy the forms in the spiral bound manual and do the calculations by hand. The Market Farm Forms package is available for Windows or Mac systems for $49.95 (free shipping). It can be ordered on-line or by mail at the address below.
Mail Order Department
Nature's Pace Sanctuary
Hartshorn , MO 65479

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Training Courses

Tilling the Soil of Opportunity is a comprehensive, 12-week course in business planning offered through the NxLeveL business planning training network. Individual sessions focus on topics such as marketing, financial management, how to perform market research, legal issues, human resource management, risk management, and other important issues. It is particularly useful to those considering marketing approaches such as direct marketing, agri-tourism, or developing a cooperative. Courses were available in 36 states at the time of publication. The course fee varies from community to community. Each state and/or community sets its own course fee structure. To find out whether the course available in your community, or for more information, contact:
Utah Small Business Development Centers
9750 South 300 West, Bldg. 5
Sandy , UT 84070
801-957-3488 FAX

FastTrac offers many business planning and feasibility assessment programs for entrepreneurs. Of particular interest is their Microenterprise series of programs, aimed at lower-to-middle-income people who are starting or expanding a small business. For more information, contact: FastTrac National Headquarters
4747 Troost
Kansas City , MO 64110
800-689-1740 (toll-free)
816-235-6216 FAX

By Holly Born
NCAT Agriculture Specialist
June 2004
© NCAT 2004

RL042/ Slot 262


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This page was last updated on: August 7, 2018