Farm Business Management

The educational materials listed on this page are about Farm Business Management.

Growing and selling products profitably is critical to an agriculture business, but there are other aspects that are essential to farm business management. While it is difficult to find grants to start a farm, operating or starting a farm require a basic understanding of ag credit, including FSA loans (and other farm loans), and how to obtain farm credit for an agriculture loan. Savvy producers understand agricultural finance and agricultural accounting, and keep a close eye on farm finances. Farmers need to understand agricultural marketing and may need to know demand for a specific crop, such as with apple marketing. Starting a small farm may include finding land through FarmLink. While some new farmers may get started with a farm internship, others may useless formal farming training or more formal agriculture education. Ultimately, farmers also need to learn about farm labor, farm labor laws or farm succession planning at some point in their career. Key practices include marketing management, financial management, community-supported agriculture, risk management, agricultural finance, whole farm planning, farm succession, land access, labor/employment.

SARE’s bulletin Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets offers alternatives for producers to market their products through unconventional channels. Building a Sustainable Business aids producers in developing a sustainable and profitable business plan for their enterprise. Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities gives producers options for agricultural loans, grants and technical expertise. Farmers looking to transition to organic will find Organic Transition: A Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers and Food Entrepreneurs useful for business planning.

Showing 1-20 of 21 results

Growing Camelina for Biodiesel

This bulletin investigates the tradeoffs for a potential on-farm biodiesel production enterprise from dryland camelina to understand when and if it can be economically viable. Is Biodiesel from Camelina Right for You? This bulletin is based in part on on-farm trials evaluating camelina sativa production. Download an interim report from this research.

Agritourism Training Materials

Colorado State University recognized the benefits that agritourism—providing educational and recreational experiences on the farm or ranch to tourists—can provide farmers and rural communities. While agritourism helps to diversify a farmer's income, not every farmer is prepared for a service-oriented industry. With the help of a Western SARE grant, researchers developed a curriculum to help farmers […]

Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems Project

Public concerns regarding pesticide misuse, food safety, water use and contamination, and depletion of non-renewable resources have motivated the reevaluation of some of the practices of conventional agriculture and the exploration of alternative, more sustainable approaches to growing food. In 1988, the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems (SAFS) project was established at the University of California’s […]

Farm Internship Handbook: Oregon

This handbook is designed for producers who have decided to use interns or already have an internship program in place and are looking for ways to improve it.

Grower Track and Trace Handbook and Videos

Circle Fresh Farms is a network of small- to medium-sized greenhouses producing certified organic fresh vegetables. In order to remain competitive and compliant with emerging expectations to provide farm-to-consumer product tracking systems, Circle Fresh needed to create a product track and trace system that was compatible with industry standards and also accessible in cost and […]

A Guide for Hawai’i’s Farmers

This guide was developed to assist new farmers in tropical small-island settings by providing a distillation of expert information on sustainable agriculture principles, agroecology, crop production, animal production, agroforestry and marketing.

Putting the Winter Back in Winter Squash

For growers, it doesn’t matter how much you harvest. What matters is what you sell! A good example of that came out of Oregon recently, but applies broadly. Growers were having trouble producing and storing a crop they for sale in the winter into the early spring. “We heard from farmers that they weren't making […]

On-Farm Internship Training Binder

The Placer Ag Futures Project was conceived as a response to critical issues affecting local agricultural sustainability. This project was intended to help grow a new crop of agricultural professionals that are trained in sustainable agricultural practices. One part of the Ag Futures Project was the on-farm internship training. The summer internship program consisted of […]

Technical Assistance Programs for Agricultural Irrigation Improvements in Arizona

A number of organizations offer technical assistance programs for improvements to agricultural irrigation systems. Irrigation improvements can lead to more efficient and precise application of water. As a result, growers have more flexibility to respond to temperature extremes, water scarcity or market fluctuations. This guide provides an overview of the different types of technical assistance […]

Growing Grapes in Hawaii

The basis for this project was to show that grapes could again become a viable crop for Hawaii growers at low elevations. This addition of a crop, in demand by chefs, could greatly contribute to small farm sustainability.The history and horticultural needs are outlined in this extension publication, as are basic marketing needs and nutritional information.

Hawaii and the Pacific Islands Face Unique Challenges During the COVID-19 Crisis

The agriculture community in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands is feeling the same impacts from COVID-19 as the mainland. But in addition, the islands face the added challenges of remoteness and having tourism-dependent economies.  The loss of tourism is a huge impact for all of the food system. Restaurants rely on tourists and the local […]

Fresh Growth Podcast

Fresh Growth: Approaches to a More Sustainable Future from Western Ag Practitioners introduces you to farmers and ranchers from around the western United States who are finding innovative sustainable practices that enrich the natural resources we all care about. These successful multi-generational operations experiment with new ideas and are making it pay. Listen in as […]

Helping Farmers Profit with Winter Squash

Sustainable Agriculture Fact Sheet                            June 2020   State: Oregon                    Commodity: Squash Need: Squash varieties that store well (and taste good) for winter sales Background: Winter squash is a delicious and nutritious vegetable. Pacific Northwest retail winter squash sales peak in October/November and decline through April when almost all the squash sold in Oregon is […]

Responses to COVID-19 in Western Ag

Agriculture in the Western Region has been greatly impacted by COVID-19 and its resulting Shelter in Place orders, labor and processing challenges, and strongly shifting consumer behaviors and markets. It has also become clear that our agricultural community has been responding quickly and creatively. Western SARE cares about our community and feels a responsibility to share ideas and strategies. Toward that end, we conducted a survey of our state coordinators and project leaders of grants funded in the past three years. The data and examples are listed below. We will also create a report from this information, along with ideas provided on how Western SARE itself should adapt to the crisis.

Understanding Cost of Production

Determining on-farm costs of production is a significant task. Diggin' Roots Farm was able to develop the systems and infrastructure to facilitate data collection and integrate this work into everyday tasks.