University of Vermont

Vermont New Farmer Project Vermont New Farmer Project

Business & Financial Management Toolshed:
Business Planning


Building a Sustainable Business CoverBuilding a Sustainable Business, from, the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA). A comprehensive, farmer-oriented guide to developing a business plan for farms and food businesses. This manual is used in the Building a Sustainable Business class offered by UVM Extension. It is available as a free download and also includes pdf forms that you can fill in online.

Model Business Plan for Hoop Houses, 2010, from Michigan State University Extension. This publication provides several case studies explore adding hoop houses for season extension, including sample business plans and enterprise budgets.

The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops and Staff – and Making a Profit by Richard Wiswall, published by Chelsea Green Books. Written for organic vegetable farmers by a long-time VT farmer, this book is not specifically about writing a business plan but rather managing a successful business. But it covers all the fundamentals you need for a business plan, and includes a CD with cash flow spreadsheets, crop budgets, and more.

Online Resources

Northeast Beginning Farmers Project New Farmer Hub. This site, developed by Cornell University, offers tutorials, videos, and links to help you develop your farm plans. These resources are oriented to beginning farmers in New York and throughout the Northeast, and complement the resources offered by the UVM Extension New Farmer Project.


AgPlan, from the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota. AgPlan is a set of free online tools and resources designed to help rural business owners develop a business plan. It includes a type editor in which you can write your plan, tips resources and samples to help guide you, and tools to allow you to share your plan and get feedback from advisors, educators and consultants.

AgSquared, is a fee-based ($60/year) online software toolkit built for small diversified farms. It creates a plan for your farm at the beginning of the season, and helps you manage that plan and keep you on track as the season progresses.

INVenture, from the Agricultural Innovation & Commercialization Center at Purdue University, is an online business planning tool designed to help launch new ventures.

One Page Business Plan, developed by Farm Credit East. The One Page Business Plan is a quick way to get you started, linking your farming goals with specific steps to move toward those goals. Eventually, you'll need to get more detailed with a complete business plan.








Last modified March 12 2014 09:20 PM