Planning Your Farming Business
Anyone who has experience of running a farm knows how complicated and difficult a challenge it is, especially if you’re making your first move in the agricultural field. There is however a wide range of advice and a network of support available to you, so that you should never have to run into difficulty when confronted with any hurdles on your journey. The best way to start is to put together a solid business plan, enabling you to think through both the opportunities and the challenges you are likely to face as you establish and expand your work. Here are some things you ought to consider if you want to write your own business plan in order to get started straight away.
A good business plan is necessary first and foremost as a means to give credibility to your farm, as well as to back up your skills as a farm owner or manager. Even if you want to keep your farm exactly the way it is, constructing no new buildings and even bringing in no new flock, you should still produce a plan for your business. This will help you find weaknesses in how you plan and run your farm, and this can be invaluable further down the line when you decide you want to improve or change your business. However, before you do put pen to paper and start writing your business plan, you should be sure to fully research the sectors in which you are working. It’s important that you consider not only your own business, but also the future economic prospects of the sectors in which you are working. You may have a great chunk of land, immediate access to transport routes, and plenty of customers knocking on your stable door. But if there’s a nationwide recession around the corner, you will struggle like everyone else.
What To Include
There are certain elements that your plan ought to contain. Firstly you should consider including your short-term and long-term aims and a timescale for achieving them. Think about who will be involved, and what characteristics your farm has. Where are you based? What kind of area are you in, and what market is that associated with? Even consider what type of soil you have. Establishing all of these things will help you work out what is best for the future of your business, as well as show anyone with whom you come into contact on a professional level what your plan really entails. You should also include financial forecasts, a marketing and sales strategy, details about your management team and staff, as well as an operations plan. For example, do you plan to buy used tractors and farm equipment as needed, or new equipment? Consider in addition how much external funding you need, what you can provide as security against loans if necessary, and what you expect in the way of profits or losses. As part of this you will want to include also how you plan to insure your business, with insurance available tailored specifically to agricultural enterprises. With all these factors considered you will be on your way to establishing a solid plan for your business.