Business Planning Resources


Front cover of Building a Sustainable Business bookBuilding 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.

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 HubThis 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.

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.