| Updated: March 25, 2024 | Published: April 15, 2021

How to Write a Farm Business Plan

How to Write a Farm Business Plan

Getting a loan for your agricultural business no matter the size or scope means asking the lender to have faith in your ability to manage a full-fledged operation and your finances in a healthy way. The best way to prove that is by coming prepared with a farm business plan proposal.

No pressure, right? While it may seem daunting and scary, we’ve broken down the steps to writing the perfect business plan below. Read on to learn more and check out the end of this guide for additional resources to help you craft a top-notch business plan.

Creating a Farm Business Plan

You can set yourself up for success both in business and with your lender by having a detailed business plan for your farming operation. It doesn't need to be pretty, but you do have to prove that you're willing to put the time and effort into creating a well thought out course of action for your operation.

Are you already operating but don't have a plan? That's okay! It's never too late to put extra thought into how your operation will continue to fulfill your livelihood.

What to Include in your Agricultural Business Plan

Whether you're a new farmer looking for a loan, or a seasoned grower that needs funding for a new agribusiness, there are a few things that you want to make sure you include in your agricultural business plan.

Title/ Cover Page

Keep it simple on the cover page. The most important information here is accurate contact information so your lender can get in touch with you easily. Include your mailing address, phone, email, and fax if you have it.

Business Overview

Although it will be the first page of your farm plan, this will be the last section that you write, since it acts as a summary of all your key points in your plan. Remember that this is the first section that your lender will read, so they’ll expect to see all of the highlights that make approving this loan a good financial decision for both you and the lending organization. Include points about expansion plans, market opportunities, financial trends and projections in a short and easy to read summary. Treat this section as if you're telling a stranger about your operation and you want to give them an overview of what you do and what sets you apart from other businesses in your industry.

The What:

What are your key business objectives? In this part of your farming business plan, you'll want to describe your products and services your business will offer. 

The How:

Start by describing how your business will operate and include what makes your business unique. Provide details regarding the size of the operation, location, and note any expansion plans.   

The Who:

Who is your target audience? Who will benefit from your products or services produced from your farm business?   

The Why:

Think about the desire and drive behind why you want to pursue this business venture. It is common to connect your business why with your mission statement.  

If applying for a loan:

If you’re starting a new operation, clearly state how much money you are applying for, how you plan to use it and how it will make your business more profitable, thereby ensuring repayment. 

Creating your own farm business plan will take time and effort. As you complete sections, send them to partners or colleagues to review as you go along. If you have any questions on farm business plan examples or more specifically what lenders are looking for, give us a call. 

Business Management and Organization

Business History:

How long have you been in operation? Are you starting from scratch or did the business have previous owners?

Strengths and Weaknesses:

Describe the strengths and weaknesses of your business.

Implementation Timeline:

What is your plan of action? What specific tasks need to be completed in order to reach your business goals?  


Goals are often broken into two categories — short term and long term. Short term goals are focused on actions likely to be achieved in 1-3 years, and long term goals are likely accomplished in 3-10 years, or beyond.  

Risk Management:

What risk management practices do you have in place? Think about your business contingency plan, insurance coverage, regulatory requirements, and your market and production diversification.   


For some people, this can be the most fun or the most challenging part of creating your small farm business plan. Before thinking about your marketing tactics, think about the data you need to make informed business decisions. 

Market Share:

Researching your target market is key to understanding what opportunities are available in the marketplace. Is there current market share to gain? How will you remain competitive as a farm business? Who are your biggest competitors in the marketplace? Do you anticipate any obstacles?  


How will your farm business generate farm income? Think about how your product will be sold and priced? What is your projected or estimated income? How are you going to gain commitments and contracts to sell your products? 


What marketing strategy will your business use to reach your business goals? As a small business, will you utilize tools like social media, email marketing, and/or ecommerce to maximize your marketing efforts to connect with your target audience? Check out our blog on how to create a marketing plan for your farm and download a free template!


Arguably, the most important part of your agricultural business plan is how you will finance your operation. In this section, make sure to take time to complete your balance sheet. The balance sheet will identify your cash-basis income trend, breakeven analysis, and sensitivity analysis. This statement is a summary of what you own vs. what you owe. 

The income and expenses statement shows your business’ profit and loss over a period of time, determined by taking all the revenue and subtracting all expenses. This will show the profitability of your operation. 

Business Advisors

Business advisors are a group of professionals who serve as subject matter experts to enhance productivity, business, and on-farm profitability, while offering technical insight for your farm operations. Surrounding yourself with people who know how to support your farming venture will help to support and find your long-term business success. You will want to organize your team that might consist of an attorney, accountant, lender, insurance provider, and consultants in the last section of the business plan.  Did you know Farm Credit offers services for Accounting, Records, Payroll and Taxes, Appraisal, Business Consulting, Farm Succession Planning, and more? Give us a call at 888.339.3334 or view our full list of services here.

Congratulations! You’ve made it through each section of how to write your business plan! If you’re interested in more coaching on your business plan, check out the resources below or give us a call to connect with a local lender — we're happy to help. 

Additional Resources to Help You Write Your Farm Business Plan

Request your Business Plan Template and replay of our How to Write a Business Plan webinar here.

Click here to request a mentor with SCORE Small Business Resources.

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