Transitioning to organic farming is a significant decision to make, one that can take several years to be completed. Our goal is to provide you with as much assistance as possible along the way. Be sure to check out the Organic Farm Mentors page to see how you can be connected with a veteran organic grower, and the Education page for further opportunities.
Planning to Start a New Business?
Before starting a new business or modifying a current one, be sure that a market exists for what you are intending to offer. This is true also for those considering certifying their farm with the National Organic Program (NOP). Operating as a certified organic farm requires that markets are available, and that there is a demand for organic products from your farm. To make this process worthwhile, you must identify a market(s) willing and able to purchase the certified produce or product at the increased price (as the value of organic products is higher). Reasons for organic certification typically expand beyond more than just to increase market opportunity, but if you are counting on profits from this business, then this is an important consideration.
Do some investigative research beforehand. Write up these findings as a business plan to serve as a guide for you as you develop your farming operation. This is especially critical if you intend to seek funds, such as through loans or grants. The cost to certify is more than just the fees of the certifying agency, but also includes on maintenance of record throughout the year that are required by NOP.
Some aspects to consider before starting a new business include:
- Do you have the skills needed or access to learning them, or the option of hiring someone who already has those skills?
- Is there adequate demand for the product(s), and can you get a fair price that not only covers the production costs but also earns a profit?
- Remember that production costs include wages for the hours you work as well as hired labor. Do you have the financial buffer if the demand for the product is low, which is common for new business, especially in the first year?
- If/when the demand for the product increases, do you have the ability to increase production to meet the demand?
Dedicated to creating knowledge and networking resources for farmer and potential farmers, educators, activist, and policy makers interested in promoting small, diverse, locally-based, sustainable farm enterprises.
Rutgers Sustaining Farming on the Urban Fringe | New Jersey Agricultural Research Station
National Young Farmers’ Coalition
Created by and for the next generation of sustainable family farmers in the US. Focuses on policy change, network building, and farmer-to-farmer learning.
Rodale Institute Classifieds
Employment, land and other opportunities.
Start2Farm was developed to assist people new to farming or ranching and those who have less than 10 years of experience. The Start2Farm site and program is supported by the following organizations:
- National Agricultural Library
- American Farm Bureau Federation
- United States Department of Agriculture
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture
- USDA Beginning Farming and Ranching Development Program
Plan Ahead: Communication is key to a successful transition to next generation | Renee Stern
Handing on a family farm to the next generation requires more than financial and legal planning. Everything else falls apart without younger family members who are interested and able.
A “Web” of Support: Online Directory to Women in Agriculture Organizations | Susan Neal | Small Farms Quarterly, distributed by Cornell University | April 2010
Small Farms Quarterly focuses on organizations founded by, created for, and actively supporting women in agriculture. The sites are dedicated to a number of issues including, women’s health, farm economics, women’s safety, food production, animals, and rural isolation.
Used Farm & Power Equipment
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