University of Maryland Extension

Business Planning

Farm Business Planning Workbook and
Supplemental Materials

      • Business Plan Worksheets (Excel)
        BLANKWORKSHEETS03.xls
        These are the financial worksheets required for a business plan. Complete these on a yearly basis for your farm business. Before using this worksheet, please save a copy to a location on your personal computer. Do this by clicking the link below and choosing "Save."

    Introduction

    Planning is essential to any business, no matter how large or small your inventory, payroll, and bank account. To be successful a farm operation must know its current status and future plans. Having these plans in your mind is not enough! Taking time to formulate thoughts, evaluate your business, devise a strategy, and anticipate possible problems will help your business be successful.

    Farm Business Planning Workbook:

    The Farm Business Planning  Workbook was designed so that thoughts and objectives for your business can be organized and thoroughly documented. In the long run your business plan will serve many purposes, such as:

    • Supporting a loan application
    • Defining a new business, goals and steps to achieve those goals
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of business and marketing strategies
    • Set a direction for the business in the next five years
    • Growth and development for established businesses

    A good business plan should be realistic, simple, specific, and complete.

    1. Is your plan realistic? Are your goals, dates, and objectives realistic for your farm operation?
    2. Is your plan simple? Can you and others read and understand the farm business plan?
    3. Is your plan specific? Are goals, objectives, and finances measurable?
    4. Is your plan complete? Does your plan include all aspects of your farm business?

    You want a plan that can be implemented and that is easy to read and understand. The business plan may be used by others, such as lenders and financial institutions, which may not understand agricultural production. Make the plan easy for other audiences to understand.

    The planning process is never complete. Continue to use, review, and analyze the plan as your operation grows and changes. The end of the calendar year is always a great time to pull it out and review.

    Small Farm Business Planning

    Resources

    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center
    University of Maryland Extension

    The Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center (MREDC), is a University of Maryland Extension Community Resource and Economic Development Online Initiative. MREDC, a one-stop-shop for the 21st century agricultural/natural resource entrepreneur, provides successful rural business innovation strategies for your farm business plan, and your production and management techniques.

    Grant Writing Assistance Program
    University of Maryland Extension

    Advice, information and resouces to help turn a bright idea into a fundable project.

    Maryland Small Business and Technology Development Center

    Provides sound advice, counseling and support to entrepreneurs and small to mid-size businesses across the state. The network  links private enterprise, government, higher education and local economic development organizations to provide management, training and technical assistance to Maryland’s small businesses. As part of a national SBTDC Network, the SBTDC has rapid access to a number of information resources to deliver assistance that strengthens businesses, thereby contributing to the growth of local, state and national economies.

    Small Business Development Centers

    Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide a vast array of technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. By supporting business growth, sustainability and enhancing the creation of new businesses entities, SBDCs foster local and regional economic development through job creation and retention.

    Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation

    Online tools for businesses in Maryland and includes registration, licensing and taxation information.  It also includes helpful resources for starting a new business.

    Internal Revenue Service

    A farmer’s tax guide provides helpful information for recordkeeping, depreciation and other tax related information.

    Apply for an IRS Employer Identification Number

    This is helpful for tax records and reporting purposes.

    General

     

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