Farm Financial Templates - Free Downloads
We've developed these free templates specifically for small farm financial planning. Use them for general or annual financial planning, to accompany a business plan, or to meet the requirements for financial statements as listed on The Carrot Project's loan application checklist. The monthly templates are most useful for looking at 12 months of your business in detail, while the yearly templates are most useful for summarizing multiple years.
The following resources may help you find information to understand how to draft or improve your business plan and reach someone who can help you plan further.
We welcome feedback on this list as we try to make it as useful as possible. Please send any comments to info(at)thecarrotproject.org.
Each listing is preceded by its state abbreviation, a New England state or New York, or (M/S) for multi-state.
State Agricultural Business Guides
Many states have guides to running an agricultural business in that state that include information on state regulations, zoning, business and tax obligations, and resources for farmers.
(MA) MA does not have an official state guide, but the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project has a Massachusetts Agricultural Resource Guide.
(ME) The Maine Department of Agriculture has a guide in their FAQ’s on Farming in Maine under the question: “I want to farm in Maine, but I don't know how to get started. HELP!”
Business Planning Courses
Both classroom and online courses exist to help you write a business plan. If there is no course in your area, there are online courses and templates you may use.
(M/S) The Northeast Beginning Farmers Project, from Cornell University’s Small Farms Program, hosts online courses each winter. Topics include: Financial Record Keeping, Writing a Marketing Plan, and Understanding the Business, Regulatory and Tax Implications of farming
(NY) Hawthorne Valley Farm’s Hudson Valley Farm Beginnings Program offers a Whole Farm Planning Course each winter which includes developing enterprise budgets, an income and expense plan, and a marketing & pricing strategy.
(MA) The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project offers a Business Planning Course in which participants develop business plans and enterprise budgets, research their markets, evaluate the equipment & resources they need for their business, and develop crop plans
(VT) The Vermont New Farmer Project through UVM Extension offers business planning courses geared toward business at various stages: startups, 1-5 years, 5+ years. They also offer Ag Financial Management, and Whole Farm Planning for Women
(VT) Women’s Agricultural Network through UVM Extension offers courses including ‘Growing Places’ for those entering the farming world, and ‘Taking Stock’, a course for existing businesses to tune their operations
(ME) The Department of Food, Agriculture and Rural Resources offers Agricultural Business Development Courses including the FASTTRAC business training program and the NxLevel agricultural business planning program
(RI) Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management Division of Agriculture offers grants through its Farm Viability Program
Business Planning Online Templates and Guides
(M/S) The Northeast Beginning Farmers Project, from Cornell University’s Small Farms Program offers worksheets and templates embedded in online planning lessons where you can save work in your own online files. Start with the New Farmer Hub
(M/S) The Field Guide to the New American Foodshed through USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) offers Case Studies, One Page Business Plans, and a Decision Tree
(M/S) AGPLAN: The Agricultural, Fisheries, and Small Business Planning website provides step by step guided instructions to help rural business owners develop a business plan free of charge, through the resources of the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota
University Cooperative Extension Programs
University Cooperative Extension programs are great for assistance with technical information on various types of enterprises such as: dairy, animals, vegetables, fruits, and field crops. They have information on pest and disease management, and enterprise (start-up) budgets for various types of enterprises. They may also have staff available for reviewing farm plans and budgets, depending on the resources available in that state.
(ME) UME Cooperative Extension’s Tori Jackson works primarily in Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties, but also provides business assistance statewide. A popular link is their Small Business Education website and the most popular link is to the Virtual Resource Library
(NH) University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension provides various agricultural business management resources
(VT) University of Vermont’s Cooperative Extension offers Ag & Farm Management Resources and a Risk Management Blog and general business management and planning tools
(MA) University of Massachusetts’ Cooperative Extension offers a guide to its services
(CT) The University of Connecticut’s Cooperative Extension Service has a Farm Risk Management and Resource Library offers a variety of links that appeal to different types of farmers, and provides information for different skill levels
Small Business Development Centers
(M/S) Small Business Development Centers are located around the country and provide business planning assistance to all types of small businesses. Their services are free or low cost. Even if an office does not have agricultural expertise, they can still be of assistance in helping to put your business plan and financials together.
Business Planning Organizations & Consultants
These consultants can help you with planning for the startup, growth or transfer of your business
(M/S) Land for Good helps with a variety of land transfer needs for farmers, including evaluating parcels for the suitability of a given farm, helping to package applications or responses to calls for proposals for land, and working with parties in the land transfer process to ensure a successful transition
(NY) The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation offers detailed business planning services in the Hudson Valley, mostly in Columbia, Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties, but they may also work in nearby areas on a fee for service basis. They will work with any type of farm or agriculture-related business, of any business size. Start by inquiring about their Incubator Without Walls program
(M/S) Julia Shanks Food Consulting works with food and agricultural entrepreneurs to help them achieve and maintain financial sustainability. She offers both direct consulting services and a plethora of other tools for entrepeneurs, including video tutorials and downloadable templates. Businesses can access Julia Shanks’ consulting services by inquiring to her directly or through The Carrot Project’s business and financial technical assistance program.
Other Technical Assistance and Resources
(M/S) The Northeast Beginning Farmers Project, from Cornell University’s Small Farms Program hosts a map containing technical assistance providers from Maine through Maryland, broken out by provider category. Start with the ‘Business Planning’ category
(M/S) The Legal Services Food Hub, a project of the Conservation Law Foundation, provides transactional documents related to farm and food enterprises, including incorporation papers, contracts, leases, sales/purchases, etc.
(M/S) An excellent blog which offers comprehensive resources on Bookkeeping and Other Basics; Cash Flow Budgeting and Managing Debt; Small Farm and Ranch Income Taxes, and more. This blog, packed with useful information, is put together by Poppy Davis, National Program Leader, Small Farms & Beginning Farmers & Ranchers at the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach
(M/S) Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture provides technical assistance through special programs, workshops, one-on-one training sessions, farm visits, and referrals to farmers in Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden counties, MA. They offer many detailed resources applicable to a wider farmer audience including those on regulations: Food Safety and GAP, HACCP, and labor laws
(VT) Micro-Business Development Program provides technical assistance and training for low to moderate income Vermonters planning to start or expand a small business
Risk and Disaster Management
Farmers’ Legal Action Group provides disaster assistance resources including a Farmers' Guide to Disaster Assistance
Farm-Risk-Plans.usda.gov The USDA Risk Management Agency’s website designed to walk small to medium scale farmers or ranchers through every step of business and risk management planning. It will support farmers and ranchers who are starting a new business, managing or growing an existing business, or planning for succession