Last updated: Feb. 22, 2017
Looking to Start a Small Farm?
Canadian agriculture continues to be financially strong with a lot of opportunities for growth. As a result, more and more people are drawn to starting a small- to medium-scale farming business.
After all, it can be exciting to dream about deciding what you want to grow, being self-employed, raising animals, and working with your hands.
But it takes more than a dream and passion for growing things to operate a successful farm.
Below are some top tips for starting a small farm business in Canada.
Farmer, Know Thyself
Before you head out on your own and start a small farming business, you need to conduct a thorough self-assessment.
Educate yourself on the farming industry in your province and deciding what your core farming operations will be.
Talk to farmers, and attend workshops, seminars, and tradeshows. You can also join a mentorship program or work on a farm to gain practical experience.
If you’re looking to develop the skills you need to start a farm, it might be a good idea to look into agricultural, business, and marketing courses available at a local university or college.
Identify the Market
To operate a successful agribusiness, you need to have a target audience.
You might want to raise cattle or grow artichokes, but you need to match the land to its suited needs and have ready customers at hand.
Before you till the soil, buy a cow, or shear a ewe, figure out what you’re going to sell, where you’re going to sell it, who is going to buy it, and how you’re going to do it.
Talk to other farmers, consult regulatory agencies, etc., because without appropriate sales channels, your small farm startup might never take off.
Set Realistic Goals
Consider your own goals. What does it mean to own a successful agribusiness?
The decisions you make early on will steer the direction of your small farm business.
For example, maybe you want to grow the business but also spend more time with your family. This can be tough to do as growing the farm will mean committing more time to the business.
Partnering with another farm might mean a loss of control and independence, but it could lead to efficiencies that help expand the business and allow you to spend more time with your family.
Have a solid marketing plan in place well in advance of starting your small farm business.
Networking will help you work more closely with those along your supply chain, understand what your customers need, and keep an eye on emerging agribusiness technology and opportunities.
Things that can only happen when you stay connected, whether that means networking with grower groups, subscriptions, attending events, or social media.
Understand Your Finances
You might want to start a farm to work with the land, but owning an agribusiness also means understanding your financial situation.
Know your cost of production and cash flow situation.
If possible, try out an alternative financial arrangement, including joint ventures with those in your supply chain.
Weigh out the pros and cons of buying and leasing farm equipment, and keep up to date with economic forecasts and interest rates.
All of this will have a major impact on the financial success of your farm.
FBC, Helping Canadian Farmers with Tax Planning
Starting a small- to medium-sized agribusiness is a lot of work. To succeed, it’s important to have the right information, appropriate skills, and strong desire to see the big picture.
It also means having a strong financial and business tax plan in place.
The tax experts at FBC have worked exclusively with Canadian farmers and small business owners since 1952. Over those 65 years, we have helped tens of thousands of Members minimize their income taxes and maximize their assets.
Why are FBC tax experts the top choice for Canadian farmers and small business operators? FBC is the only firm in Canada that offers integrated tax services on a year-round Membership basis.
For a fixed fee, you get access to tax planning, tax preparation, business consultation, bookkeeping, accounting, and financial planning services.
To ensure your books are in order, FBC provides all new Members a review of their previous 3 years’ tax returns.
For more information on how an FBC tax consultant can help your farm or small business prepare and file your annual income taxes, call us today at 1-800-265-1002 or submit an online form and an FBC tax specialist will contact you at your earliest convenience.