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Farm Income business plan help  RSS feed

 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 483
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Hello all.  My wife and I are in the process of writing a business plan for the startup of a permiculture homestead/B&B/Kennel operation.  Realistic financial information on activities posted throughout this and other forums is somewhat difficult to find.  I will list below the information I have gleaned on types of income streams.  What I am hoping to get is the benefit of experience this community has to put some realistic numbers to things.  I am asking because here in Ontario there is a program for Employment Insurance (government unemployment benefits for people not used to the euphemism our province currently favours) to get wage support for a year in starting a new business but it requires a full business plan.  If you do, have done in the past or personally know someone who does these things please fill in realistic values for materials needed, tools required, space needed (building or land), startup and ongoing costs, 1st year income vs established annual income, time input required and anything else you can that would help. 

In return I will compile the information and post a copy of the finished business plan for others to use, as well as a full compilation of what is shared so everything is in 1 place.  We will be setting up on 5 acres of land so if something isn't do-able, ie cannot be downsized, in that space please indicate that but post anyway for the benefit of other community members who might have more land.  To simplify things for you just post your experience and allow me the headache of resizing things for our projected business.  If your experience was in the past please give a date so I can factor in inflation.  Also, please don't worry about tools/skills we might have, if an idea is good tools can be bought and skills developed.  Some of the list are broad categories, eg organic vegetables, if you have info on specifics, eg edamame, feel free to give the specifics.  Here's the list, feel free to add anything I might have missed and I will edit this list periodically to have the complete list here at the start.

1) B&B
2) Boarding Kennel
3) Pet item sales (high quality food, homemade dog/cat treats, collars, leashes etc...)
4) Writing/photography (sell articles to magazines such as Mother Earth News)
5) Wood Working (twig furniture, pallet bird houses, scroll saw bookmarks etc...)
6) Homestead construction seminars
7) Organic foods and herbs
Partnerships with other business (eg we have a local specialty book store, sell their books at our location)
9) Used book store
10) Old style flea market (NOT selling modern cheap junk!)
11) Fresh/dried flowers
12) starter plants (eg heirloom tomatoes etc)
13) Craft Co-op (selling space for local artists)
14) 10 kW clean energy (Ontario has a feed in tariff program, solar is 83 cents per kWh, 13.8 cents for biomass etc.
15) Honey
16) sell personal carbon offsets (http://www.myemissionsexchange.com/Default.aspx)
17) Sell "fair trade" items such as coffee
1 coffee/tea house
19) specialty micro livestock (eg quail, angora rabbit, goat etc)
20) treen (wooden utensils)
21) paper crafts (eg homemade paper, cards etc...)
22) rag rugs
23) DIY wine, beer, mead etc
24) dried foods/ preserves
25) fresh eggs
26) tree removal/wood waste processing (eg can be made into firewood, tween, rustic furniture etc)
27) handmade soap
2 Maple and Birch syrup
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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Brilliant way to share, thank you. 

It will be fun to follow this thread.   

Is the 5 acres already yours?
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 483
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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gary gregory wrote:
Is the 5 acres already yours?


Not yet but this is our minimum.  A larger size may come but we aren't counting on it.
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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mekennedy1313 wrote:
Not yet but this is our minimum.  A larger size may come but we aren't counting on it.


So how do you deal with zoning [US term] issues as to what's allowed on the land in the business plan?
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 483
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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gary gregory wrote:
So how do you deal with zoning [US term] issues as to what's allowed on the land in the business plan?


We're looking for property in what is called an unorganized township.  In other words what zoning issues? 

Max
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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mekennedy1313 wrote:
Hello all.  My wife and I are in the process of writing a business plan for the startup of a permiculture homestead/B&B/Kennel operation.  Realistic financial information on activities posted throughout this and other forums is somewhat difficult to find.  I will list below the information I have gleaned on types of income streams.  What I am hoping to get is the benefit of experience this community has to put some realistic numbers to things.  I am asking because here in Ontario there is a program for Employment Insurance (government unemployment benefits for people not used to the euphemism our province currently favours) to get wage support for a year in starting a new business but it requires a full business plan.  If you do, have done in the past or personally know someone who does these things please fill in realistic values for materials needed, tools required, space needed (building or land), startup and ongoing costs, 1st year income vs established annual income, time input required and anything else you can that would help. 

In return I will compile the information and post a copy of the finished business plan for others to use, as well as a full compilation of what is shared so everything is in 1 place.  We will be setting up on 5 acres of land so if something isn't do-able, ie cannot be downsized, in that space please indicate that but post anyway for the benefit of other community members who might have more land.  To simplify things for you just post your experience and allow me the headache of resizing things for our projected business.  If your experience was in the past please give a date so I can factor in inflation.  Also, please don't worry about tools/skills we might have, if an idea is good tools can be bought and skills developed.  Some of the list are broad categories, eg organic vegetables, if you have info on specifics, eg edamame, feel free to give the specifics.  Here's the list, feel free to add anything I might have missed and I will edit this list periodically to have the complete list here at the start.

1) B&B
2) Boarding Kennel
3) Pet item sales (high quality food, homemade dog/cat treats, collars, leashes etc...)
4) Writing/photography (sell articles to magazines such as Mother Earth News)
5) Wood Working (twig furniture, pallet bird houses, scroll saw bookmarks etc...)
6) Homestead construction seminars
7) Organic foods and herbs
Partnerships with other business (eg we have a local specialty book store, sell their books at our location)
9) Used book store
10) Old style flea market (NOT selling modern cheap junk!)
11) Fresh/dried flowers
12) starter plants (eg heirloom tomatoes etc)
13) Craft Co-op (selling space for local artists)
14) 10 kW clean energy (Ontario has a feed in tariff program, solar is 83 cents per kWh, 13.8 cents for biomass etc.
15) Honey
16) sell personal carbon offsets (http://www.myemissionsexchange.com/Default.aspx)
17) Sell "fair trade" items such as coffee
1 coffee/tea house
19) specialty micro livestock (eg quail, angora rabbit, goat etc)
20) treen (wooden utensils)
21) paper crafts (eg homemade paper, cards etc...)
22) rag rugs
23) DIY wine, beer, mead etc
24) dried foods/ preserves
25) fresh eggs
26) tree removal/wood waste processing (eg can be made into firewood, tween, rustic furniture etc)
27) handmade soap
2 Maple and Birch syrup



OK,  so I have been thinking about how I can plug in to this thread and what I keep coming back to is, well... you first need infrastructure.  You need the first B of the B&B,  so what does that look like?  A 4 bedroom house or individual sleeping pods placed around the property?    Can you separate the kennel and the B&B enough to make folks comfortable?  My wife's former B&B took up a big part of her day, so how many people will be running the homestead?    A lot of items on your list have shared costs such as infrastructure.    All are good ideas by the way.


 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 483
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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We are aware of the obvious needs but lacking in actual numbers for any of these things.  The hope was that people who had done these would share actual start-up cost, anything unexpected that happened and annual cash flow information for each of the activities.  We aren't planning to implement them all but without some real numbers it's by guess and by god in writing the business plan and one doesn't know what to include.  If your wife had a B&B what were your start-up costs, (other than the obvious house and land), busy times, slack times, %of time with clients, anything that helped draw people and anything else that is directly applicable if you wouldn't mind sharing.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 21369
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Business plans ....  I've made a lot of those.

For something like this, I suggest that you figure on spending 30 hours on it.  And then pick a piece and start there. 

I think the folks here can help you evolve something, but you gotta do the first pass.

Take #15, for example.  Make a list of the startup equipment you will need.  And then make a list of any other expenses you expect you might see for the first year.  And a similar list for the second year.  Then map out your sales channels and what you hope to earn per unit - and total earnings.  Then add in that you hope to have quarterly workshops, and the income that brings in.  And maybe monthly enthusiast gatherings - as a marketing thing for all of your other products.

I think each item is gonna have its income and expense.  And then there will be the overall expenses for everything. 

 
Valerie Dawnstar
Posts: 296
Location: North Central New York
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mekennedy1313 wrote:
We're looking for property in what is called an unorganized township.  In other words what zoning issues? 

Max

I am not very rural so may be unaware of this kind of districting but what rural areas - agricultural - I know around here have directives about how many residences per property, sq. ft. size requirements, intended use of the land, etc. ...
Do you really have no such issues in a habitable area?
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 483
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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lavenderdawn wrote:
I am not very rural so may be unaware of this kind of districting but what rural areas - agricultural - I know around here have directives about how many residences per property, sq. ft. size requirements, intended use of the land, etc. ...
Do you really have no such issues in a habitable area?


Yes,the wilds of Northern Ontario have huge area's like this. Still have to meet national building codes but these are relatively simple and have hardly any restrictions. 
 
                                          
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Coool! I'm in the process of writing up a business plan for something similar, a permaculture farm. I want to have fruits, veggies, nuts, annual and perennial seedlings/cuttings, a few pigs, free range laying hens and ducks, and dairy goats and a few cows, plus bamboo and timber plots. Look forward to reading more about your endeavor!
 
Valerie Dawnstar
Posts: 296
Location: North Central New York
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If you haven't found it already, Richard Wiswall's "The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook" is a wealth of those kind of figures for which you are searching.  Also, I would recommend Joel Salatin's "You Can Farm, The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start and $ucceed in a Farming Enterprise" for livestock based numbers.
I, too, am now in the process of writing a farm business plan and since I am collecting unemployment insurance I should check with our local office and see if there might be some kind of assistance with this.
I am also studying Holistic Management which is heavy on the financial planning end.  (Sometimes more than I can grasp in a day   )  But I would recommend looking up any of their materials, too.  holisticmanagement.org 
Good luck!  Do keep us apprised.  Once I get mine completed - soon, I hope - I will share it.  It may be too large for the forum, though...   
 
Dustin Marsau
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I'm currently figuring out how to put a business together and have been struggling with it quite a bit. I was hoping to find a similar plan to look at so i know how to craft mine. I want to raise eggs, broilers, and a winter csa on the 1.7 acre urban lot i live on in portland, or. I have the organic farmers business plan book, and i got a start farming packet from terra firma farm, but im still confused! I guess part of it is i don't know how much food my 1/2 acre market garden will produce, & my gardening practices seem completely different from every template as i do not want to till annually... But the most difficult part is how to sum up how awesome and effective and important it is to farm this way, in order to market myself to the neighborhood & get a good price for my hard earned intelect & labor.

anyone got any suggestions?
 
Lance Wildwood
Posts: 41
Location: Sunshine Coast BC
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You might think of breeding good dogs as well. A decent akita sells for $1200.00! Rearing rabbits for dog food offsets the price of feed as well, our friends Burmese Mtn dogs eat ground rabbit as their main feed and the rabbits eat mostly salal! Makes sense since you seem to be a dog person...
 
Tara Jupp
Posts: 12
Location: Seattle, Wa
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I have been working on a plan like this in the Seattle area, but as a non-profit focusing on community education, community food provision, and as a research model for a variety of things.
I want to include livestock (cattle, sheep, rabbits, chicken, duck, pigs, maybe more), working forest for timber including nut trees, bamboo, etc, organic produce using permaculture/huegelkultur methods, and of course using all materials to produce goods for ourselves and to sell to raise funds for the farm.

There will be community gardens, free and low cost workshops, children's programs, worker training programs, and free/low-cost housing options (with work on the farm). One day I even hope to expand to have a retirement and nursing building, as well as a home for children, including those with special needs.
Obviously this is a project that will need a variety of skills and many people to function successfully. I hope to use this project as a thesis for my masters or PhD thesis at the UW, and will utilize that connection to obtain access to lab resources and networking.

Feel free PM me if this sounds interesting and you want to collaborate. My goal is 25-100 acres within an hour drive to the city (not counting traffic, hehe) to directly support 25+ people with surplus.


The project is in it's baby stages, but I will be happy to post a link when I get more info into an organized fashion.

I'm new but I LOVE this website XD
 
Mujahid Aprovecho
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Hi Tara,

For the past 30 years Aprovecho such a project. I would be happy to share whatever knowledge we have.

Mujahid A.
www.aprovecho.net
 
R Welsh
Posts: 5
Location: Pacific Northwest
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I think the most helpful business building block that I've found is the enterprise budget. Richard Wiswall in his book, "The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook" uses them to weed out unprofitable parts of businesses. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Most county extension office have free excel worksheets that list most items you'll need for that aspect of your business, you just fill out your costs.

That said, two things I've learned in business is:

Don't be married to your business plan. It needs to be flexible, so it can change with you and your market needs. And don't be afraid to update it.

Secondly, treat every one of those "elements" of you business as it's own business. They my share infrastructure and other things, but they are a business all unto themselves.

If you need help finding those enterprise budgets let me know and I can point you in the right direction. You'll have to fill out your local costs and wages.
 
Daniel Kern
Posts: 197
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This income statement is an approximation and so the numbers are slightly off. The costs sheet is a sheet I found on the internet and may help to get an idea of market prices of some goods.

Also I posted the rest of my business plan here

http://www.permies.com/t/35469/farm-income/Business-Plans#284427
Filename: IncomeStatement.pdf
File size: 68 Kbytes
Filename: prices.pdf
File size: 55 Kbytes
 
Jay Colli
Posts: 9
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
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I'm not sure what the provincial laws on facilitated brewing/vinting are in Ontario but providing the facilities and labour for private individuals became legal in NS a little over a year ago. Many, if not all, of the home brewing stores can now sell you a kit, ferment it for you and provide the bottling facilities, which has turned saved at least one smaller operation from bankruptcy - might be worth extra consideration!
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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I did not read the entire post, so I might be reiterating a few things here. I have not started a farm myself; I am still in high school. Nevertheless, I think these ideas are worth sharing because they could work. The reason why these ideas emphasize accumulating resources for composting is because whenever any food leaves your land, you are exporting nutrients and minerals off of your property. As a result, the land will be unsustainable and degrade overtime unless nutrients re-enter the property in some way. This is why conventional farms turn to fertilizers; they do not want to ask for help; they want to buy help.

Lumber companies will inevitably produce waste when collecting trees and making timber at the sawmill. This waste that they create must be handled and disposed of, and this costs them money. You can save them money, and you can make money yourself by asking them to bring their woodchips and other wood-waste (e.g. sticks, branches) to your property or offer to meet up with them and dispose of their wood waste for them.

Talk to local arborists and see if they will give you their wood-waste for free.

Talk to local grocery stores and ask them for any food that has gone bad.

Talk to Starbucks for their coffee grounds.

If there is not a local organic waste collection unit, you could offer your services to the public and collect the organic waste in your neighborhood or setup receptacles for collection for everyone. This diverts the organic matter from the landfills which saves the municipal government money.

Talk with municipal government offices and ask them for times and locations of when they will be trimming trees and plants beside powerlines and offer to collect that from them.

*****The only thing I think you may want to be concerned about with this is that you may not know what other people are doing to their land when accept a waste stream from per say another farm or a sewage plant. You will be responsible for researching the waste streams that you accept and making sure they match your criteria. There is always the chance of importing pathogens. So please be careful.*****

If you are scared or worried about asking any of the people/groups I have listed, here is a great TEDtalk by Amanda Palmer about the art of asking:


I hope your farm works well. Also, just ask anyone who you can think of that might produce an organic waste stream and offer to take what they do not want. This would help you and them, and remember to do your research if you do choose to accept waste streams. Best of wishes to you!
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
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Very good points Dave Burton and from someone so young. These ideas can help everyone on any size farm/homestead. Thank you for sharing.
 
James Burnette
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I'll be watching this. I'm making the homestead move soon and want to make it profitabe
 
Scott Strough
Posts: 299
Location: Oklahoma
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Here is something I worked up for OK and TX. I originally intended to tackle details small scale first, then move to around 10-25 acres, then 100 acres+ Basically a start small at the bottom and work my way up. However, I had an offer which fell through, for a section, so I built a plan for that and already in beef production, I had to do the plan to start at the top and work down. Still many variables, but I can give you an idea of the materials you will need and a very basic plan of action.

The VERY first thing we do is find out the current average yearly cow days per acre for the property as it is being run now. Second thing we do is establish a baseline by sampling the soil and vegetation. This is what we will monitor.

Next step is a topographical map to determine keylines.

Then we use keyline design to establish paddocks of the size needed to allow forage for 1-3 days. Those paddocks will be established with portable electric fencing and water supply. Cost is about 50-100 dollars per acre if we can gravity feed all the better, and will allow a Managed Intensive Rotational Grazing system to be established. Right off the bat first year that means an average of 50%-100% increase in forage availability. IE Doubling the average yearly cow days per acre. This is primarily due to the "second bite" principle. ie, the herds are not allowed a second bite on the same grass plant, allowing it to recover before the paddock is grazed again. This sparks very vigorous growth.

Read more about the specifics here: "Pastures for profit: A guide to rotational grazing"Pastures for profit

As you can see by the charts, the time to make hay is at the peak growing season when the cattle can't keep up, and then the hay is used to supplement during low growth periods to avoid over grazing. One of the many benefits of this type of grazing system is that the quality of the forage (and thus the hay too) gradually and naturally increases over time due to the "mob mowing effect" causing higher level successional species of grass and high quality forbs to thrive and dominate.

This part is well proven, there are university guides published like the one I linked earlier. And I even have contacts in Texas using it now that can help me establish that portion of the management plan.

Next step is incorporating multiple species into the livestock plan. One certain to be needed is chickens, specifically hens for egg production. They are highly important to the grazing plan as clean-up and pest control. They follow the cattle paddocks 3 days after the herds move and eat fly larvae and ticks etc. plus many other insects like grasshoppers that can harm pasture, and spreading the cow manure as they scratch for bugs. They also provide a second revenue stream on the same land actually improving productivity of the pasture for cattle. Other possibilities are sheep and goats to clear brushy areas and/or areas taken over by invasives, allowing them to return to good pasture, hogs if there are wooded areas, possibly turkeys if we can find a market.

Materials needed for that is feathernet electric fencing, a portable "egg mobile" (for poultry only), feeders for grain supplements and water. If there are wooded areas, we can probably make an "egg mobile" on site with native materials pretty cheap with a mobile band saw mill.

This part is also well proven. Polyface Farms developed and perfected this technique in a scale-able way to any size business model. Read more here: Polyface Farms

Next is integrating vegetable and grain production into the plan. I would start with one paddock established by the above plan. Year 1 use the techniques I am working on in a small scale this year. ie The no till mulch and hay and start with a good market crop for the area. Tomatoes will need stakes for a Florida weave, other crops not so much. The spacing of course depends on the vegetable crop. The paddock will be grazed like any other paddock with the exception of just prior to preparation for veggies. Then we use the "second bite" principle the opposite way. After it is grazed, and followed by chickens, when the strips we intend to use for veggie production are using their reserves for regrowth at at their weakest, we mow the strips very low then paper and mulch. (leaving taller unmolested pasture between rows). Those pasture strips will be used to raise broilers in "chicken tractors". Also can be used for grass clippings for mulch, compost etc. With feather net fencing can raise egg layers too, even potentially smaller grazers like meat rabbits. You can get an idea how that works from Polyface too.

I would start with just chickens though. And make my rows 4 feet wide and the pasture between them 12 feet wide, and 350 feet long. So each 10X12 chicken tractor will travel 10 feet a day times 35 days (the days on pasture for a broiler to make market weight) This allows the animals to be out of the paddock when veggies are being picked.

When the paddock is finished with it's crop, the paddock can be used whole again to allow the animals to clean up.

The following year, we use 2 paddocks. Think of a rotational cropping system. What grew tomatoes this year can grow corn the next. Then beans the following year and 3 paddocks in crop production. The new one in tomatoes, next one corn and third beans. Next year four used tomatoes, corn, beans, wheat....and so on and so on until you put the first back into pasture (fallow except for grazing)....and then start the rotation over again. This should help prevent diseases and pest buildups.

That's how I see this working on acreage up to the size of a section or more. In your case it may be necessary to simply take whatever parts fit the scale you ultimately obtain. Sure to be many rough edges to work out. But, that's the basic plan. There may also be areas we could look at establishing perennials, orchards or a "food forest" if applicable to the land. Every area would be slightly different that way. The idea is to use biomimicry, substituting food crops of domestic species for what naturally would be growing in the area. This way we are working with nature instead of fighting against nature, which requires much less effort and yields far more productivity on average.

And here was my plan for that section fleshed out slightly more but it is still just an outline without specific numbers applied, I posted in another forum for others who were following the progress of my project.. Some of it is a repeat. Sorry for that, but I couldn't assume that anyone reading it had followed my project.

I want to briefly explain the concept first, so that the plan can be better understood. This can best be described as a rotational system. The animals will be raised in a rotational grazing system, and the plants in a rotational cropping system. Both these systems will be managed using a holistic management plan. In addition, the paddocks for grazing and the fields for crops will be somewhat interchangeable as they will be rotated as well. So a grazing paddock and a crop field actually could be at times the same parcel of land, even in some cases at the same time. In other cases a fallow field will be an active grazing paddock. The management of the rotation is the key. This allows "weeds" in a cropping system to be "forage" in a grazing system. "Waste" in a grazing system to be "fertilizer" in a cropping system. And pest control in both systems, food for chickens. This integration of the two is the main thing my project is attempting to solve.
Rotational grazing is well proven, rotational cropping is well proven. Integrating the two on the same land at the same time and sometimes even in the same fields at the same time is what is missing. The reason why it is missing is the difficulty in carefully controlling and managing it to avoid the animals eating the crops. However, with new breakthroughs in rotational grazing made by innovators like Alan Savory, Joel Salatin and Dan Undersander and a new cropping system being developed by me (but heavily influenced by innovators in organic and permaculture like Bill Mollison, Sepp Holzer and helen atthowe, ) I believe that the two can be integrated increasing the productivity of both on the same land at the same time. This is what my project is all about.
Principle 1: No till and/or minimal till with mulches used for weed control
Principle 2: Minimal external inputs
Principle 3: Living mulches to maintain biodiversity
Principle 4: Companion planting
Principle 6: The ability to integrate carefully controlled modern animal husbandry
Principle 5: Capability to be mechanized for large scale or low labor for smaller scale
Principle 7: As organic as possible, while maintaining flexibility to allow non-organic growers to use the methods
Principle 8: Portable and flexible enough to be used on a wide variety of crops in many areas of the world
Principle 9: Sustainable ie. beneficial to the ecology and wildlife
Principle 10: Profitable

Plan with 3 subsections:
The subsections will be constantly rotated and occasionally even doing double or triple duty.

1) Vegetable production
a) Grazing paddocks will be converted to crop fields by using a no-til mulching system I developed using large round bales of hay rolled over commercial sized rolls of paper weed barrier. Because chickens will be integrated into these fields the row structure is designed to allow room for them between the mulched rows. Thus the mulched rows will be 4 feet wide to accommodate the hay bales and the distance between the mulched rows will be 12 feet to accommodate the 10X12 mobile chicken cages (hereafter referred to as "chicken tractors"). The rows will be 350 feet long because the time on pasture is 35 days for broilers. When the time comes to rotate a crop field back into a grazing paddock, a no-til seed drill will be used.
b) The first season of the annual crop rotation will be "seedling" crops like Tomatoes, Peppers, Brassicas etc. The exact crops will be determined by the water availability, soil, other local growing conditions and market.
c) The second season of annual crops will be a soil restoring blend of annual cover crop of legumes and forbs, doubling as good forage for animals and soil building. The thick mulch and first seasons crop residue will be broken down by the use of animals to clean up. Then a no-til seed drill will plant.
d) Successive season's crops will be a rotation of legumes and direct seed crops like beans and corn and seedling crops. Again the exact crops will be determined by water availability, soil, other local growing conditions and market.
e) At least one or more rotations will include grains as feed supplements for the animals.
f) At least one or more rotations will include high quality legume hay.
g) The last crop before returning the field to pasture will be an annual legume like alfalfa blended with reseeding native high quality pasture perennials planted with a no-til seed drill. And will be used to make high quality hay.
h) Fertilizer will be made by composting the bedding/manure from the chicken brooders and directly in the field by decomposition of animal wastes and mulches as well as "fixed" nitrogen from legume crops.

Please note that the first year there will be only 1 paddock/field in crop production. The second year 2, next year 3 and so on.... because you can't easily plant using a no-til seed drill without first killing the "weeds" in 4 foot strips with the mulching technique I developed.

2) Raising cattle, and other meat source animals.
a) Cattle will be raised in a system of Managed Intensive Rotational Grazing using holistic management. This is done by using portable electric fencing to create small paddocks and moving the cattle to a new paddock each day. The size of the paddock is determined by the forage available and the size of the herd. Details of the exact way that is determined can be found here: Undersander, Dan et. al. "Pastures for profit: A guide to rotational grazing, University of Wisconsin Extension.
b) Chickens will be sub-divided into broilers and egg layers
1) Broilers take 8 weeks to raise, 3 weeks in the brooder and 5 weeks on pasture. I will need a building of some type for the brooder. The broilers will then go to the chicken tractors @75 per tractor. The tractor will be moved daily for 35 days through the crop fields between the rows. They will forage the plants and insects and also be fed grain.
2) Egg layers also require a brooder to start but instead of going to a chicken tractor they will go to an egg mobile with shelter, roosting areas, and nest boxes; and free range the grazing paddocks. Each egg mobile will house approximately 1,500 hens. The hens will be contained by portable feathernet electric fencing. The egg mobile will also be moved daily into paddocks vacated 3 days earlier by the cattle. This allows them to forage for insects and new shoots of pasture plants, providing both pest control and reducing grain costs.
c) Eventually the grain supplements required by the animals will be grown by the rotation in the crop fields. However, in the beginning we will have to buy feed until the creation of crop fields by rotation is complete.

Please note I plan to start with cattle and chickens. Additional species can be experimented with and added in later years as appropriate, but the basic system starts with the symbiotic relationship between the herbivore (cattle) and an omnivore (chickens) and the land. The exact herbivore and the exact omnivore will vary depending on what the farmer/rancher is most familiar with, lives well in the specific climate, and has a good market available. In this case the herbivore is cattle, but there is no reason someone else couldn't use sheep or any other herbivore.


3) Hay production.
a) Grass hay will be made from paddocks just after peak seasonal growth when the cattle can't keep up with the growth in their daily rotation. This is also explained in Pastures for profit: A guide to rotational grazing.
b) Higher quality grass/alfalfa blend premium hay will be made in the crop fields when they are in their last rotation before being turned back into pasture and from cover crop blends grown between vegetable crop seasons.
c) All hay will be made by standard 4 foot round bale machinery.
d) Hay will be used for feeding animals, bedding in the brooders, and mulching the crop fields for weed control.
e) Excess hay can be sold as an extra income stream when available.

Please note if you start the project with rotational grazing first, and don't start the crop production until after hay is made, you will never need buy hay. But if you want to start crop production right away, hay will need to be purchased.

4) Start up materials needed:
a) Electric fencing, both wire and feathernet.
b) Building for a brooder.
c) Chicken tractors 10 X 12 or materials to build them
d) Egg mobile or materials to build it
e) Standard farm equipment and tools like tractor, quad runner, truck, wagon, trailer etc
f) Specialized farm equipment for planting and harvesting like no-til drill, hay baling equipment, combine etc
g) Housing for myself and/or laborers/ranch hands.
h) Barns for storing equipment materials and/or crops
i) Feeders and waterers for the animals
j) Greenhouse or equivalent
k) Specially trained guard dogs for predator control
l) irrigation

A lot of these materials can be double use. For example: The greenhouse or one of the other buildings could be used as the brooder for the chickens when not in use starting seedlings, or even a barn used for equipment storage could have an attached room for a greenhouse. A truck trailer could potentially double as a wagon or vice versa. The irrigation system could also be part of the animal watering system. Also a lot of these materials you may already have, or can borrow/rent. Things like that. Specifics will vary according to each individual plot of land. That was obviously for a section, but if anything, smaller scale is much easier. A lot of the expenses on infrastructure and equipment that are needed for a section can be done with manual labor on something as small as 5 acres. In my area, $10,000 an acre profit for tomatoes is realistic at retail 3 dollars per pound price I am getting. Your market may vary. I have seen ranges from .50 to 5.00 per pound. Organic heirloom generally gets the best price per pound. I haven't integrated the animals into my system yet. It is designed for it, but there are some issues with the farmer I lease from not wanting animals. So I mow with a mower instead of graze. If anything grazing should bump profitability per acre even higher, by turning an expense into an additional revenue stream.

Oh and I found this on the net. It is not made by me but could be a resource for you.





 
alex Keenan
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A Start to finish guide to opening a bed & breakfast:
The business plan.
Ellen A. Fredette
Bachelor of Science
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
2004

http://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1508&context=thesesdissertations
 
Gail Gardner
Posts: 77
Location: SE Oklahoma
duck forest garden hugelkultur
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Max Kennedy wrote:Here's the list, feel free to add anything I might have missed and I will edit this list periodically to have the complete list here at the start.


The first thing I would do is prioritize what order you plan to develop these ideas in. When I advise small businesses on their marketing, that is the first step. Choose whatever you believe will be most profitable that you have the resources to get up and running and focus on that until it is making money. You want to do one thing exceptionally well and not a lot of things in a mediocre manner. Then expand.

Chickens would be a good first step because you can eat them and their eggs and there is typically a ready market for them just about anywhere.

Watch Marcus Lemonis' The Profit shows. They were up on Hulu and you can find a lot of his information up on YouTube. Try this search https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=marcus+lemonis&page=&utm_source=opensearch

Lemonis talks about the 3 Ps you have to get right: People, Process and Product. Binge watching his videos could help you avoid a lot of pitfalls other businesses have fallen into.

One book I gave as a gift to the owners of a couple organic farms I know that they found useful is Making Your Small Farm Profitable: Apply 25 Guiding Principles/Develop New Crops & New Markets/Maximize Net Profits Per Acre by Ron Macher. I noticed that one of them has it out regularly so I know he is using it in his planning.
 
Alicia Winkler
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I have never written a business plan. About a year ago, I started on one, but stalled out. I am so lost, so I will come back and read, carefully, through these tips. I wish there was a place to look at really good small farm biz plans, so I know I am even going about it right.
 
Ray Moses
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Location: Brighton, Michigan
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You have too broad of a plan there for people to give you numbers for start ups. Seems like there would be good numbers for B & B. The other ventures won't be money makers to pay for property and are too low of income producer and too much risk.
 
Pascal Paoli
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A good alternative to a classical business plan is the "business model canvas" google that and you will find a template with 9 fields. Each field has questions assigned that you should answer yourself. Very useful tool. And I think it makes it easier to start.
https://strategyzer.com/canvas/business-model-canvas
If your bank still insists on a classical one, this canvas will help you do that as well, since you are going to collect all important aspects in one place.
 
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