Whew! Starting a farm is anything but easy. We've found some really helpful resources and wanted to share them with you. We're still learning and growing but these resources have helped us so much along the way. So if you are trying to start your farm business, this article is for you.
Small Business Administration --
I cannot stress this enough. Contact your local SBA office and ask any questions that you may have. They have resources and programs to help you write your business plan, financial plans, and so much more. Your counselor will be able to tell you what type of business licensure you need and what is required by your state for filing to be a legitimate farm business. They will also have information on if you need special licensure to sell things like eggs, flowers, and fruits and veggies. If you are a minority, Veteran, disabled, etc there are benefits and programs especially for you that can help jumpstart your business. They have information about grants that you may qualify and staff to help you apply for those grants. One of the things that helped us the most was our SBA counselor gave us information about local programs and organizations to help with networking like Nevada Grown and Made in Nevada. A lot of these things we probably would have found about eventually during our process of getting started but it was super convenient to get the head start.
U.S. Department of Agriculture --
They have TONS of information for beginning farmers. It is almost overwhelming the amount of information that you can find on their website. USDA can also help with land acquisition loans, farm financing, and other grants and programs as well. They also provide information on farm business plans and resources available too.
Also, check with your state department of agriculture, they will be able to help you obtain any certificates and licenses that your state or city may require as well. For example, a cottage food license to be able to sell homemade breads, etc.
This is an USDA website but again, TONS of information for beginning farmers. Tons of articles about everything from planting seeds to acquiring equipment to figuring out what to grow and how to process it. Information overload.
National Center for Appropriate Technology --
This website has such good information on Sustainable Agricultural practices and how to farm while protecting the environment. The offer lots of different programs and learning opportunities as well. Again, (broken record) information overload here too.
If you are a Veteran, take advantage and apply for the Armed to Farm program. It is free and the wealth of information that we have already received from this program is going to give us a huge leap forward in our farming journey.
Farmer Veteran Coalition --
Even if you aren't a Veteran you can take advantage of some of the information that they have on the website. There are tons of links to websites with information on different topics. If you are a Veteran, sign up to be a part of their organization. Once you become a part of the coalition you can sign up for your Homegrown by Heroes certification which is an amazing benefit. You can use their logo and that certification to help build your credibility as a farm business and network with other Veteran Farmers in your area.
There are so many more resources available but these 5 are the ones that have been the most helpful for us in starting our journey. If you know of some other places that have been super beneficial for you, drop them in the comments section and help out your fellow farmer!