Professional Development Program






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Unit 3: Managing the Farm/Ranch Business for Long-Term Success


Farmers and consultant discuss farm management issues on a Mississippi organic vegetable farm. (Beverly Mosely, USDA NRCS)
Once a business is up and running and has made it through the initial start-up phase, managers often begin thinking about growing the business. During this phase, good managers revisit their initial goals, SWOT analysis and business plan in order to determine what changes are needed if the business is going to expand successfully. Managers should also establish a process of continuous assessment whereby they monitor their progress, noting both successes and failures. This phase might also involve additional investments in land, livestock, equipment or buildings.

In working with farmers and ranchers on their business growth ideas, keep in mind that growth does not just mean expanding acreage and increasing production. For farmers and ranchers involved in sustainable agriculture, growth can mean:
  • reclaiming more of the value chain (adding value, not acres)
  • providing more on-farm jobs
  • reducing stress
  • eliminating risks
It is important that you spend time learning about the farmer’s personal and business goals for the growth phase.
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