Farm Management Canada Publications

Featured Publications

Farm Business Planning: Understanding, Preparing & Using

Farm Financial Records: A Guide to Managing For Success

Comprehensive Guide to Managing Risk in Agriculture

Managing People On Your Farm

All Publications A-Z

A Primer on Agri-Food Marketing:
Sector Profiles and Case Studies

This publication is a component of a Marketing Resource Toolkit designed to help producers improve their marketing skills.

In addition, this publication presents an introductory profile of the marketing issues facing 12 agricultural commodities produced in Canada. It also presents seven marketing case studies of unique individuals who have successfully established or extended their farm businesses within the Canadian agri-food marketplace.

Agriculture & Agri-Business Structures:
A Practical Guidebook

Agriculture and Agri-Business Structures is a practical guidebook to increase awareness of the various for-profit business structures as well as structures suitable for service and support organizations. This guidebook includes real-life examples, which illustrate why people choose certain organizational structures, as well as guidelines to determine, which structures may meet your needs. Also included inside are detailed descriptions of individual organizational structures, comparisons of various structures in key areas and valuable resources and references.

Building Added Value through Farm Diversification

No matter where you farm in Canada, the long-term sustaining of your business is the top management priority. The historical economics, strategies and philosophies that created success of mono-crop agriculture production systems are today working against many family farms. An aggressive global market place, retail food sector consolidations and the shift to central ordering and distribution are creating barriers to supplying traditional agriculture markets. Innovative farm and ranch entrepreneurs are actively seeking ways to reinvent agriculture and create sustainable profits and fair returns for their farm production. Many business are exploring the diversification into new enterprises or the addition of value to existing enterprises to create value to both the consumer and the farm business. Selling agricultural products as a commodity leaves value in the food chain that may be captured by the innovative producer. The opportunities available to Canadian farm businesses is only limited by ones thinking.

This book is a journey along the diversification pathway that explores the opportunities of value adding by a farm business. It is meant to stimulate thought and precipitate action. It provides examples of successful farm business ventures across Canada and draws on the experience of entrepreneurs to assist and guide you. Building added value through farm diversification provides real opportunity for those that can recognize them and assemble the vision, resources and spirit necessary to create success. Every new beginning requires a first step; this book can be your first step to a new and sustainable farm future.

Building an Effective Farm Management System Guidebook

Farm Management Canada and Wittman Consulting have released the Building an Effective Farm Management System Guidebook now available as a digital download or in the classic binder format.

With more than 100 pages of new content, including twice as many editable worksheets, the Guidebook is a valuable investment for farm managers and advisors alike. The new version combines conceptual content with working illustrations that give readers a clear vision of how to document and put key concepts into daily practice.

Comprehensive Guide to Managing Risk in Agriculture

Do you know all the risks facing your farm and farm family? Do you wish there was a way to identify and mitigate the negative impact of risk? Are you interested in turning risk into your competitive advantage? This guide will help you become more aware of all the risks to your business and give you the tools to make the shift from just ‘handling’ risks to implementing a strategic approach to risk management.

A comprehensive approach to risk management will both mitigate possible negative impacts of risk and position farm managers to benefit from potential opportunities and gain the competitive advantage. This resource guide is also practical for training and education on risk management in various agricultural contexts (academia, government and workshop facilitators) including not only concrete methods of dealing with various elements of risk management at the farm level, but tools and strategies that go beyond the standard financial aspects (insurance, income protection, etc.) and include environmental issues, food safety issues, weather and climate related issues, global markets, human resources, consumer pressures, changes to government policy, to name a few.

Cultivating Agritourism: Tools & Techniques for Building Success

Cultivating Agritourism: Tools and Techniques for Building Success contains thirteen chapters and an extensive resources appendix containing a wide range of websites and printed materials suited to “ cultivating agritourism”. Each of these easy-to-read chapters contain practical management information, as well as case studies and vignettes that are used to illustrate best practices related to the theme being presented.

In combination, these case studies highlight agritourism management practices from each and every province in Canada, as well as the Yukon. In addition, there are included some exemplary cases from the United States. The information in this publication can help farmers and ranchers evaluate, plan and manage successful agritourism business opportunities. It can also assist community and commercial organizations understand how to benefit from agritourism development in their region. There are practical tools and techniques that can be put to use immediately.

Farm Business Planning: Understanding, Preparing & Using

This resource will stimulate better business planning by ranchers and farm managers whether they prepare the plans themselves or with the assistance of advisors. The authors’ objective is to illustrate the value of creating and using a business plan as an important business management tool to reduce risk and increase profits on the farm. They wrote to simplify the creation of business plans and the planning process to encourage more farm businesses to develop business plans. A business plan is a critical business management tool for meeting with investor’s, lenders, business partners and family members.

All the elements of a business plan are described in a simple way to enable you to create a plan for your business; these elements include the business profile, the operational plan, the marketing plan, the human resources plan and the financial plan. There are mini profiles of Canadian farm managers who have created and use “business plans” as an essential management tool in their business.

Farm Financial Records: A Guide to Managing For Success

This easy-to-read publication provides an introductory understanding of farm financial records, no matter what type of crop or livestock enterprise you operate. The authors walk you through the key elements of each farm financial statement and what these statements tell you. Even if you do not personally maintain your financial records or produce your financial statements, it is important that you understand what these records and statements are telling you, so you can make more informed decisions and better manage your farm business. While many farm businesses file their income tax and government reports using the cash method of accounting, this publication will explain the benefits of also preparing, or having prepared, your financial statements on an accrual basis. Accrual accounting will allow you to better control and do a more meaningful analysis of your business through financial statements, ratio analyses, comparison of your farm business today to previous years and to benchmark farms in the industry. This publication is appropriate for beginning farmers, more experienced farm managers, agricultural university and college educators, farm advisors, agricultural extension personnel, lenders and agriculture students

Farmers Working with Farmers: The Power of Groups

Farmers, throughout their working lives, develop valuable expertise, especially about “what really works” on the farm. Working in groups multiplies the value of that knowledge as their members trade experiences with other farmers and engage in joint strategizing and problem-solving. The group context also greatly enhances the ability to learn from outside experts, published reports and government advisors. This is not a new idea, but it has a modern twist to it. Rural Canada has over a hundred years’ worth of experience with soil and crop associations, plowing matches, country fairs, cattle clubs, and cooperatives, just to name a few examples. However, these days, it seems that farmers are thinking about the value of farmer-led groups in new ways. They are more focused on management techniques, innovation, reacting to evolving markets, finance and optimizing human resources. The group must provide the producer with a direct benefit to demonstrate value.

Farming With Neighbours

The ability to develop and maintain effective, harmonious relationships with neighbours, the government and the media is becoming increasingly important to Canadian farmers’ competitiveness and prosperity. “Farming with Neighbours” explains how to avoid and solve disagreements. Written in consultation with producers from across Canada, the book is full of practical tips from farmers and advice from conflict management experts. It will help you understand the dynamics and patterns common to all conflicts, explain how to prevent conflict from occurring and help manage conflict when it erupts. Included is a special section on communication skills. An essential tool to keep conflict from interfering with your business.

Introduction to Certified Organic Farming

Introduction to Certified Organic Farming provides current information on certification and conversion steps, soil, crop and livestock management, as well as processing and marketing. This book will appeal to a broad audience including conventional farmers considering converting to organic, novice organic farmers, as well as processors and marketers. It is also directed at the growing number of people working in the organic food system, whether they are policy makers, produce managers or check-out clerks, who want to learn more about the products they handle. The motivation, farming practices and experiences of an extremely rich and diverse cross section of organic farmers are described in farm profiles from each province.

Managing Market Risk

Managing market risk has never been more important for farmers than it is now. And it is vital for farm managers to have a good understanding of the risk management tools that are available. “Managing Market Risk” is an at-home study guide that will provide a good, basic understanding of futures, options and cash markets. Clear examples of each along with definitions of terminology are provided.

Managing People On Your Farm

This handbook will help you: – to recruit better employees – to supervise, motivate and train you employees to reach desired performance; and – to discipline and dismiss employees should that be required Applying the principles and methods contained herein will help you achieve sound human resource management practices which can result in increased productivity, reduced staff turnover, and satisfied employees and managers. This publication should also prove useful to advisors, consultants and trainers working in the agricultural management field. A video entitled ‘Managing People on Your Farm’ can be used in conjunction with this book and is available from Farm Management Canada.

Managing the Multi-Generational Family Farm

The material in the book is organized in building blocks, and is best viewed in order so each section builds on the previous one. The first few sections deal with the management of the all-important ‘family component’ followed by the management of the business component and ending with the management of the succession process. Each section provides strategies that will facilitate the activities in the subsequent sections.

Marketing on the Edge: A Marketing Guide for Progressive Farmers

Easy to read and well organized, this 162-page booklet outlines how you can launch a processing business and sell products directly to the public. Statistics show strong growth potential for managers who decide to “do it on their own.” Natural products, for example, such as organic foods, functional foods and supplements, are a $45 billion US industry and growing 20% per year. At the farm level, the trend towards healthier eating has been evidenced in the sales of garlic between 1970 and 1992, up 8.51% (USDA food Consumption Prices and Expenditures). Marketing on the Edge explores how to approach a wide range of direct marketing businesses such as meat markets, wineries and much more. All related topics are covered including processing, merchandising and promotion (see table of contents below). Special sections on the role of the Internet for your business are included.

Ontario Farm Record Book

There is no substitute for using the right tool for the right job. This record book is the most valuable tool you can use in helping to make sound financial and other management decisions. It will show you the results of your management in dollars and cents. Maintaining accurate farm business records will yield high returns for the time spent. Your farm profits are earned by good management of high producing crops and livestock. This record book is designed to meet the needs of commercial farms. It is simple, yet complete enough to provide details for tax purposes, for credit and for an analysis of your farm business. Adjust column headings to suit your needs.

Record Keeping for Organic Growers

Farmers want to be in their fields, not at a desk. But organic farmers are required to maintain a complete audit trail, and that requires organized record keeping. In this book, you will find suggestions for reducing your time in the office; examples from field crop, livestock, market garden and on-farm processing operations; templates; and lots of advice from certifiers, inspectors and most of all, farmers.

The Knowledge Guide: Best Management Practices of Leading Farmers

The Knowledge Guide is an excellent summary of agri-food best management practices used in Canada. Best Management Practices (BP) is the idea of seeking out the “best of the best” business concepts and adapting those ideas into your business. Many industries have researched, analyzed and identified the keys that can be used for sustainable growth and survival in the global economy. Businesses today, in any sector in any country have to consider these ideas within their own resource mix and business strategy.

Working Together…”Case Studies Report”

Designed for farm families and their advisors, Working Together follows a farm family in the transfer of their farm. The essential legal, tax and financial ramifications are all addressed, as is the important consideration of human dynamics. Various potential scenarios are outlined including the problems associated with failing to plan for transfer, selling the farm, and reorganizing the business. Included are 15 sample agreements and checklists, such as shareholder agreement and a future planning checklist, to address the potential outcomes. Written under the direction of five experienced farm succession experts, Working Together is a must-have reference for every farm family and advisor.