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Farming Business Basics

A collection of tools, guides and information related to the business of agriculture. These resources are designed to help producers establish and sustain a profitable farm business

Getting Started with Farming

Get Started! A Guide to USDA Resources for Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers
Get Started! A Guide to USDA Resources for Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers is a multi-agency publication that provides information on assistance and targeted opportunities available to minority, women, veteran, beginning and limited resource producers.

How to Start a Farm: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
New to farming? Want to learn how to start a farm? USDA offers additional assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers. USDA considers anyone who has operated a farm or ranch for less than ten years to be a beginning farmer or rancher. USDA can help you get started or grow your operation through a variety of programs and services, from farm loans to crop insurance and conservation programs to disaster assistance.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Webinars
Upcoming and past FSA webinars, covering topics like land, capital, market access, tax education, heirs’ property and more.

How to Start a Farm Checklist
Use the New Farmers Checklist to understand the steps you might need to take before setting up your operation.

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Outreach Coordinators
USDA team members can help you understand the USDA’s process and find the appropriate assistance for your operation.

Business Planning for Your Farm

Small Farm Funding Guide
Find links to full-text guides on how to start a small farm business and develop business and marketing plans. Learn more about funding programs for beginning and experienced farmers, technical assistance contacts, disaster assistance and organizations with available resources.

Planning Your Farming Business
Key resources for planning, setting up and financing your business and preparing for your visit to a USDA Service Center.

Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources
This page provides small and mid-sized producers valuable resources and program information about access to capital, land management and conservation practices, managing risk, finding local markets and other educational resources.

Outreach and Small Business Assistance
The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) offers vendor outreach sessions, hosts rural small business outreach events, helps foster small business connections, offers training for agency Contracting Officers and Program Managers, presents on small business contracting opportunities and provides one-on-one guidance to farmers and ranchers.

Farm Management and Conservation Resources

Solutions for Small-Scale Farms Fact Sheets
Introductory fact sheets that provide an overview of NRCS’s technical services, conservation practices and management concepts. Topics include abandoned well plugging, fencing, forest farming and runoff management.

Conservation Technical Assistance and Resources
Conservation technical assistance is the help NRCS and its partners provide to land users related to natural resource management. This page provides links to documents to assist with a variety of ecological and engineering issues such as rangeland health assessments, guidance for estimating soil moisture and more.

Collection of Conservation Assistance Resources
Useful resources on conservation at USDA, including:

  • Conservation Concerns Tool to explore conservation issues impacting productivity
  • Conservation at Work Video series on the benefits of different conservation practices
  • Step-by-step process for accessing USDA Conservation Assistance

Key Programs Catalog
To discover USDA conservation programs that may be right for you, visit the Key Programs Catalog.

NRCS Registry of Technical Service Providers
Technical service providers (TSPs) offer planning, design and implementation services to agricultural producers such as farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners, on behalf of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This registry allows agricultural producers and private forest landowners to find a certified TSP in their area.

Risk Management

Disaster Recovery
USDA is here to help you prepare for and recover from the impacts of natural disasters and market volatility. USDA provides a suite of disaster assistance programs to help offset losses as well as crop insurance and other coverage options to help manage risk and provide a safety net.

Crop and Livestock Insurance
Helpful resources to make crop and livestock insurance information readily available, including:

  • Calculating premiums
  • Locating agents
  • Downloading files on demand
  • Policy and reinsurance agreement information
  • Insurance cycle details from the application process to the claims process

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)
Learn more about NAP, a program that provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters.

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Page last updated: July 5, 2023