Resource Central

We’ve compiled a database full of helpful links, documents & information about everything farming. From starting up through business succession, we’ve got you covered.

| Business Planning | Educational Programs | Farm Start Up Programs | Financial Grants / Loans | Incubators | Land | Legal | Livestock & Equipment | Marketing | Professional Organizations | Publications | Statistics | Succession / Transition | Technical Information | Veterans Resources |

Business Planning

AgPlan: The Agriculture, Fisheries and Small Business Planning Website
AgPlan helps rural business owners develop a business plan.

Iowa State University Extension Beginning Farmer Center
The Beginning Farmer Center provides information, education and consultation services to beginning and exiting farmers.

Penn State Extension: Farm Business Owners Page
Strategies to help your business grow.

Purdue Extension: Farm Business Management for the 21st Century
Study the trends shaping production agriculture and develop a strategy for leading your business.

SCORE
Educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed nationwide.

VA FAIRS Virtual Business Center
Business plans and financial helps and calculators.

USDA

Business Plan
An explanation of what to include in a business plan.

Operating Agreement
This is often used as an intermediate arrangement between a wage arrangement and a partnership or corporation.

Professional Checklist
What you need when you meet with professionals.

Ohio University Masters of Public Administration Program
The difference between public service and public solutions? The skills to lead. The program includes an environmental and energy policy concentration and would be great for anyone looking into a formal education in renewable energy. We know you’re driven to serve — otherwise you wouldn’t be here. But in a world where passion is equal, preparation wins out. It’s our job to make sure you’re not only prepared to serve the public through leadership, but serve it well. Our online Master of Public Administration can help you build the skills to address public needs in effective, efficient, and imaginative ways. We want you to take the big ideas in your head and put them into action by helping you develop as a project manager, communicator, policy analyst, and financial mind. When you have an expert understanding of public administration and the professional tools to back it up, you can lead a career of consequence for your constituents.

SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is a tool that helps you evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) involved in any business enterprise, including farms and ranches.


Educational Programs

Chatham University

Delaware Valley College

Harrisburg Area Community College

Penn State University

Slippery Rock University

Wilson College

PASA
Sustainable agriculture educational events.

Penn State Extension
Various programming across the state.

Penn State: Start Farming
The program’s goal is to enhance the success of beginning farmers by providing information and hands-on training in production, marketing, financial management, as well as land and other resource acquisition.

Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living
If you enjoy natural living, you will love what Quiet Creek has to offer! Quiet Creek Herb Farm and School of Country Living is a non-profit dedicated to increasing the public awareness of conservation, ecological thinking and healthful sustainable living. Come and wander through our lush gardens of organic vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. Explore our 30 acres of nature trails, wind/solar energy system, yurt, earthen oven, straw bale house and benches. We feature our own herbal teas, soaps, salves, and mushrooms. We also carry whole foods, local art, essential oils, and literature to enhance healthy living. We provide education-based experiences to schools, churches, organizations and friend/family groups. We offer a wide variety of classes and intensive seminars for students of all ages and levels. Please come visit us and join our sustainable learning community. We also have a 30 acre farm available for leasing and will assist others in developing a non-profit farm school on their property.

The Seed Farm
A new farmer training program and farm business incubator (located in Emmaus, PA in the Lehigh Valley, eliminating the top three barriers to new farm entry by providing new farmers access to land, equipment, and training.

Rodale Institute – Veteran Farming Program
Our primary program is a partnership between Rodale Institute and Delaware Valley University. The Organic Farming Certificate Program, http://www.delval.edu/continuing-and-professional-studies/credit-certificate-programs/organic-farming-program, is a program that received a USDA, NIFA Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant in December 2014. This program is open to all veterans and civilians who are interested in organic agriculture. Veterans are able to use their GI Bill and civilians can apply for financial aid with the certificate program. Our secondary program, the Veteran Farmer Training Program offers tailored, flexible, two-to-four month training in organic farming, that includes a stipend and housing allowance. This program targets the needs of those veterans who are interested in organic agriculture, but are not sure if they want to make a career change into agriculture or who do not want to return to a college setting. This training can occur at Rodale Institute in Kutztown, PA and applicants are able to apply from April to September. This is a link to the application for this program, http://rodaleinstitute.org/assets/Application-VeteranFarmerTraining-1.pdf. This program is funded through grants received from Newman’s Own Foundation and a donor in the Lehigh Valley who wishes to remain anonymous. This program is exclusive to veterans.

The Center for Produce Safety
CPS Mission The Center for Produce Safety provides and shares ready-to-use, science-based solutions to prevent or minimize produce safety vulnerabilities. CPS is an industry-wide partnership. Industry-wide problems require industry-wide brainpower. CPS brings together leaders from industry, government and the scientific and academic communities to identify the most pressing research needs, fund the most promising investigations and advance real-world solutions. We are largely a volunteer-run organization, with just three paid staff and minimal overhead. In 2014, CPS funded research projects in 9 states, from California to Massachusetts, from Michigan to Colorado. CPS was launched as a public-private partnership and is now international in scope with projects in 5 countries around the globe. CPS has compiled an impressive seven-year body of work, awarding $16.4 million and funding 100 one- to two-year research projects at 30 universities and organizations. First, last and always, it’s about the research. CPS provides our industry with credible, independent, science-based research that is applicable across the produce supply chain. Our Technical Committee provides the necessary scrutiny and tight controls needed to ensure funded research projects are practical, measurable and translatable. Issues range from employee hygiene to wash water sanitation, to the use of soil amendments and composting, to addressing the management of domestic animals near farms and irrigation sources. Education completes the loop. CPS does more than fund research. It’s critical that we disseminate the results of that research and ensure that new knowledge is put to use across the supply chain. Our annual symposium — augmented by year-round seminars, webinars and reports — equips industry leaders to implement actionable steps to ensure positive food safety outcomes. CPS provides knowledge of industry processes, applications, varieties and conditions to academia and the research community to better target and direct research that will have immediate application in the produce industry. Our educational efforts extend to regulatory agencies as we partner with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and others to shape food safety guidelines.


Livestock & Equipment

Todd Shimko Insurance Agency LLC Farm Insurance
Description of Business: Representing 4 different farm insurance companies to provide our farm clients with options that fit their needs. We also work well with start up farms. If you need farm insurance make us your first call! 570-374-TODD (8633) Specialty Areas: Farms, Farm Auto, Farm Insurance, Barn Insurance, Silo Insurance, Home Insurance, Auto Insurance, Umbrella Insurance, Business Insurance Years of Experience: 6 to 10 Time Spent on Ag-Related Work: 11 to 20% Number of Farm Clients or Projects Per Year: Over 15 Raised on Farm? No Personal Experience Farming? No

Deerbusters Fencing
Deerbusters, located in Waynesboro, PA, is the industry leader in deer fencing and garden fencing across North America. Proper fencing is important to farmers and gardeners alike who wish to keep their crops protected from deer and other pests. Deerbusters has been successfully keeping out deer from gardens for over 30 years.  


Incubators

The Seed Farm
A new farmer training program and farm business incubator (located in Emmaus, PA in the Lehigh Valley, eliminating the top three barriers to new farm entry by providing new farmers access to land, equipment, and training.

Culinary Incubators
This website is dedicated to small food businesses who are trying to find a commercial kitchen to cook/process their product.

YorKitchen
A commercial kitchen that is available to a number of farmers and entrepreneurs to develop a value-added food product, introduce it to the marketplace, and grow a start-up business.

The Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education Incubator Farm Project
The Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education Incubator Farm Project provides, education, support, land, and infrastructure resources for beginning farmers and beekeepers.


Farm Start Up Programs

AgBiz Masters Program
A learning series for young and beginning farmers teaching business and financial management skills.

Agricultural Alternatives
Information to help you select crop or livestock enterprises for your farm. (Be careful to use updated prices in all areas.)

Exploring the Small Farm Dream
This program will guide you through the initial exploratory decision making process to decide if you want to farm.

Lifestyle Values and Choices
A worksheet to determine what is important to you.

Market Research
How tos of market research to determine market for your product.

Problem Solving
Basic steps of problem solving.

Specialty Crops Budget

Livestock Budget

Alfrea
"Alfrea is an online platform that connects people with land and labor to grow food. When excess food is grown, by accident or design, people are able to buy, sell or share it through our online farmers' market. Learn more by visiting www.alfrea.com." Plant a seed, change the world. Our vision here is simple: A world in which all people have access to local, sustainably grown food. While our vision may be simple our mission is big: Inspire a worldwide movement toward a sustainable food economy by empowering everyone to grow, harvest, preserve and share homegrown food. Why? Because homegrown tomatoes taste amazing. Plus, gardening saves money, improves your health, and helps heal the planet. Oh, and we’re building a worldwide movement toward a sustainable food economy. We want to live in a world where everybody has access to local, sustainably grown food. We’re hoping you do, too.

Northeast Beginning Farmers Project – Cornell University
The Northeast Beginning Farmers Project is a program offered through Cornell University. This program offers a variety of resources for Beginning Farmers from online classes to planning your farm tutorials to veterans opportunities.

New Business Development
A Penn State website for starting new businesses. Agribusiness Planning Providing direction for agricultural firms Conducting a SWOT Analysis A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is a process that can help you get insights into the past and think of possible solutions to existing or potential problems for your business. Diversification of Your Operation, Why If you are only engaged in one enterprise (growing corn for example) and have a crop failure, it will be more devastating than if you grew more crops. By diversifying, you are spreading the downside risk over more than one enterprise. Example Business Plan Example business plan for imaginary business, A&B Nursery.

SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is a tool that helps you evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) involved in any business enterprise, including farms and ranches.


Financial Grants / Loans

Farm Aid
Farm Aid funds family farm and rural service organizations through our annual grant program.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)
Grants and education to advance innovations in sustainable agriculture.

Interpreting Financial Statements and Measures
This site will teach you more about interpreting financial information for your farm.

AgChoice Farm Credit
An Agricultural Credit Association serving agricultural and rural communities in central, northern and western Pennsylvania.

Chester County Economic Development Council
The Council works to aid first time farmers through low interest loan programs, funding is also available for existing farmers. Through development of educational and awareness programs the Council works to keep the business of agriculture a vital part of Southeast Pennsylvania’s economy.

MidAtlantic Farm Credit
An Agricultural Credit Association serving agricultural and rural communities in southeastern Pennsylvania

PAgrows
PAgrows is designed to help agribusiness put all of the pieces of this lending puzzle together.

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)
FSA Offices located throughout the Commonwealth deliver a variety of congressionally authorized credit and commodity programs to all of Pennsylvania's farmers and producers.

Financial Planning Checklist


Land

Ag Leasing 101
Multi-state materials which help land owners and land operators make informed and equitable leasing decisions.

Center for Rural Affairs
Farmer and rancher linking programs and many other resources.

PASA’s Farm Lease Connection
Land leasing opportunities.

Struttin & Ruttin Hunting Leases, LLC
We are a professional hunting lease company based out of Pittsburgh serving PA, OH & WV. We are a small, family owned operation that helps connect landowners with responsible sportsmen. In turn this creates a supplemental income for the landowner, along with a professionally managed legal hunting licensing agreement which includes a liability insurance policy protecting both the landowner and the hunter(s). The landowner does not have to do anything. We handle everything and do all the legwork. We can customize the agreement to the landowners liking. We welcome any landowners with at least 10 acres of land to contact us. Contact: Michael Purcell Specialty Areas: Hunting Leases, Hunting Licensing, Land Lease, Wildlife Management Years of Experience: 11 to 15 Time Spent on Ag-Related Work: Over 20% Number of Farm Clients or Projects Per Year: 8 to 15 Raised on Farm? No Personal Experience Farming? No

Acquiring Real Estate
Questions to consider when buying real estate and personal assets such as machinery and livestock.

Choosing a Farm
Items to consider when choosing a farm.

Farmland Preservation


Legal

National Agricultural Law Center
Agricultural law research and information facility that is independent, national in scope, and directly connected to the national agricultural information network.

The Agricultural Law Resource & Reference Center
It is designed to provide the highest-quality educational programs, information and materials to those involved or interested in agricultural law and policy.

The Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing
This website has been developed by the Drake Agricultural Law Center with the following purposes in mind. To make "the Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing" more accessible, To create an extensive checklist to help ensure essential legal issues are addressed, To provide regular updates on direct farm marketing law and policy, and To allow readers to ask questions directly to Center staff and law students.

Attorney Checklist
How to choose an attorney and items to take to the attorney appointment.


Marketing

Ag Map
Online searchable directory of America’s agricultural businesses.

Eat Wild
Listing of natural and nutritious grass-fed livestock and other wild edibles.

Local Harvest
Website to list farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area.

Networking Association for Farm Direct Marketing and Agritourism
Trade association dedicated to nurturing the farm direct marketing industry.

PA Preferred
A state-supported agricultural marketing program whose mission is to identify and promote locally sourced food agricultural products.

PA Farm Link Marketing Tips


Professional Organizations

Aquaculture

The National Aquaculture Association
Information about Aquaculture across the United States.

The National Association of Aquaculture Coordinators
Coordinators are responsible for coordinating aquaculture programs at the State level.

The Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center
Technical information relating to the Northeast Aquaculture industry.

The United States Trout Farmers Association
A group of trout farmers interested in creating a strong, unified voice for the national trout industry.

Crops

Pennsylvania Soybean Board
Soybean research, marketing and education activity information.

General Agriculture

ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
Sustainable agriculture resources.

New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI)
Provides support for new-entry, small-scale organic farmers in the form of publications and apprentice-and-land-seeking matching services.

PASA Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture
Promoting profitable farms which produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment.

Penn Ag Industries Association
Penn Ag is working to create and maintain an effective, viable and competitive environment for Pennsylvania agribusinesses to grow and prosper.

Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Association
A non-profit, nonpartisan statewide incorporated association of conservation easement professionals, dedicated to promoting and enhancing the interests of agricultural land preservation in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau
Working together for the future of agriculture.

Pennsylvania State Grange
A family fraternal organization dedicated to the betterment of rural America through community service, education, legislation, and fellowship.

Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network
The primary purposes is to encourage and support women in agriculture provide and strengthen networks and educational and mentoring opportunities.

The National Agricultural Library
Advancing access to global information for agriculture.

USDA Rural Development in Pennsylvania
Information and resources for rural Pennsylvania.

Livestock / Dairy

National Cattlemen’s Association
The information center for beef and cattle news, up to date beef and cattle research and food safety.

Pennsylvania Beef Council
The BQA program provides cattle producers with the tools and training necessary to assure animal health and well-being as well as provide a safe, quality product.

Pennsylvania Pork Producers Council
Supporting and promoting Pennsylvania Pork Industry.

The American Pastured Poultry Producers’ Association (APPPA)
Nonprofit educational and networking organization dedicated to encouraging the production, processing, and marketing of poultry raised on pasture.

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
Serving the industry through research, education, communication and technical assistance.


Publications

Ag News
Farm related news.

American Agriculturist
Monthly Northeast farm magazine aimed at keeping family, profit and pride in farming. It includes daily updates of Northeast and national ag news plus markets.

Doanes Report
Market report information and forecasts concerning agriculture markets and prices.

Eastern Dairy Business
Dairy business magazine.

Farm & Dairy
Weekly agriculture newspaper serving Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

Growing for Market
Trade publication for local food producers.

Hoards Dairyman
Dairy business publication.

Kiplinger Agricultural Letter
The Letter covers trends in production, prices, world trade, marketing, technology, and energy.

Lancaster Farming
Comprehensive agricultural news coverage of Pennsylvania, the Northeast, the nation and the world.

The Grower
The Grower's website, which includes not only the current issues of the magazine and its sister publication, Citrus & Vegetable, but also archives of previous issues.


Statistics

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania
Bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)
The National Agricultural Statistics Service provides timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture.


Succession / Transition

Iowa State University Extension Beginning Farmer Center
The Beginning Farmer Center provides information, education and consultation services to beginning and exiting farmers.

Planning the Future of Your Farm
A Workbook Supporting Farm Transfer Decisions Planning the Future of Your Farm is a workbook for those families who want to keep their farmland in production and/or “in the family” as it passes to the next generation. The workbook is for those willing to commit the effort required to manage such a ongoing project. It has been updated and adapted for Pennsylvania from previous editions published from Georgia to Virginia. Feedback from families using earlier versions has been incorporated into this edition.

Ag Transitions (University of Minnesota)
AgTransitions helps farmers & ranchers develop a plan to transition their business to the next generation.

International Farm Transition Network (IFTN)
The goal of the network is to support programs that foster the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

Planning the Future of Your Farm (Virginia Edition)
A workbook supporting farm transfer decisions. Created and edited by Robert Andrew Branan, Attorney for the Virginia Department of Agriculture, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University. Please ensure you seek professional input for your state of residence in regards to information that changes across state borders, i.e. tax information.

Before You Transfer
Answer these questions honestly before you start the transfer process.

Business Transition Plan
Checklist of potential objectives to incorporate into the business transition plan.

Children as Partners
An honest evaluation to know if this is a possibility for the farm.

Conservation Alternatives
Voluntary conservation easement options for your farm.

Developing Your Agreement
Items to include in your business agreement

Family Farm Questionnaire
Items to consider as you consider transfer of the farm.

Harmony Test
Questionnaire to evaluate areas which may need work.

Hiring
Items to have in place to assist with hiring.

Orderly Exit
Items to consider as you consider exiting farming.

Parents as Partners
An honest evaluation of the possibility of partnering with parents.

Retirement Planning
Items to consider while planning for retirement.


Technical Information

Aquaculture

The National Aquaculture Association
Information about Aquaculture across the United States.

The National Association of Aquaculture Coordinators
Coordinators are responsible for coordinating aquaculture programs at the State level.

The Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center
Technical information relating to the Northeast Aquaculture industry.

Aquaculture Research and Education Laboratory
Cheyney University has developed an academic/professional specialization for aquaculture (the culture and growing of aquatic animals and plants in controlled environments) research and education on its campus in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Mansfield University

Penn State University – Penn State Extension – Fisheries Info
Information on fishery ponds in Pennsylvania, Aquaculture, how to control birds at aquaculture facilities, and common causes for fish kills.

Penn State University – Sea Grant

General Agriculture

Farmers’ Market Management Network
Farmer’s markets resources.

Food Safety and Inspection Service
The public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides assistance to farmers, private landowners, and foresters to address natural resource concerns on their land by implementing various conservation practices that improve soil, water and air quality and enhance animal health and habitat.

NC Cooperative Extension Chatham County Center
Small farms resource page.

Ohio State University Extension
Educational resources for agriculture and related areas.

Oregon Small Farms
Oregon Small Farms provides information for the commercial small farmer as well as the small acreage landowner.

Penn State Extension Farm Food Safety
Helping agricultural producers tackle new food safety challenges.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Pennsylvania agriculture programs.

State Association of Conservation Districts
Non-profit organization that supports, enhances, and promotes Pennsylvania’s conservation districts and their programs.

Rural Tax Education
Rural tax education that provides farmers agricultural related income and self-employment tax information that is both up to date and easy to comprehend.

TAA Online Farmer Training
Free online courses covering various farm business topics and crops.

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
AMS compiles and disseminates information that will aid producers, consumers, and distributors in the sale and purchase of livestock, meat, grain, and their related products nationally and internationally. Market reports available on this site.

USDA Risk Management Agency
Crop insurance information.

Livestock / Dairy

Center for Dairy Excellence
CDE has valuable information to help you make better decisions in your role as a stakeholder in Pennsylvania's dairy industry.

Maryland Small Ruminant Page
The Maryland Small Ruminant Page serves as an information portal for sheep and goat producers and anyone else with an interest in small ruminant production.

Organics

Organic Food and Farming Education & Research Program (OFFER)
Provides outstanding research and educational support for sustainable production, processing, and marketing organic foods.

The Rodale Institute
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach.

USDA National Organic Program (NOP)
Regulations and guidance on certification, production, handling, and labeling of USDA organic products.

Rodale Institute – Veteran Farming Program
Our primary program is a partnership between Rodale Institute and Delaware Valley University. The Organic Farming Certificate Program, http://www.delval.edu/continuing-and-professional-studies/credit-certificate-programs/organic-farming-program, is a program that received a USDA, NIFA Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant in December 2014. This program is open to all veterans and civilians who are interested in organic agriculture. Veterans are able to use their GI Bill and civilians can apply for financial aid with the certificate program. Our secondary program, the Veteran Farmer Training Program offers tailored, flexible, two-to-four month training in organic farming, that includes a stipend and housing allowance. This program targets the needs of those veterans who are interested in organic agriculture, but are not sure if they want to make a career change into agriculture or who do not want to return to a college setting. This training can occur at Rodale Institute in Kutztown, PA and applicants are able to apply from April to September. This is a link to the application for this program, http://rodaleinstitute.org/assets/Application-VeteranFarmerTraining-1.pdf. This program is funded through grants received from Newman’s Own Foundation and a donor in the Lehigh Valley who wishes to remain anonymous. This program is exclusive to veterans.


Veterans Resources

Center for Rural Affairs
Farmer and rancher linking programs and many other resources.

Farmers-Veterans Coalition
Assisting veterans and aiding them to become the future of American agriculture.

Rodale Institute – Veteran Farming Program
Our primary program is a partnership between Rodale Institute and Delaware Valley University. The Organic Farming Certificate Program, http://www.delval.edu/continuing-and-professional-studies/credit-certificate-programs/organic-farming-program, is a program that received a USDA, NIFA Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant in December 2014. This program is open to all veterans and civilians who are interested in organic agriculture. Veterans are able to use their GI Bill and civilians can apply for financial aid with the certificate program. Our secondary program, the Veteran Farmer Training Program offers tailored, flexible, two-to-four month training in organic farming, that includes a stipend and housing allowance. This program targets the needs of those veterans who are interested in organic agriculture, but are not sure if they want to make a career change into agriculture or who do not want to return to a college setting. This training can occur at Rodale Institute in Kutztown, PA and applicants are able to apply from April to September. This is a link to the application for this program, http://rodaleinstitute.org/assets/Application-VeteranFarmerTraining-1.pdf. This program is funded through grants received from Newman’s Own Foundation and a donor in the Lehigh Valley who wishes to remain anonymous. This program is exclusive to veterans.