Should you start that farm business?


ITHACA, N.Y. – Thinking about starting a new business?
A practical guidebook is available from Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service to assist rural and farm residents who are considering alternative enterprises.
Farming Alternatives: A Guide to Evaluating the Feasibility of New Farm-Based Enterprises, takes the reader through a step-by-step analysis of a potential new business.
The guidebook uses a case study and workbook format to evaluate personal and family considerations, available resources, alternative enterprise options, market potential, production feasibility, profitability, cash flow, and a final evaluation of all factors combined.
In addition to providing a format for evaluating an alternative enterprise, the guidebook provides sources of information for specific materials.
Before business. Starting a new venture requires resources, careful management, hard work and risk.
Before committing time and resources to an enterprise, it is important to look at the feasibility of the idea on paper.
Each chapter of the book includes exercises – self-tests, checklists, and works sheets – that allow the reader to analyze an enterprise idea and build business management skills.
The reader will take an inventory to identify underutilized resources that can be used in a new enterprise, perform market research to determine who will buy a product or service, and plan the production aspects of the enterprise.
An income statement and cash flow analysis will be prepared to determine profitablity and the financial feasibility of starting and operating the enterprise.
The guidebook even explains how to combine the documents to present a proposal to a lender.
Teaching tool. Extension and other educators have used this guide in workshops for farm and rural families interested in – but not necessarily experienced in – alternative enterprises.
The book works well as a textbook for an in-depth workshop series, as a framework for one-on-one counseling, and as a resource for the reader to use on his or her own.
The guide was written by Nancy Grudens Schuck, formerly of Cooperative Extension, Cornell University; Wayne Knoblauch, department of applied economics and management, Cornell University; Judy (Joanna) Green, department of animal science, Cornell University; and Mary Saylor, extension education, The Pennsylvania State University.
Order a copy. The book is available for $8 a copy (plus $4.25 shipping and handling) from NRAES, Cooperative Extension, P.O. Box 4557, Ithaca, N.Y., 14852-4557.
New York residents, add 8 percent sales tax, calculated on both the cost of publication and the shipping and handling charges.
Quantity discounts are available. If ordering more than one copy, or if ordering outside the United States, contact NRAES for shipping rates.
Major credit cards are accepted, and checks should be made payable to NRAES.
For more information or for a free publications catalog, contact NRAES by phone at 607-255-7654, by fax at 607-254-8770, by e-mail at, or visit


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