Business Planning

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Business Planning

When it comes to farm business planning, defining and reviewing personal and business goals is essential when planning for the future. Often farmers have an idea of how they want their business to develop but may lack the necessary skills to make it happen.

A farm business plan will put your objectives in place and sets achievable timelines to work to with regular reviews. This will help you deal with unforeseen problems and ensure you move forward with confidence. 

Elements of a good farm business plan  

  • All family partners should be aware of the plan and buy into it.  
  • The goals should be clear.  
  • Family members should be assigned to various tasks or activities.  
  • The roles of family members should be regularly reviewed to match the business goals and skills requirements.  
  • Plans should be regularly reviewed.  
  • Annual leave plans including holiday requirements of family members, allowing for extra farm labour requirements.  
  • Inputs for planned farming activities should always be costed, planned and timed.  

Developing your farm business plan – Your accountant or agricultural consultant can provide specialist advice in helping to develop a business plan. It is however important that you have control over the figures and understand the plan so that you can start to make it happen. 

Planning allows farm business owners to:  

  • Think about where you are going  
  • Think about what you have to do  
  • Estimate extra costs, extra revenues and risks  

CAFRE’s Business Development Groups scheme – Offers support to groups of farmers from a dedicated facilitator. Activities include benchmarking, on-farm meetings, demonstrations and skills training. Through the scheme participants get access to a CAFRE Development Adviser and have the option to gain a qualification. To register your interest for future tranches email: or visit  

Workload – With herds expanding, lambing/calving hours increasing and silage to completed in a short time frame, the work of a farmer is never ending. It can be long and tiresome as well as lonely and isolating, Therefore it is important to strive for a work life balance, allowing you more time with your friends and family and encourage a positive mental and physical wellbeing.

It is vital that you plan for the future so that there is significant farm labour support available to cover annual leave for the farm family as well as unexpected/unplanned circumstances. Thus allowing you more time to concentrate on your own health and wellbeing as well as socialising with friends, family and farming groups.

Rural Support have an array of activities and programmes that could help you with your workload issues. Therefore please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Farm Support Unit by emailing

Rural Support Programmes: 

There are several free programmes available to you and your farm business to help with your farm business planning including: 

  • The Business of Farming – this programme is focused on building resilience and sustainability; be that in financial, technical, business, or family matters. This will involve a series of activities to be held across Northern Ireland to include seminars, small group workshops and confidential one-to-one support from a team of mentors who have a wealth of experience in the agricultural sector to include financial and technical expertise.
  • The Royal Countryside Fund Farm Resilience Programme – these interactive workshops will help to secure a viable and resilient future for farm businesses, by equipping them with the information and confidence to help them progress. This programme will help them to develop business skills and gain a better understanding about their future farm business decisions under the guidance of expert consultants and with the support of the Rural Support Farm Business Mentor Team. This year’s group are focusing on younger farmers; whereby each farm business must have a young person, under the age of 35, involved on farm, to be eligible to participate.

For more information and/or support with your farm business plan contact our free confidential support line on 0800 138 1678 – let’s get your plan made into reality.


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