Farm Business Resources

Business Advice video conversations

In business you get a lot of opportunities.  That’s what makes it fun and exciting.  However, it can be overwhelming at the same time, especially if you or your partner is a visionary (see the Rocket Fuel book recommendation in the book resources tab).

The first step in starting a business is to take a minute or ten to discover WHY you want to do this and WHAT VALUE you’re bringing to the world through your business.  Write them down. These are your guideposts and grounding rods as you go along.  They will help guide your decisions.  “What value” is not your products.  It’s the bigger idea behind why you are choosing those products or services.  What is the good that you’re adding to life through your product or service?

For example: When we started Baker’s Green Acres, we knew that we were farming because we wanted to raise kids that could think critically, who had practical skills in building, cooking, and basically taking care of themselves, and who had strong bodies and minds.  We naturally seemed to gravitate to animals over plants as centerpiece enterprises though we always had a garden. Our kids were always our deepest why. Sometimes we had to course correct back to that, but that has been our “north star” in guiding our decisions ultimately.

Along the way, we came across this decision matrix to help sort through all the opportunities that come up.  It came to us courtesy of David Neagle, a business and life coach who has guided some very successful people to their next level.  Staying focussed on your special mission in life will make your farm, family, and life the unique and amazing thing it is meant to be.  Use this matrix to keep yourself oriented to the BEST out of all the simply good possibilities.

Opportunity matrix

Private Membership Associations, jurisdiction, and operating in the private domain with Theo Wadman of Helios Farm in Oregon:

Tribe+ Q&A conversation with Patti O’dell about business structures and taxes (Schedule C, DBA, LLC, S-corp):

You Can Farm: the entrepreneurs guide to start and succeed in a farming enterprise  Joel Salatin

Have you ever desired, deep within your soul, to make a comfortable full-time living from a farming enterprise? Too often people dare not even vocalize this desire because it seems absurd. It’s like thinking the unthinkable.

After all, the farm population is dwindling. It takes too much capital to start. The pay is too low. The working conditions are dusty, smelly and noisy: not the place to raise a family. This is all true, and more, for most farmers.

But for farm entrepreneurs, the opportunities for a farm family business have never been greater. The aging farm population is creating cavernous niches begging to be filled by creative visionaries who will go in dynamic new directions. As the industrial agriculture complex crumbles and our culture clambers for clean food, the countryside beckons anew with profitable farming opportunities.

While this book can be helpful to all farmers, it targets the wannabes, the folks who actually entertain notions of living, loving and learning on a piece of land. Anyone willing to dance with such a dream should be able to assess its assets and liabilities; its fantasies and realities. “Is it really possible for me?” is the burning question this book addresses.


The E-Myth Revisited: why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it  Michael Gerber  

This is a must-read to understand the basics of building a business that is strong, sustainable, and won’t suck the life out of you. This is a reference book for all stages and types of businesses, a classic in the business world that you NEED in your library.

In this first new and totally revised edition of the over two million copy bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. Next, he walks you through the steps in the life of a business — from entrepreneurial infancy through adolescent growing pains to the mature entrepreneurial perspective: the guiding light of all businesses that succeed — and shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether it is a franchise or not. Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.


The Lean Farm  Ben Hartman

To many people today, using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence is nothing short of sacrilege. In many cases, though, the same sound business practices apply whether you are producing cars or carrots. Author Ben Hartman and other young farmers are increasingly finding that incorporating the best new ideas from business into their farming can drastically cut their wastes and increase their profits, making their farms more environmentally and economically sustainable. By explaining the lean system for identifying and eliminating waste and introducing efficiency in every aspect of the farm operation, The Lean Farm makes the case that small-scale farming can be an attractive career option for young people who are interested in growing food for their community.

Working smarter, not harder, also prevents the kind of burnout that start-up farmers often encounter in the face of long, hard, backbreaking labor.


Lean principles grew out of the Japanese automotive industry, but they are now being followed on progressive farms around the world. Using examples from his own family’s one-acre community-supported farm in Indiana, Hartman clearly instructs other small farmers in how to incorporate lean practices in each step of their production chain, from starting a farm and harvesting crops to training employees and selling goods.


Rocket Fuel: Gino Wickman, Mark C. Winters

If you are building a business with a partner, or looking to grow your farm/homestead enterprise, this is a MUST READ. This book will give you the keys to working as partners to utilize your combined strengths and recognize your differences and how to leverage that for maximum viability and sustainability. This is one of the books I with we’d had when we were starting off!

Discover the vital relationship that will take your company from “what’s next?” to “we have liftoff!” Visionaries have groundbreaking ideas. Integrators make those ideas realities. This explosive combination is the key to getting everything you want out of your business. It worked for Disney. It worked for McDonald’s. It worked for Ford. It can work for you. From the author of the best-selling Traction, Rocket Fuel details the integral roles of the visionary and integrator and explains how an effective relationship between the two can help your business thrive. Offering advice to help visionary-minded and integrator-minded individuals find one another, Rocket Fuel also features assessments, so you’re able to determine whether you’re a visionary or an integrator. Without an integrator, a visionary is far less likely to succeed long term and realize the company’s ultimate goals; likewise, with no visionary, an integrator can’t rise to his or her full potential. When these two people come together to share their natural talents and innate skill sets, it’s like rocket fuel – they have the power to reach new heights for virtually any company or organization.

The Power of TED

You have a wonderful thing you want to create with your farm, right?  The thing that most often sidelines humans in both business and life is DRAMA. Ugh. Who wants that?

Yet we find ourselves in stupid arguments on social media, or caught up in a customer’s opinion or demands, or frustrated with a partner’s resistance.

Escape the Grip of Drama and Take Control of Your Life. The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) is a fable on self-leadership, because how you lead your own life has everything to do with how you lead in other areas. It is a tool for both individuals and organizations who want to create more effective communication and relationships. Learning how to transform everyday drama and opt for more growth-oriented solutions, is the priceless gift it teaches. As you walk with David, the main character, he shares how he is feeling victimized by life. Through serendipity he meets some wise guides, Ted and Sophia, who show David how he can move from feeling like a Victim to being a Creator of his own life. The Power of TED* offers a powerful alternative to the Karpman Drama Triangle with its roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. The Empowerment Dynamic (TED) provides the antidote roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach and a more positive approach to life’s challenges. The teaching story provides a guide for learning and growing through the challenges we all face in our lives. Its message resonates with everyone who, at some time in their lives, feel victimized by their situation. Having helped thousands of people and scores of organizations over the past decade, The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) is being published in this 10th Anniversary Edition to convey a very timely message of hope that all of life, whether at home or work, can be transformed to create satisfying and fulfilling relationships.

The Big Leap   Gay Hendricks

Ever notice how you have a big success and you’re feeling great, and something happens. You have an argument with your spouse or kid. You stub your toe or tweak your back. You have an accident of some sort. A check bounces.  

Believe it or not, this is a normal phenomenon. You hit a level of success and your brain’s go-to is to bring life back to “normal.” Even if it’s not something you particularly want, normal is considered safe and proper by the small child that runs your emotional balance sheet.  Discovering how this works and having a plan to circumvent it is essential if you want a bigger success in life, on your farm, and in y our business.

Most of us believe that we will finally feel satisfied and content with our lives when we get the good news we have been waiting for, find a healthy relationship, or achieve one of our personal goals. However, this rarely happens. Good fortune is often followed by negative emotions that overtake us and result in destructive behaviors. “I don’t deserve this,” “this is too good to be true,” or any number of harmful thought patterns prevent us from experiencing the joy and satisfaction we have earned.
Sound familiar? This is what New York Times best-selling author Gay Hendricks calls the Upper Limit Problem, a negative emotional reaction that occurs when anything positive enters our lives. The Upper Limit Problem not only prevents happiness, but it actually stops us from achieving our goals. It is the ultimate life roadblock.

In The Big Leap, Hendricks reveals a simple yet comprehensive program for overcoming this barrier to happiness and fulfillment, presented in a way that engages both the mind and heart. Working closely with more than 1,000 extraordinary achievers in business and the arts, from rock stars to Fortune 500 executives, whose stories are featured in these pages, the book describes the four hidden fears that are at the root of the Upper Limit Problem.

The Big Leap delivers a proven method for first identifying which of these four fears prevents us from reaching our personal upper limit, and then breaking through that limitation to achieve what Hendricks refers to as our Zone of Genius. Hendricks provides a clear path for achieving our true potential and attaining not only financial success but also success in love and life.


Go-Giver (series)  Bob Burg, John David Mann   

This is a series of books, but they are inspirational individually as well. Salesmanship and relational lessons given in story form. 

Go-Givers Sell More:

The Go-Giver took the business world by storm with its message that giving is the simplest, most fulfilling, and most effective path to success. It has inspired hundreds of thousands of readers; but some have wondered how the story’s lessons stand up to the tough challenges of everyday, real-world business.Bob Burg and John David Mann answer that question in Go-Givers Sell More, a practical guide that turns giving into the cornerstone of a powerful and effective approach to selling.


The Go-Giver Leader:

Ben is an ambitious young executive charged with persuading 500 employee shareholders to agree to a merger that will save their company. But despite his best efforts, he can’t convince anyone to buy in to the deal.During his week at the company, Ben realizes that his aggressive style is actually making it harder to reach his goals.


The Go-Giver:

The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be.One day, desperate to land a key sale at the end of a bad quarter, he seeks advice from the enigmatic Pindar, a legendary consultant referred to by many devotees simply as the Chairman.



Thou Shall Prosper  Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Money and faith are not exclusive from each other. How you manage your business and make money is related to your faith. This is part of the message of this book. 

A practical approach to creating wealth-based on the established principles of ancient Jewish wisdom-made accessible to people of all backgrounds

The ups and downs of the economy prove Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s famous principle that the more things change, the more we need to depend upon the things that never change. There’s no better source for both practical and spiritual financial wisdom than the time-tested knowledge found in the ancient Jewish faith and its culture. In the Second Edition of Thou Shall Prosper, Lapin offers a practical approach to creating wealth based on the established principles of ancient Jewish wisdom. This book details the ten permanent principles that never change, the ten commandments of making money if you will, and explores the economic and philosophic vision of business that has been part of Jewish culture for centuries. The book’s focus is on making accessible to individuals of all backgrounds, the timeless truths that Jews have used for centuries to excel in business.

Farm Marketing From The Heart: how to attract your dream customers and build your profitable farm  Charlotte Smith

We often start farming because we love the plants, the animals, the land—but we soon learn love does not pay the bills. Marketing and selling our products can feel like a mystery: How do we get customers to find us? How do we convince them they need our grass-fed beef, raw milk, or veggie-and-flowers CSA? When you build deep trust with your customers, you create loyal customers who wouldn’t think of shopping anywhere else and tell all their friends to shop with you, too, assuring you a strong customer base and taking the mystery out of sales and marketing. Farm Marketing from the Heart shows you how to make this your reality by combining the right mindset and approach to marketing with a few sophisticated yet easy-to-use online marketing technologies that help you save time and effort, reach and build relationships with your dream customers, and build your thriving and profitable farm.

Here are some links about PMA’s (see video discussion below and on the video tab):
For farmers, if you properly form a Private Membership Association, and every person that buys your products joins your association, then regulatory bodies have no jurisdiction. One key is that you understand the power of the private domain, which means you never ask permission from the State, never register your business, and never get a license from a regulatory body. Those are contracts you’re signing with the public domain, and once you sign them, its trickier to back out of them.
This is the organization that can provide a PMA advisor and info:
This is another one of the websites:
This is a video about PMA’s in the health arena that answers a lot of questions about PMA’s in general.
Farmers that sell only to their private association members are not in the jurisdiction of any regulatory agency or court. The PMA documents, Articles of Association and Bylaws cover all the contingencies and the association members agree to address any disputes within the association tribunals, etc.


Canning 101 - Preservation of Foods