New & Beginning Farmers

Starting A Farm Business

Success in farming requires a wide range of management skills, from developing realistic business projections and effectively implementing business decisions to managing risks and navigating the regulatory environment.

No matter what type of farm you are looking to start, our staff can help your farm to:

  • Plan for profit using business and marketing plan templates
  • Navigate state and federal regulations (including processing, organic)
  • Position you to apply for on-farm research and marketing grants



Where to Begin

Considerations in Starting A Farm Business provides a series of questions to be answered before one starts the farming operation. These questions help to frame the business.

The Guide to Farming in NYS (at left) contains fact sheets on everything from finding land to financing an operation, regulations on marketing and processing, and tax benefits of farming.

Farm Business Management Skills for the 21st Century (Purdue University) -- For many farmers, producing great food is not the hardest part of maintaining a viable farm, it’s managing the business and marketing products in order to make money.

Business Planning

Business planning is a tool to help map and test the feasibility of a farm business startup. It is a dynamic tool that changes through time as the business changes due to internal and external pressure. It allows one to test “what if” scenarios.

Evaluating Soils

The Soil Survey of Broome County was published in 1974. The Survey includes a list of soil maps along with descriptions of the soils, parent materials, slope, drainage, description of soil profile, and natural tendencies related to use. The Survey is available at the Broome Co. Soil and Water Conservation District and at Cornell Cooperative Extension. In addition property owners can find out about their soils through the Internet by clicking here or through the Natural Resources Conservation Service Web Soils Survey.

We suggest having a soil test conducted to better understand the composition of your soils in relation to the types of crops you would like to grow. You can find out more information about soil testing here.

Farm Lending

When purchasing a farm through a realtor, many real estate brokers require pre-approval for a mortgage before showing a property. The following financial institutions and agencies deal with agricultural lending; some also offer other services that go along with the purchase of a farm including: appraisals, tax preparation and financial planning.

Farm Credit East
Address: One Technology Pl, Homer, NY 13077
Phone: (607)749-7177
FarmStart Program

NBT Bank N.A.
Address: 7605 State Street Lowville, NY 13367
Phone: 607-337-6152

Cortland County Farm Service Agency
Address: 1 North Main Street, 2nd Floor, Cortland, NY 13045
Phone: (607) 753-0851 ext. 2


Laura Biasillo
Agricultural Economic Development Specialist
(607) 584-5007

Last updated September 27, 2023