Guide to Starting Your Own Farm Business

This guide provides a general overview of what it takes to get your farm up and running in New Hampshire

  • red barn
What you should know before you start

Nuts & Bolts: Getting Started in Farming Checklist

How to Register Your Farm in New Hampshire, New Hampshire farms follow the same procedures as any other business in New Hampshire in registering with the Secretary of State, Corporate Division. Before you do this, carefully consider the business entity that best fits your business. Review the different business entity options here:  Understanding Business Structures. It is best to consult with an attorney and carefully review the pros and cons of each.

There are many areas of state and local regulations to consider before starting your business. This helpful legal guide takes you through the state regulations that may pertain to your farm plans. 

It is always a good idea to check with your local town or city to ensure your plans meet zoning and other local ordinances.

Farming With Family

When farming with family, whether relatives, spouses, or both, there are 3 key legal topics to discuss together that will set the stage for how the farm business evolves as family members enter (through marriage or otherwise) and exit (via career change, divorce, disability, or just because): (1) decision making, (2) role and responsibilities, and (3) ownership vs. employment. Listen to this Farming with Family Podcast.

business planning

Business Planning is an evolving process, but should be one of your very first steps before starting your farm. Goal setting and prioritization, thinking about why you want to farm, whether you have the necessary skills and resources, and identifying any gaps you may have are a great place to start. This Self Assessment Workbook and Starting a Farm Business Values-Based Vision Statement Workbook are available to download and complete as part of the business planning process. 

It is important to think through your vision for your farm to determine what your farm is and what you aspire it to be. This video will help guide you through this process. 

Your mission is the core of your business, your identity, and will be shared with everyone - your customers, employees, suppliers, and the community. This video reviews the process for developing your farm’s mission statement. 

These videos take you through the process of developing an enterprise budget and a cash flow budget.

Acquiring farm property & Site evaluation
Zoe planting

Soil testing is a key step for any farm and especially when you are first starting out.

If you are seeking land to farm, this Finding Your Farm webinar reviews evaluating a site, leasing farm land, and working with a land trust to acquire farm property.

It is important to understand local restrictions, insurance needs, and what it means to be a farmer in New Hampshire. For more information, view our Land Planning for Beginning Farmers: Planning for the Unexpected article and webinar. 

Evaluate the site for suitability for what you would like to grow or raise. The Land Planning for Beginning Farmers: Evaluating What You Have article and webinar will provide helpful insights. 

When considering raising livestock, acreage and other infrastructure requirements will be critical. This fact sheet reviews housing and space requirements for several livestock species.

for further assistance

Contact your local field specialist.

Author(s)

Kelly McAdam
Agricultural Business Management Field Specialist
Assoc Field Specialist
Phone: (603) 527-5475
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824