Beginning Farmers

Migrant workers harvest green zucchini squash from rows of plants at Kirby Farms in Mechanicsville, VA on Friday, Sep. 20, 2013. USDA photo by Lance Cheung. 20130920-OC-LSC-0220
Image by Lance Cheung, USDA

Starting A Farm Business

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. Our staff can help your farm to:

  • Plan for profit using a business and marketing plan
  • Navigate state and federal regulations (including processing, organic)
  • Apply for on-farm research and marketing grants

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.

Marketing the farm and farm products is closely linked to business success. Visit our Farm Marketing pages for more information on how we help farms market themselves and their products.


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.

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 Lewis County was published in 2007. 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 Lewis 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 Cornell University Geospatial Information Repository

Northeast Beginning Farmers Project

The Northeast Beginning Farmers Project is housed at the Cornell Small Farms Program. The program has an extensive website of resources useful to people who want to start a farm. The Program hosts a series of online courses and events useful to beginning and small farmers.

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: 25417 NY Route 12 Watertown, NY 13601-5730
Phone: 1-800-762-3276 or (315) 782-6050

Community Bank N.A.
Address: 7605 State Street Lowville, NY 13367
Phone: (315) 829-2405

Lewis County Farm Service Agency 
Address:5274 Outer Stowe St Lowville, NY 13367
Phone: (315) 376-7021

Last updated November 20, 2023