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Farm vs. Ranch – 6 Key Elements of a Successful Business Plan

A well-developed ranch or farm business plan can benefit your business in several ways. A business plan will help you to keep your business organized and moving forward in the right direction at the right pace. Your lender will understand that you carry a vision and strong ambition to build a bright future for your business and it gives you access to capital. It helps you to stay motivated and keep your goals and objectives clear and prominent. A written business plan will work as an asset for building a successful business.

This article will help you to understand six key elements of a successful business plan for a farm vs ranch. However, there are planning software that can help you keep all points organized, but the idea of starting on a blank paper sheet is more appealing.


An introduction that includes all key aspects of your overall plan and that summarizes what your plan is all about is an essential and basic step, to begin with. This is the part which you will write in last, but it is still better to begin writing the draft with a summary that contains a rough idea of what your document will further discuss. Provision of information about key services and products that produce revenue and are able to compete in the market. This part should be followed by a mission statement that will describe why you are getting involved in farming or ranching business. A catchy introduction also includes a list of goals that you plan to achieve in the first two to five years.

Land Resource Management

Both ranchers and farmers are truly dependent on their land to make a living. This part must involve all the resources that will be involved in the operations, and it is better to include maps, if available. If perennial pastures and livestock are involved, a plan for grazing management would be the best fit in this part.

For farmers, describing their cropping rotations and land practices that they plan to adopt for monitoring their farm’s performance in this section will be a plus. Keeping copies of this section in print form will help the landlords to see the potential in your business plan.

Animal and Equipment Management

The tools that turn land resources into profits are animal and equipment resources. This section must include an overview of all the maintenance plans and crisis management plans along with a list of essential tools and equipment.

Ranchers must include the animals that will be involved in the cattle production business. All the details of breeding plans, genetics, nutrition plans, health plans including vaccination practices would be added in this section.

Having all these details written in one place will enable you to seek help and guidance from nutritionists and veterinarians and receive their feedback from them to make improvements where it’s needed.

Plan for Marketing

It will take some time to develop a good plan for marketing. Starting with the identification of the services and products that you plan to sell and set of goals that you intend to achieve with your plan. You need to answer some key questions on this section such as when you will be selling the services or products. Who will be your customers? What tools will you require to achieve your goals and how do you plan to use those tools.

Marketing plans do not need to be complex in order to be effective. This part should clearly define how your products and services are better from your competitors and the size of the market that you plan to sell them into.

Human Resources

Labor management can be taken for granted on small ranches or farms. If you want to keep your operators, you must have a plan to achieve their trust. This section must contain details of all people including owners and managing staff, their responsibilities and roles, and how do you plan to cater to their needs. It will be a plus if you describe how your workers and partners will benefit by working with you and how do you intend to train beginners.


All your balance sheets, projected cash flows, income sheets, loan schedules, financial risk management plans, and all other plans relating to finance must be included in this section. This section requires updating more than any other section of your business plan. 


After developing a business plan, it should be updated as per the requirement of your business as it is an ongoing process. If you do not have a business plan, it is time that you should start developing one. A good business plan will help you in achieving all your goals and make profits as much as possible.