How to Start a Small Farm Business In Florida

Thanks to its warm and humid climate, Florida is an ideal place to start a farming business.

In 2017, there were over 47,000 commercial farms and ranches in Florida that collectively used more than nine million acres of land. 

However, learning how to start a farming business in Florida isn’t easy. The process is not as straightforward as you might think and requires significant planning.

If you’re wondering how you can start a farm in Florida, then read on to learn about the ins and outs of the process.

Also consider reaching out to a qualified agribusiness attorney to help you navigate the legal requirements and achieve your farming dreams. 

Step 1: Know Yourself

Knowing how to start a farm in Florida begins with knowing yourself. Before you take any other steps, you need to understand whether operating a small farming business is a good fit for you. Starting and running a farming business is no small task. Some people simply aren’t cut out for it. 

So take a moment to self-assess and consider whether you have the key qualities to start and manage a small farming business. Here are some questions you should think about:

  • Do you like working outside?
  • Can you stay determined and optimistic after experiencing a setback?
  • Are you good at making a plan and sticking to it?
  • Are you financially savvy?
  • Are you a hard worker?
  • Can you take risks?

Knowing how to deal with clients, maintain a budget, and supervise employees are also potentially important skills.

Step 2: Set Goals for Your Farming Business

The next step in learning how to start a farming business is defining your business goals. For example, how much money do you want your farming business to make?

The USDA defines a “small” farm as any farm receiving less than $350,000 in gross farm income. Depending on the size and income of the farming business, you will have to comply with different tax and regulatory requirements.

There are plenty of other questions you should consider when developing your farming business goals:

  • What kind of crops do you want to grow? 
  • What kind of animals do you want to raise? 
  • Do you want to be able to bring visitors onto your farm? 
  • Do you want to work by yourself or hire a few employees to work on your farm? 

The answers to all these questions will affect your legal options and obligations.

Step 3: Develop Your Farm’s Business Plan

Understanding how to start a farm in Florida also involves creating a business plan. Essentially, a business plan summarizes how you will use your available resources to accomplish your goals. It also announces your vision and mission for your farming business.

In other words, if Step 2 is about helping you make your goals, Step 3 explores how you will achieve your goals. 

Although the format and length of business plans vary significantly, you’ll want the following sections in your plan.

Executive Summary

This section focuses on the farming business’s mission, vision, and operating goals. It also relates key statistics of the financial characteristics, marketing strategies, and other components of the business. Finally, the executive summary typically includes a brief discussion of the key personnel in the farming business.

Financial Plan

The financial plan of the farming business summarizes the business’s assets, liabilities, projected income, and profit margins. It also discusses global financial indicators and trends.

Business Description

The business description relates the basic information of your farming business. Specific items include the farming business’s name, location, and organizational structure. This section will also list which crops the farm has and what animals are present.

There are several other sections of a business plan, like an operational plan and a human resources plan. An experienced agribusiness attorney can help you create a business plan that puts you in the best position for success. 

Step 4: Finance Your Small Farming Business

Once you have developed a business plan, you need to find enough financial resources to get your business off the ground. To complete this step, you must understand what resources you already have and what items you will need to pay for. 

  • Do you own your farmland, or are you leasing it? 
  • How much will your farming equipment, seeds, and animals cost to purchase? 
  • What are your main sources of income? 
  • Are you obtaining loans from a bank or from investors? 
  • Do you have a good enough credit score to qualify for the loans you need? 
  • Do you need co-lenders? 

Asking yourself these questions is essential to priming your small farming business for success. You can discover more about how you can fund your business by contacting a qualified business attorney.

Step 5: Formally Create Your Business

The final part of knowing how to start a farm in Florida is understanding how you should form your business. There are many ways to structure a business. Each type of business features unique advantages and disadvantages. 

For example, the most simple form of business is a sole proprietorship. One advantage of a sole proprietorship is that the business owner controls all of the business’s profits. There are also relatively few regulations that apply to sole proprietorships, and they are easy to start.

However, an owner of a sole proprietorship cannot separate their personal assets from their business’s assets. This means that they are personally liable for all the business’s debts. 

Depending on your objectives, you may want to consider making your business a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. 

Again, you will have to assess your personal needs and goals and decide which form of business is the best fit. Once you have made your choice, you will need to file the required forms and pay the necessary fees to register your business with the state. You will likely also need to obtain special permits from the state government. 

Want to Know More About How to Start a Small Farm Business?

Starting your own small farm business isn’t easy. We know the challenges and difficulties of getting your farming business off the ground.

At Groves Law, we care about you as a human being and about your personal agribusiness goals.

Whether you’re a retired farmer looking to bring revenue back to the land, a horticulturist or aquaculturist collaborating with restaurants and investors, or an agronomy entrepreneur trying to navigate local ordinances while setting up shop, we’re here for you.

Give us a call. Let’s have a beer and discuss how we can help you achieve your goals.

Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. We disclaim any duty to update or correct any information contained in this blog post, including errors, even if we are notified about them. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we disclaim all representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied with respect to the information contained in this blog post, including, but not limited to, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, non-infringement, accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. We will not be liable for damages of any kind arising from or in connection with your use of or reliance on this blog post, including, but not limited to, direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, and punitive damages. You agree to use this blog post at your own risk. Regarding your particular circumstances, we recommend that you consult your own legal counsel (hopefully Groves Law).

Author Photo

Kara Groves

After earning her law degree from University of Florida Levin College of Law and working as a tort defense litigator, Kara is settling down and bought some acreage out in Mount Dora. She has returned to her sustainable, regulatory background to help farmers and locally-focused businesses innovate and capitalize on direct-to-consumer movements across the state. In her off time, Kara is an avid gardener and cook. You’ll often find her in downtown Mount Dora adding to her plant collection or taking client meetings in the local brewery and marketplace.

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