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John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Farm Business Plan

Business planning for the farm is an essential first step in operating a successful alpaca enterprise. A business plan allows you to see where you are going and where you have been in time to avoid costly mistakes. A business plan is a living document and should be reviewed and adjusted regularly.

The Farm Business Plan

A farm business plan must take into account the short and long range plans of the farm's owner. The alpaca industry in the US is maturing and many opportunities exist. To be successful, however, one must be clear on where they are going. (It might be helpful to see our checklist for alpaca owners)

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Business Plan Outline

Farm business plans are divided into sections, but all of the sections are inter-related and draw upon one another in the construction of a well thought out plan. Information in each section should be concise and include an evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats which apply to the plan. Every farm is unique, in terms of location, soil quality, people, etc. A business plan should address all the points which are applicable to your farm.

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Business Plan Sections

A farm business plan should be packaged in such a way as to immediately convey a professional image. This means, among other things, using good quality cotton rag paper, a nice binding, and a professional looking layout and organization.

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Marketing Overview

The Marketing Plan begins by clearly defining the niche the business owner expects to fill.  Any business failing to do this will have a difficult startup phase. This is especially true in any agriculture industry and for any farm. Developing a Marketing Plan as part of the business plan will assist greatly in focusing productive energy towards generating sales and income.

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Human Resources Plan

A Human Resources Plan may seem unnecessary for a startup farm, but this is not always true. Even on a small farm tasks necessary for its operation are divided up, and each person involved brings different skills to the table. Planning ahead can help to avoid duplicate efforts and miscommunication.

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Production Plan

The Production Plan encompasses all the details surrounding how your farm operation will produce products for market. It includes such things as land, buildings, equipment, supplies and processes, as well as laws and regulations that impact the business. Production is the core income producer for a farm, so this section deserves detailed attention.

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Financial Plan

The Financial Plan is, of course, an integral part of any business plan. Financials should be considered to be living documents. Successful businesses will normally take a formal look at their financial documents at least every 6 months, updating them as necessary. Fixed and variable costs have a way of changing over time, usually to the disadvantage of the owner, and startup assumptions are not always accurate.

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Business Goals

Business Goals are an extremely important component of success.  While no one can predict the future with any certainty, lack of goals will result in lack of focus.  The business plan should at minimum include:

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The appendix will contain supporting materials for each section of the business plan, including:

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Alpaca Sales

"There were three species of this genus in Peru, the llama, alpaca, and vicuna. These domesticated and constituted what the Spaniards in their first reports called sheep..."

- Emory Allen
The Prehistoric World; or, Vanished races
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