Organic food is a booming business. The profit potential–along with other rewards–has farmers, ranchers and food business owners across the country considering the switch to organic production. But successfully managing your business through the multi-year transition process requires careful planning.

If you are interested in transitioning, the new SARE publication Organic Transition: A Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers and Food Entrepreneurs is the perfect tool to help. The Organic Transition Planner will walk you through the development of an actionable business transition plan that is suitable for yourself, your management team or a lender.

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While not a comprehensive guide to meeting certification requirements, the Organic Transition Planner will help you explore organic transition strategies and decide whether going organic makes sense for your farm or business. With it you can explore critical questions such as:

  • What are your long-term business goals?
  • What organic market opportunities are you in a position to exploit?
  • How will you acquire the resources you need to make the transition?
  • How will you anticipate and deal with challenges as they arise?

The Organic Transition Planner contains explanations of key concepts, real-life examples from transitioning farmers and detailed worksheets covering farm operations, marketing, human resources and finances. For ease of use, electronic spreadsheets, fillable PDF worksheets and AgPlan, a business planning software program, are all available online with the Organic Transition Planner. Print copies are available for $16 plus shipping and handling, with discounts available for bulk purchases.

The Organic Transition Planner can be used as a companion to SARE popular business planning guide, Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses. Both were written by University of Minnesota Department of Applied Economics Research Fellow Gigi DiGiacomo, University of Minnesota Department of Applied Economics Professor Robert P. King and Center for Farm Financial Management Associate Director Dale Nordquist.

The Organic Transition Planner was developed as part of the Tools for Transition Project, a four-year research program on the economics of organic transition funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, with support from the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. It is published by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).