Introduction & Start-up: Business Financials

Links for developing, monitoring and executing financial plans for business success can be found below:

Steps to Commercializing a Value-added Food Business identifies some aspects of business development for food businesses that you need to consider.

Starting an Agricultural Cooperative – Center for Cooperatives, University of California -- A guide for new agricultural marketing cooperatives from conception to operation.

State Start-Up Requirements – NOLO Law for All -- Yet another governmental level to deal with.

Steps to Commercializing a Value-added Food Business


When starting a business, you must Choose a Legal Structure. Traditionally, farm businesses have been sole proprietorships. However, when starting a value-added business, there is usually more than one owner. Cooperatives have been a popular form for value-added businesses, especially what has become known as the New Generation Cooperative. More recently, Limited Liability Companies have been used. You must navigate through the maze of characteristics of these forms of organizational structure to find the one best for you.

How to Organize a Cooperative, Cooperatives Principles and Legal Foundations - USDA -- This guide outlines the process of organizing and financing a cooperative business.

The Farmer’s Legal Guide to Producer Marketing Associations – National Ag Law Center -- Business Fundamentals and Marketing, Joint Producer Marketing Enterprises, Legal Business Organizations, Financing, Risk Management, Contract Law, Federal Laws Regulating Agricultural Sales.

An Overview of Organizational and Ownership Options Available to Agricultural Enterprises, Parts I  – The National Agricultural Law Center -- This two-part article provides an overview of most of the organizational choices available to persons interested in owning and operating an agricultural enterprise. Part 2.

When Employee Ownership Makes Sense -- Kent State University -- The mushrooming of employee ownership over the last decade is due in large part to the legal recognition of ESOPs in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).