Increasing Your Brand Awareness Is Good Farm Marketing

Make A Stencil: Increasing Your Brand Awareness Is Good Farm Marketing

Article by John Suscovich from Farm Marketing Solutions

Your farm is your brand, and your brand is your farm. It is always good practice to increase your brand awareness. This is particularly true when you are starting a farm.

On my farm and off I am always putting my farm name anywhere I can. I leave business cards at cafes and book stores, I leave pamphlets at doctor’s offices, and I have shirts with my farm name on them that I wear anywhere I go. After all, I want my business to be a success, and in order for it to become a success more people have to know about it.

With visitors coming every week to my farm I wanted a way for my farm name to get into the pictures that they take, and for it to get into the pictures that I take and put online. A simple solution for me was to create a cardboard stencil so I can “tag” all of my stuff and increase brand awareness.

The process was very simple, and I will have the stencil as long as I can keep it in one piece. Here’s what I did:


I chose a simple font and printed out the letters to my farm name in a very large font size. Obviously the whole name will not fit on one sheet so you will have to print out several sheets.

Next I lined up all the letters and taped them onto a piece of cardboard. I actually doubled up on the cardboard and cut out two stencils at once. Always good to have a back-up.


Choose a simple font that will be easy to read. It will also make it easier to cut out. I used Arial for this.


Put it everywhere. I have it on my chicken tractors, my farm trailer, and I’ll even put it on my Vermont Cart. Just make sure the stencil doesn’t move when you are painting or it will look funny. Here I held it with bricks. I have also used a t-50 stapler to hold it while I spray.


You can see my stencil on the end of my chicken tractor that I brought to an Earth Day event.

Return on Investment

My farm name is increasingly in my pictures that get shared all over the internet. Since it is clear that I take my business seriously and I want to be a success, others want to see me succeed as well. That leads to an increase of CSA members (4 since the event a couple days ago), and a bolstering of the community around my farm.

What can you be doing to increase brand awareness for you farm?

Link Photo courtesy of Farm Marketing Solutions

Article courtesy of Farm Marketing Solutions

For more information on how to brand your farm business check out a video by Ernest Barbaric on creating your brand online.


Introduction to the Human Resource Risk Pillar of Your Farm Business

This is an introduction video for the Human Resource pillar in the “5 Pillars of Risk Management” series. Of all the risks that are associated with the farm business, human resource risk is the most important. Studies have shown that at least 80% of businesses do not transfer because of a communication or conflict issues, therefore it’s essential for you to ensure you understand the human resource risks on your farm operation.

Though large corporations have human resource departments and realize that this is a much needed component of their business, farmers often go at it alone without any human resource background at all. From employee reviews to how to navigate your way through the growth of your farm business, having a human resource plan in place can be a very valuable asset.

Watch Reg Shandro explain what a human resource risk is and what you can do to minimize it on your farm operation.

This workshop was funded in part by the Agriculture & Food Council of Alberta

Mitigating the Risks of Shareholder’s Loans in Your Farm Business

In any farming operation, whether incorporated or sole proprietorship, capital has to be put into the operations.

One sitution with an incorporated farm is when capital is required and a shareholder contributes assets or cash, sometimes the consideration that comes back to the shareholder is a shareholder loan (i.e. the farming operation owes the shareholder money). Therefore, it is prudent for the shareholder to become a secured shareholder, meaning they secure the loan the farming operation owes. This is important so that in the event the farm business needs to pay off creditors, the debt owed to the shareholder is secured, and thus will be paid off before any unsecured debts.

It is essential to remember that the key to mitigating any risk is to understand that you’re running a business. Even though it is your farm operation, it is still a business, and just as a prudent business person would want to secure a loan given to a corporation, you should also make sure you’re loan is secured when loaning to your incorporated farm.

Watch Tracy Hanson explain how to mitigate the risks of shareholder loans to your farming operation.

This workshop was funded in part by the Agriculture & Food Council of Alberta

Mitigating the Risks of Shareholder Loans in your Farm Business


Writing the Rules: Making Sure all Your Farm Business Partners are on the Same Page

One of the risks for a farming operation that is often overlooked is management and continuity of ownership. This is one of the reasons it is essential that whatever your business structure, you need to understand what the rules are.

Even if you’ve talked about it, and especially if you haven’t, writing down a partnership agreement or unanimous shareholders agreement, is a critical step for your farm business.

This will be a living document, meaning that as the farming business grows the document will evolve with it.

Don’t miss this important lesson from Tracy Hanson, Calgary lawyer, onthe importance of writing down the rules of your farm operation.
This workshop was funded in part by the Agriculture & Food Council of Alberta


3 Big Factors in Choosing a Legal Structure for Your Farm Business: Tax, Liability and Succession!

The first thing to be aware of is that all the legal structures are used on family farm businesses, and sometimes some families even use a combination of them. For example, it’s possible to have the farm operations incorporated but the land kept outside of the company and owed personally.

Tracy Hanson, lawyer at Walsh LLP in Calgary, discusses the three major factors for choosing a legal structure: tax, liability and succession.

With regards to tax, it’s possible to incorporate the farm operations, so that the company is then paying corporate tax rates. In Alberta, the corporate tax rate on the first $500,000 of income is 14%. For personal income, it’s 39%. So, when you have individuals with significant income, often the level of tax becomes a driving force for incorporation. Once incorporated you have 86 cent dollars to pay debt or expand. However, a downside to incoroporating is the complexity and extra administrative costs.

Whether or not your farm business fits into one structure or another is dependent on the type of farm business. There’s no magical answer to what structure fits for any given business or type of farm, simply because there are so many factors to consider.

This workshop was funded in part by the Agriculture & Food Council of Alberta



Basic Legal Structures for a Family Farm

For any family farm there are a number of options for setting up a legal structure. It can range from sole proprietorship to a corporation. In between there is partnership and joint venture. What makes sense for your farm business depends on the maturity of the business, the players and the tax planning opportunities.

Tracy Hanson, lawyer at Walsh LLP in Calgary, Alberta explains the basic legal structures for a family farm. Watch the video to learn more abotu family farm legal structures!

This workshop was funded in part by the Agriculture & Food Council of Alberta

For further information on legal organizational structures please refer to the following:

Legal Organizational Structure by Agricultural Marketing Resource Center



Incorporated Farms and the Benefits of an Unanimous Shareholder Agreement

We hope D-Day will never come, but divorce, death and default can ruin any business if you’re not prepared with a solid unanimous shareholder agreement.

As with any business, there needs to be a plan for when certain events happen on your farm operation. If your farm is incorporated, it is prudent to also have a unanimous shareholder agreement in place. A unanimous shareholder agreement is intended to be the back-stop for the relationship between shareholders. In 99% of cases the agreement is never referred to but it sure is important to have when a problem arises.

Watch Tracy Hanson, Calgary lawyer, explain the benefits of having a unanimous shareholder agreement for incorporated farm operations.

This workshop was funded in part by the Agriculture & Food Council of Alberta



Re-Thinking the Future of Agriculture

Vik Maraj, of Unstoppable Conversations, discusses how to improve the future of agriculture by letting go of the past.

Farmers can’t get out of their view about what limits them in fulfilling their future ambitions. Often they think that they are “on their own.” This view has been passed down by previous farm generations, however the limitations of generations past, no longer reflects the reality of today. In the past, farmers truly where on their own, left to battle it out each year for the hope a good yield, come harvest time. But today, farmers need to realize they are not on their own and to be able to re-imagine a new future of agriculture they must start reaching out to other farmers, organizations and networks.

The future of agriculture cannot improve by referencing the past; it requires us to bring forth a future that is entirely new.



Why You Need a Capital Budget Plan for Your Business

If you’ve ever had to phone your banker from the auction mart about an un-planned capital purchase, you probably could use a capital budget plan.

Another component of financial risk is understanding your capital budget(i.e. what items in an ideal world do you think you need in the next 12 months?). This information is helpful for your banker, as it helps him/her plan for your farm’s future.

You need to have and understand your capital budget plan. Not only will it help you make good with your banker but it will also help to take the emotions of decision making in relation to the market place.

Watch Reg Shandro explain why you need a capital budget plan.

This workshop was funded in part by the Agriculture & Food Council of Alberta

Why you need a capital budget plan for your farm business

Why You Need to Develop a Farm Marketing Plan

Marketing is an essential part of any successful farm business. Whether you’re selling a commodity or a retail product your marketing strategy starts with putting together a marketing plan.

A marketing plan helps you keep out emotions when you’re making decisions in your farm business. You need a plan so that you don’t get caught up in hype, and a farm marketing plan will go along way to ensuring you stay the steady course.

Watch Reg Shandro explain why it’s important to have a farm marketing plan on your farm business operation.

This workshop was funded in part by the Agriculture & Food Council of Alberta


Take the first step in developing a farm marketing plan