Farm business planning

Farm business planning, succession planning

Farmers need to plan to ensure their farm business will continue to support them through good times and bad. Planning should account for worst case scenarios with the hope that they never happen.

Changes to climate, markets, farm practices and consumer demand for produce need to be taken into account. Making a farm business plan is complex and can be daunting, but there are many highly trained professionals to help guide your decisions. Your business plan should also include a timeline for your retirement, family succession or eventual sale of the farm. For long-term planning to result in successful and achievable outcomes, discussions should involve all members of the family who are part of the farm business. There is no point planning for a member of the next generation to take over the farming business if they are not interested in doing so.

So where can you go for help? You can look up in the telephone directory or online for various industry organisations, agricultural consultants, accountants, financial planners or banks. It may be worth talking to friends, family and neighbours to see whether they can recommend someone in particular. You can also follow the links further down this page.

If you find yourself in a crisis situation, do not despair and give up hope. There are many organisations you can go to for help both with personal problems and for advice about available support services  to get you through a crisis.

References used for this topic page

More information:

Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Dairy Farmer Support
Dairy Farmer Central

National Centre for Farmer Health
Support Page

Centrelink – Department of Human Services
Payments for rural and remote Australians

Agriculture Victoria

Department of Primary Industries (NSW)

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Tas)

Farm Business Planning Tools

Sustainable farm management decision support tools


Get help


Communication in relationships

Research & reviews:

Queensland University of Technology

Influence of farm management on NSW rural property income and total average annual returns [PDF 226kb]

Australasian Accounting, Business and Finance Journal
Succession Planning in Australian Farming

Journal of Rural Studies
The future of family farming: A literature review on innovative, sustainable and succession-oriented strategies

Fast facts:

Farm business planning

  • Many farms are a business, and every business needs a plan to set goals and help guide it through difficult times.
  • Seek professional help to develop a sustainable plan for your farm. You may be eligible for assistance from a free financial counsellor.
  • Don’t despair if you are in a crisis, contact support services for help and advice.

Last updated: 16th January, 2019