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How to Start a Farm: Sell Your Products

Explore everything about producing, marketing and selling your product. We want to help you provide the best product possible and offer guidance on each step of the process.

Keep reading about selling your product below, get an overview of the beginning farmer's journey, or jump to a different section of the farmer's journey.

Produce Your Product

Manage your crops, animals, and other products strategically through USDA programs, information, and tools.


Process Your Product

Much like getting your business started, processing your product includes innovation and planning. We can help determine which programs best fit your operation.


Food Safety

Building a good food safety plan is a top priority for a new and beginning farm business. There are both national and state regulations which apply to farm and ranch businesses. For federal compliance, the following resources below can be useful. For more information on your individual state’s requirements, please visit your State Department of Agriculture.


Market Your Product

Marketing for your operation raises customer awareness of your products and drives purchases that fulfill their needs.

Standards and Certifications

The Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) quality grade standards and its independent third-party grading, certification, auditing, inspection, and laboratory analysis services are voluntary tools producers can use to help promote and communicate quality and wholesomeness to consumers. These standards and services can help new farmers be more competitive in the evolving marketplace and access new market opportunities.


Economic Trends in Agriculture

Track agricultural economics that affect product data using tools from these USDA agencies.


Local and Regional Food Systems

The consumer demand for locally-produced food is creating jobs and opportunity throughout rural America for farms, businesses and entrepreneurs that store, process, market and distribute food locally and regionally. Farm and business opportunities continue to increase as the market share of local and regional foods grows.

USDA provides many resources for new farmers who are interested in producing and marketing local food, organized under the Local and Regional Food Working Group.

Resources include USDA grants and loans and a wide range of tools that can help farmers, ranchers, other businesses, communities, and individuals looking to build or take advantage of local and regional food systems.

Bins of specialty produce for sale in front of a store

Sell Your Product

When it comes to selling your product there are many options such as local business, markets and schools. You can also sell directly to USDA or consider exporting.

Selling Locally

USDA's Local Food Directories help producers and consumers locate farmers markets, on-farm markets, CSAs, and food hubs. Managers and owners of local food entities are invited to enter and/or update their business information in the directories.

Find Local Food Directories Description
Farmers Markets Farmers markets feature two or more farm vendors selling agricultural products directly to customers at a common, recurrent physical location.
On-Farm Markets On-farm markets are managed by a single farm operator that sells agricultural and/or horticultural products directly to consumers from a location on their farm property or on property adjacent to that farm.
CSAs Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a farm or network/association of multiple farms that offers consumers regular (usually weekly) deliveries of locally-grown farm products during one or more harvest season(s) on a subscription or membership basis.
Food Hubs A food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products to multiple buyers from multiple producers, primarily local and regional producers. Food hubs strengthen the ability of these producers to satisfy local and regional wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.

Farm to School

Schools across the country are increasingly interested in buying lunchroom products from local or regional producers, and schools are often a good market for new farmers. Farm to school grants and technical assistance can help link farmers to schools.

Developing Export Capacity

Exporting can be a valuable tool for new and beginning farmers to build new product markets, grow and expand businesses, and diversify revenue streams. USDA and our partners can help.

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) can help beginning farmers and ranchers explore exporting opportunities through activities like trade missions, reverse buyer missions, trade leads, and trade shows highlighted on their web sites.

Get started with exporting

Selling Food to USDA

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service purchases a variety of 100% domestically produced and processed commodity food products. The wholesome, high-quality products purchased by USDA—collectively called USDA Foods—are delivered to schools, food banks, and households in communities across the country.

Learn more about selling food to USDA

 

Video: How to Become a USDA Vendor

Resources



Next Steps

As you operate your farm, it’s important to manage your farm business, such as filing annual acreage reports, filing taxes, and staying up to date with program deadlines.

6. Maintain your farm operation

How to Start a Farm with USDA

Get an overview of the beginning farmer's journey or jump to a specific page below.

Find Your Local Service Center

Ver en:

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.

Learn more about our Urban Service Centers.

Visit the Risk Management Agency website to find a regional or compliance office or to find an insurance agent near you.