Date of Conferral







David Bouvin


Over the last 100 years, more than 3 million small farming operations have been replaced by large factory farms in America. This shift toward food production by conglomerations has led to severe environmental issues, food security hazards, and economic hardship in farming communities nationwide. This study investigated the extent to which a written business plan could help small farming operations meet their sales objectives and ultimately continue to operate; this study also examined the perceptions of farm owners regarding the ability of a business plan to affect sales objectives. The sample consisted of 71 Maine Farms for Future (FFF) recipients and 71 randomly selected New England farmers as identified by the Maine Department of Agriculture. The study used a mixed methods approach. Quantitative data were analyzed using a Mann-Whitney U test to determine the extent to which creating a business plan corresponds with the ability to meet sales objectives. Qualitative data were analyzed using inductive and open coding techniques to determine the extent to which farmers perceive business planning as having value. Quantitative data analysis showed the differences between the groups to be statistically significant and that a written business plan corresponded with farmers meeting sales objectives. The qualitative analysis showed that the majority of both groups identified business plans as having value due to its ability to affect sales objectives. These findings confirm resource-based theory as a valid predictor of why farmers write a business plan. This study may positively impact social change by providing small farming operations a way to increase sustainability and reduce the food security risks that are commonly caused by large factory farming practices.