Northwest Botanicals,Inc.
1212 SW 5th Street
Grants Pass, OR 97526-6104

(541) 476-5588
(541) 476-1823 (FAX)

by Richard Alan Miller ©2000

For specific detail on what a typical farm plan should contain, see Chapter 5 of The Potential Of Herbs As A Cash Crop. Ideally, it should contain a detailed description of each crop selected, and spread sheets of proforma costs for each year.

As part of this example, I have chosen a number of crops that have options in their marketing. This was done to demonstrate the difference between marketing the products as raw materials or adding value to them as a cottage industry. The crops selected are

The Executive Summary: A single page executive summary (or overview) is helpful to give an overall perspective of what goals are desired. This summary should contain one paragraph on each of the following topics:

Purpose: To develop a model farm for alternative crops well suited for the soils and terrain of your farm. To also create markets for those crops, and to eventually develop specific cottage industries using those crops (marketing direction)

Objective: To produce herb and spice crops for the trade, and to develop accurate cost-of-goods produced for eventual expansion opportunities. To take advantage of specific resources in the area, to include capital equipment, skills, and buildings available.

Scope: A poly-culturing situation is recommended where a number of different crops are cultivated simultaneously, improving market access and cash flow stability. The program should include crop rotation schedules and other techniques for soil improvement.

Time Factor: A timetable is needed, to include expansion. Most perennials will be developed as seedlings during a summer for fall row planting. Some seeds are annuals, and can be drilled in late fall or early spring. Greenhouse support gets your program off the ground faster, however raised beds will cost less and delay your overall program one-half year.

Anticipated Costs: These vary with individual crops, averaging less than $2,000 per acre for initial establishment, and should include subsequent yearly maintenance costs. A detailed cost of establishment/yields proforma should be included. All floral crops can be expanded later for other markets.

Anticipated Incomes: Most suggested perennial crops will yield as much as $20,000 per acre (gross) after establishment (3rd year) when sold as dried florals. Other crops, like Fenugreek, might be seen as by-products to soil amendment requirements. Expansion into the forests and wildcrafting ventures only broaden marketing.

Anticipated Volumes: These will vary from Fenugreek, estimated at yields of about 1,000 pounds per acre, to such crops as Comfrey with more than 8,000 dry-weight pounds per acre. This is where you might describe handling problems and other logistics.

Potential Markets: This is essential as part of the overall marketing program to make the business plan successful. It could include options in the way something might be marketed.

Crop Selection: How one arrives at a list of specific crops is very difficult, and needs to take into account such variables as soils and habitat, capital equipment and resources available, and future market projection needs. This usually requires an expert, or more information beyond the scope of this book.

More detail and direction in selecting specific crops can be found in the new book Getting Started: Some Important Considerations for the Beginning Herb Farmer, by Richard Alan Miller. This is book number 1 in the new Herb Farming Series (Richters of Canada). Marketing and Economic Outlooks should also be review before final crop selections.

NOTE: This article was taken from Getting Started: Important Considerations for the Herb Farmer, Richard Alan Miller, c2000. For this and other books, PDF downloads are available from You can also visit Richard Alan Miller's website at


For general information on additional books, manuscripts, lecture tours, and related materials and events by Richard Alan Miller, please write to:

1212 SW 5th St.
Grants Pass, OR 97526
Phone: (541) 476-5588
Fax: (541) 476-1823

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In addition, you can visit Richard Alan Miller's home page for a listing of his writings, also containing links to related subjects, and direction in the keywords Metaphysics, Occult, Magick, Parapsychology, Alternative Agriculture, Herb and Spice Farming, Foraging and Wildcrafting, and related Cottage Industries. Richard Alan Miller is available for lectures and as an Outside Consultant. No part of this material, including but not limited to, manuscripts, books, library data, and/or layout of electronic media, icons, et al, may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means (photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of Richard Alan Miller, the Publisher (and Author).