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Master of Agribusiness

A Business Plan for a 600-Acre Farm and a 300-Head Commercial Cow Herd in South-Central Idaho

Joshua Staley, Buhl, ID, defended his thesis, “A Business Plan for a 600-Acre Farm and a 300-Head Commercial Cow Herd in South-Central Idaho,” December 9, 2010.  He graduated from Kansas State University in December with a Master’s in Agribusiness (MAB). 

Staley has been involved in production agriculture throughout his life.  He has been leasing a 200 acre farm and 100 Black Angus cow herd while working in the construction industry. He’s interested in expanding his farming operation to more acres and cattle in order to take advantage of economies of scale, but wanted to determine the feasibility of doing so.

“I’ve come to realize leasing a small farm and cow herd is only a break-even proposition. If we increase the herd and amount of land, can we produce a sustainable income for my family and earn enough to purchase our own herd?” Staley said.

He put together a business plan and examined the feasibility of increasing his land and herd size for his Master of Agribusiness thesis project.

Michael Langemeier, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Staley’s thesis advisor, said, “Business planning is a very useful tool when examining the start-up of a new business or a major expansion of an existing business.  Josh’s thesis develops a business plan for a diversified crop and beef cow farm in south central Idaho.  The business plan includes a mission statement and goals as well as production, marketing, personnel, and financial components.”

While writing his business plan, Staley reviewed current market trends and prices for commodities, production costs, land rental, share cropping ventures and other variables. Considering the financial commitments required in the business plan, the expansion is not profitable after paying the owners draw and additional labor. He has decided to consider other options.

“We need to review other options before making the decision to expand our farming operation,” Staley said. “Other possibilities include adjusting the farm-share agreement, changing the calf-crop share and producing other crops. If we can find the right combination, expanding our operation will be a good opportunity for us.”

The full thesis publication can be found online on K-State’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/7033.