Building a Farm Business

Resources to assist in developing a farm business in Tennessee

Getting Started Building a Farm Business

When developing a farm business, begin with these three steps:

Is making a profit the main purpose of your farming efforts?

Yes – Operating a Farm Business

If the aim of your operation is profitability, the Internal Revenue Service considers it to be a farm business.

According to the Farmers Tax Guide (Pub. 225), “You are in the business of farming if you cultivate, operate, or manage a farm for profit, either as owner or tenant. A farm includes livestock, dairy, poultry, fish, fruit, and truck farms. It also includes plantations, ranches, ranges, orchards, and groves.”

No – Operating a Hobby Farm:

You have a hobby if the goal is producing an agricultural product for your consumption or enjoyment instead of selling for profit.

The Internal Revenue Service will not recognize a hobby as a farm business for tax purposes.

Considerations for All Farms:

Greenbelt Designation

The Greenbelt Act allows approved property to be valued based on its present use, lowering the value of land for tax purposes. Contact the property assessor in the county where the property is located.

Additional Considerations for Farm Businesses:


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MANAGE Program

The MANAGE team consists of Extension specialists across the state who help farm families evaluate their farm financial situation to help make informed business decisions through consultations and educational programs.

Learn more about the MANAGE program

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Farming Fundamentals

Farming Fundamentals is an online program that provides producers who are beginning a new venture in agriculture with resources and information on the essential principles needed to build a successful operation. Register online to begin the training modules.

Learn more about the Farming Fundamentals program

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Master Farm Manager

The Master Farm Manager program is offered online and in-person through county Extension agents and builds upon the business principles in Farming Fundamentals to assist existing or experienced farm business managers.

Learn more about the Master Farm Manager program

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UT Extension

Residential and Consumer Agriculture Education

UT Extension offers educational programs on a variety of production subject matters for both hobbyists and farmers.

Learn More About UT Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Programs

County Offices

UT Extension has an office in all 95 counties with an agricultural agent available to assist you.

Find your county office

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