Find a local pick your own farm here!

Looking for Resources For Agri-entertainment and PYO Farms: Liability Issues in 2023?  Scroll down this page and  follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above.  If you are having a hard time finding canning lids, I've used these, and they're a great price & ship in 2 days.

If you have questions or feedback, please let me know! There are affiliate links on this page.  Read our disclosure policy to learn more. 

Resources For Agri-entertainment and PYO Farms: Liability Issues

Obtaining Funding to start a farm, PYO / U-Pick, Pumpkin Patch, Corn Maze or other Agri-Entertainment Farm Operations

How to get money and where to start your farm

Are you interested in starting a PYO operation and trying to find funding?  This page

This is adapted from an Ohio State University Fact Sheet: "Liability for Visitors to Farm Property". Obviously, the regulations and laws vary from state to state, so you must speak with a lawyer to understand what applies where you are located. There's a book on this subject, titled: "The Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing¬©" By Neil D. Hamilton, available from Drake University Agricultural Law Center.  I haven't read the book, but you can find out more about it here.

You will obviously need insurance to help mitigate and financial damage should  an accident, lawsuit or other problem occur.

NOTE:  Do you have any suggestions who to contact for PYO Liability Insurance?  A farmer has written, saying he wants to start a PYO but cannot find a company that will write  a policy.  If you have any suggestions, please write me!




Starting your own farm business offers rewards that range from being your own boss, to working at something you enjoy, to earning income for yourself. A successful farm operation requires careful planning and decision-making, and most importantly, a sound business plan to guide you through the initial start-up years. This guide contains information about issues to consider before starting a farming operation with links to full-text guides on how to start a farm business, and develop business and marketing plans. It also contains information about funding sources for beginning farmers, training, technical assistance contacts, organizations with resources and programs for beginning and experienced farmers, and more.

You may also consult a related Rural Information Center resource, Starting a Small Business

  1.'s guide to starting an agri-entertainment farm
  2. Starting a PYO - General considerations and an overview - by Renee M. Lloyd, Daniel S. Tilley, James R. Nelson,Oklahoma State University
  3. Pick-Your-Own Operations and Farm Stands; Options for Your Business - University of Wisconsin

Developing a Farm Business Plan

  1. Agribusiness Planning: Providing Direction for Agricultural Firms. Jeffrey Hyde, Sarah Roch. UA371. University Park: Penn State University Cooperative Extension, 2002. 12 p.
  2. Business Plan Preparation: Tools for Writing Business Plans. Stephen Lawrence, Frank Moyes. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado Leeds School of Business.
  3. Farm Business Plan Worksheet: Balance Sheet. FAS2037. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, 2005. 4 p.
  4. Farm Business Plan Worksheet: Projected/Actual Income and Expense. FSA2038. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, 2005. 2 p.
  5. Small Business Planner. Washington, DC: U.S. Small Business Administration.

Financial and Planning Resources

  1. Agricultural Income and Finance. (Annual reports) Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  2. Characteristics and Risk Management Needs of Limited-Resource and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers. Robert Dismukes, Joy L. Harwood, Susan E. Bentley. Agriculture Information Bulletin A1B733. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 1997. 104 p.
  3. Determinants of Financial Performance of Commercial Dairy Farms. Hisham S. El-Osta, James D. Johnson. Technical Bulletin 1859. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 1998. 42 p.
  4. Exploring the Small Farm Dream: Is Starting an Agricultural Business Right for You? Belchertown, MA: Growing New Farmers Consortium.
  5. Farmers Market Consortium: Resource Guide Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service. Updated 2007. pdf file 1.01 MB
  6. Financing Small-Scale and Part-Time Farms. Gregory D. Hanson, Jayson K. Harper, George L. Greaser. University Park: Penn State University Cooperative Extension, 2004. 6 p.
  7. Financing the Farm Operation. Phillip L Kunkel, Scott T. Larison. FS-02589. St. Paul, University of Minnesota Extension Service, 1998.
  8. How to Finance a Small Farm. Karen Klonsky. Family Farm Series. Davis: University of California Small Farm Center, n.d. 6 p.
  9. Starting or Diversifying an Agricultural Business. Lynn F. Kime, Sarah A. Roth, Jayson K. Harper. UA401. University Park: Penn State University Cooperative Extension, 2004. 6 p.
  10. Structural and Financial Characteristics of U.S. Farms: 2004 Family Farm Report. David E. Banker, James M. MacDonald, editors. Agriculture Information Bulletin AIB797. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 2005. 87 p.
  11. Successful Small Farming. Greensboro: North Carolina A and T State University. Successful Small Farming
  12. Tip Sheet for Young and Beginning Farmers: How to Build Successful Financial Relationships. Washington, DC: ABA Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking, n.d. 1 p.
  13. Tools and Resources (to Help New Farmers). Belchertown, MA: Growing New Farmers Consortium.
  14. Contacts for Technical Assistance: Both SBA and USDA provide small business planning technical assistance and USDA also provides technical farming specifics through the extensive network of USDA, Cooperative Extension Service (CES) specialists:

Funding and Program Assistance

State Programs

Start your financial assistance search with your state Department of Agriculture to see if your state has a Beginning Farmer Loan Program. The Federal government provides tax-exempt status for Beginning Farmer Loan Programs or "Aggie Bonds" that allow states to assist beginning, first-time farmers purchase land, equipment, buildings and livestock with reduced interest rate loans. The state creates the bond that in turn, allows lenders to earn federally-tax exempt interest income on loans to eligible beginning farmers and ranchers. The tax-savings allows the lenders to provide the loans at a reduced interest rate for first time farmers. Aggie Bond programs are federal-state, public-private partnership programs that provide a cost effective way for states to assist beginning farmers.

Agricultural Lenders

Information on Small Farms and Farm Financial Management can be located on the USDA's Economic Research Service web site.

Farm Banks: The nation's more than 2,500 farm banks (defined by the Federal Reserve Board as banks that have above average proportions of farm real estate and production loans in their loan portfolios -- around 14 percent and higher) offer a variety of loans to small and large farms and agribusiness firms; they also handle many of the loans made under USDA's guaranteed farm loan programs. Farm banks may provide short-term operating loans, less than a year in duration, for annual expenses such as seed and fertilizer; intermediate-term loans, usually two to five years, for capital expenses such as livestock and equipment; and, long-term loans, lasting ten years or more, for real estate or major structures and construction.

Farm Credit System (FCS): The FCS is a network of slightly more than 100 federally chartered borrower-owned lending institutions and related service organizations that specialize in providing credit and related services to farmers (also young and beginning), ranchers, and producers or harvesters of aquatic products. The FCS's provides credit and lease financing for full-time and two-career farmers. In addition to offering the same category of loans as farm banks, FCS institutions also offer revolving credit lines that are popular financing tools tailored to specific borrowing situations with repayment tied to cash flows. Additional information about the FCS is available from the Farm Credit Administration at

USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA): The FSA provides a variety of farm loan programs, including raditional operating loans, beginning farmer and youth programs. FSA also includes a mediation program for agricultural disputes.
FSA offers direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loans to family-size farmers and ranchers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank, Farm Credit System institution, or other lender. Borrowers include beginning farmers who do not qualify for conventional loans because they have insufficient financial resources, as well as established farmers who have suffered financial setbacks from natural disasters, or whose resources are too limited to maintain profitable farming operations. FSA loans can be used to purchase land, livestock, equipment, feed, seed, and supplies; they can also be used for building construction and improvements.
FSA guaranteed loans provide conventional agricultural lenders with up to a 95 percent guarantee of the principal loan amount. The lender is responsible for servicing a borrower's account, including the collection of payments, for the life of the loan. All loans must meet certain qualifying criteria to be eligible for guarantees.. Farmers interested in these loans must apply to a conventional lender, which then arranges for the FSA guarantee.

Agriculture Disaster Assistance

  • Disaster Assistance. USDA, Farm Service Agency.
  • Disaster Assistance for Agricultural Producers. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information. Service
  • Farm Aid. 1-800-FARM AID
  • Farm Animals: Disaster Planning. USDA, NAL, Animal Welfare Information Center.
  • Information for Livestock Owners. U.S. DHS, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • Getting Through Tough Financial Times. University of Illinois Extension Service.

    Organizations and Web Sites

    ABA Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking
    Washington, DC: American Bankers Association.

    Acreage and Small Farm Insight
    Lincoln: University of Nebraska.

    ATTRA, National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
    Fayetteville, AR.

    Begin Farming Ohio
    Columbus, OH: Public-Private Collaborative

    Beginning Farmers
    East Lansing: Michigan State University.

    Center for Farm Financial Management
    St. Paul: University of Minnesota.

    Farm Credit System Foundation
    Washington, DC.

    Growing Small Farms
    Pittsboro: North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

    National Ag Risk Education Library
    St. Paul: University of Minnesota.

    National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
    Washington, DC.

    New England Small Farm Institute
    Belchertown, MA.

    Links for New Farmers
    Manoa: University of Hawaii.

    Oregon Small Farms
    Corvallis: Oregon State University Extension Service.

    Small Farm Center
    Davis: University of California

    Small Farm Connection
    Puyallup: Washington State University.

    Women's Agricultural Network
    Burlington: University of Vermont.

    USDA , Rural Information Center
    National Agricultural Library
    10301 Baltimore Ave., Room 132
    Beltsville, MD 20705-2351

  • The purpose of this publication is to provide accurate information on the subject matter. In providing this information, the author does not intend to offer legal or other professional services. The reader should seek the services of a competent attorney if legal advice is necessary.