Planning for a new farm shop

The farm shop is a vital hub of the operation, and having an efficient building requires the right planning and design. Dan Nyberg, training manager for Morton Buildings, notes that a well-planned and well-constructed shop can be a valuable asset for decades to come.

Here are his recommendations for planning a new farm shop:


The location of a new shop in relation to the rest of the farm operation is key. “Select a central location so the building gets used consistently. Otherwise, tools tend to be left at other locations,” Nyberg says.

• Choose a site that will also allow you to keep an eye on other major functions, such as being able to see the grain leg and trucks arriving and leaving.

• Be sure the site is accessible for the equipment size in use currently and for the foreseeable future.

• Some minor repairs can easily be done outside, if there is planned space for that.

• Orientation can work to your benefit. Position today’s larger doors on the south or the east side to avoid the sometimes blustery cold winds from the north and west.


Determining the right size for a new shop is another critical decision for present as well as future use.

“Get out and measure all of your equipment so you can plan based on reality, not memory,” Nyberg recommends. “Think about any trades you are considering, recognizing that new equipment will likely be larger.”

• Keep in mind you can add length to a building quite easily, but adding width or height can become expensive.

• Make a list and plan for specific work stations, including the work bench, welding and grinding area, wash bay and perhaps a vehicle lift or service pit. Also factor in storage for tools, parts and consumables, like oil and filters.

• Consider if you will need space for other features, such as an office or conference room, restroom or shower, kitchen, and washer and dryer area.


Nyberg notes that today’s shops often include amenities such as an entertainment center, family event space and even living quarters for guests.

“Many shops also include recreational activities, such as a pool table, foosball and ping-pong table, plus exercise equipment,” he says.

He further recommends thinking about possible interests the next generation may have, and how space can be allocated for those activities.

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The first step in determining the project cost, Nyberg says, is to develop your list of what you need to have in terms of the overall length, width, height and doors. Then develop your budget and be realistic.

If necessary, consider building the shop in phases so that you have a facility that works in five to 10 years. It may be best to build the larger shell only this year. Then, plan to do insulation and electric and finishing touches, like the office interior, as later stages.

“You will be so much further ahead in the long run to phase construction rather than building the smaller complete shop which fits this year’s budget, but really doesn’t meet future needs,” Nyberg explains.

For additional farm shop planning and design ideas, visit