Provides step-by-step instructions on how to make crop production more efficient and offers advice on farm operations, managing employees, and office procedures, along with a DVD featuring a workshop and an interview with the author.
Contrary to popular belief, a good living can be made on an organic farm. What’s required is farming smarter, not harder. In The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, Richard Wiswall shares advice on how to make your vegetable production more efficient, better manage your employees and finances, and turn a profit. From his twenty-seven years of experience at Cate Farm in Vermont, Wiswall knows firsthand the joys of starting and operating an organic farm—as well as the challenges of making a living from one. Farming offers fundamental satisfaction from producing food, working outdoors, being one’s own boss, and working intimately with nature. But, unfortunately, many farmers avoid learning about the business end of farming; because of this, they often work harder than they need to, or quit farming altogether because of frustrating—and often avoidable—losses. In this comprehensive business kit, Wiswall covers: Step-by-step procedures to make your crop production more efficient Advice on managing employees, farm operations, and office systems Novel marketing strategies What to do with your profits: business spending, investing, and planning for retirement A companion CD offers valuable business tools, including easy-to-use spreadsheets for projecting cash flow, a payroll calculator, comprehensive crop budgets for forty different crops, and tax planners.
Technology & Engineering by Rebecca Thistlethwaite
What makes a farm sustainable and successful? And what special qualities and skills are needed for someone to become a successful farmer? Rebecca Thistlethwaite addresses these and other crucial questions in this uniquely important book, which is a must-read for anyone who aspires to get into farming, or who wants to make their farm business more dynamic, profitable, and, above all, sustainable. Over an entire year, the author and her husband-experienced farmers themselves-took a sabbatical and traveled the length and breadth of the United States to live and work alongside some of the nation's most innovative farmers. Along the way they learned about best practices, and a whole lot about what doesn't work. Farms with a Future shares this collective wisdom in an inspirational yet practical manner; it will help beginners avoid many of the common mistakes that first-time farmers make. Just as importantly, it discusses positive ideas that can help make any farm enterprise vibrant and financially profitable. Profiles of more than a dozen representative farms help round out the invaluable information and encourage farmers to embrace their inner entrepreneur. Younger growers, in particular, will benefit by learning about "the right stuff" from both their peers and longtime experts.This book provides a useful reference for beginning and experienced farmers alike. While many other books address agricultural production, there are very few that talk about business management for long-term sustainability. Farms with a Future offers an approachable, colorful take on building a triple-bottom-line farming business.
Providing expert tips on tending the land, caring for animals, and necessary equipment, Ann Larkin Hansen also covers the intricate process of acquiring organic certification and other business considerations important to a profitable operation. Discover the rewarding satisfaction of running a successful and sustainable organic farm.
No-till — a method of growing crops and providing pasture without disturbing the soil — has become an important alternative to standard farming practices. In this comprehensive guide to successful no-till vegetable farming for aspiring and beginning farmers, author Daniel Mays, owner and manager of an organic no-till farm in Maine, outlines the environmental, social, and economic benefits of this system. The methods described are designed for implementation at the human scale, relying primarily on human power, with minimal use of machinery. The book presents streamlined planning and record-keeping tools as well as marketing strategies, and outlines community engagement programs like CSA, food justice initiatives, and on-farm education.
Organic agriculture has grown out of the conscious efforts by inspired people to create the best possible relationship between the earth and men. After almost a century of neglect, organic agriculture is now finding place in the mainstream of development and shows great promise commercially, socially and environmentally. Integrated organic farming is a commonly and broadly used word to explain a more integrated approach to farming as compared to existing monoculture approaches. It refers to agricultural systems that integrate livestock and crop production and may sometimes be known as Integrated Bio systems. It denotes a holistic system of farming which optimizes productivity in a sustainable manner through creation of interdependent agri-eco systems where annual crop plants (e.g. wheat), perennial trees (e.g. horticulture) and animals (including fishes where relevant) are integrated on a given field or property .This concept of organic farming is based on following principles: 1. Nature is the best role model for farming, since it does not use any inputs nor demand unreasonable quantities of water.2. The entire system is based on intimate understanding of nature's ways of replenishment. The system does not believe in mining of the soil of its nutrients and do not degrade it in any way. 3. The soil in this system is considered as a living entity 4. The soil's living population of microbes and other organisms are significant contributors to its fertility on a sustained basis and must be protected and nurtured, at all cost. 5. The total environment of the soil, from soil structure to soil cover is more important and must be preserved. Integrated Organic farming is a method of farming system, which primarily aims at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, so as to keep the soil alive and in good health. It is the use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials, mostly produced insitu- along with beneficial microbes (bio fertilizers) to release nutrients to crops, which connotes the ‘organic’ nature of organic farming. It is also termed as organic agriculture. In the Indian context it is also termed as ‘Javik Krishi’. We have compiled all the relevant information regarding integrated organic farming in this book. This is first book of its kind which contains reliable details related to organic farming, green manuring, biological nitrogen fixation, uses of vermiculture bio-tech, organic fertilizers for flooded rice ecosystem, biological pest management, press mud as plant growth promoters, bio fertilizer for multipurpose tree species, rice- fish integration, response of crops to organic fertilizer and many more. The book is very useful for farmers, agriculture, universities, consultants and research scholars.
A new approach to growing local medicine, including information on geo-authenticity, wildcrafting, and developing a good business plan Both a business guide and a farming manual, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer will teach readers how to successfully grow and market organic medicinal Western herbs. Whether you’re trying to farm medicinal plants, culinary herbs, or at-risk native herbs exclusively or simply add herbal crops to what you’re already growing, successful small-scale herb farmers Jeff and Melanie Carpenter will guide you through the entire process—from cultivation to creating value-added products. Using their Zack Woods Herb Farm in Vermont as a backdrop, the Carpenters cover all the basic practical information farmers need to know to get an organic herb farm up and running, including: • Size and scale considerations; • Layout and design of the farm and facilities; • Growing and cultivation information, including types of tools; • Field and bed prep; • Plant propagation; • Weed control, and pests and diseases; • Harvesting, as well as wild harvesting and the concept of geo-authentic botanicals; • Postharvest processing; and, • Value-added products and marketing. The authors also provide fifty detailed plant profiles, going deeper into the herbs every farmer should consider growing. In an easy-to-understand, practical, and comprehensive manner, readers will learn how to focus on quality over quantity, and keep costs down by innovating with existing equipment, rather than expensive technology.Market farmers who have never before considered growing medicinal herbs will learn why it’s more important to produce these herbs domestically. The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer makes a convincing case that producing organic medicinal herbs can be a viable, profitable, farming enterprise. The Carpenters also make the case for incorporating medicinal herbs into existing operations, as it can help increase revenue in the form of value-added products, not to mention improve the ecological health of farmland by encouraging biodiversity as a path toward greater soil health.
Small is beautiful, and these 15 real farm plans show that small-scale farmers can have big-time success. Compact Farms is an illustrated guide for anyone dreaming of starting, expanding, or perfecting a profitable farming enterprise on five acres or less. The farm plans explain how to harness an area’s water supply, orientation, and geography in order to maximize efficiency and productivity while minimizing effort. Profiles of well-known farmers such as Eliot Coleman and Jean-Martin Fortier show that farming on a small scale in any region, in both urban and rural settings, can provide enough income to turn the endeavor from hobby to career. These real-life plans and down-and-dirty advice will equip you with everything you need to actually realize your farm dreams.
Best practices for the eight most profitable crops Today only a few dozen large-scale producers dominate the greenhouse produce market. Why? Because they know and employ best practices for the most profitable crops: tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, leafy greens, lettuce, herbs, and microgreens. The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower's Handbook levels the playing field by revealing these practices so that all growers--large and small--can maximize the potential of their protected growing space. Whether growing in a heated greenhouse or unheated hoophouse, this book offers a decision-making framework for how to best manage crops that goes beyond a list of simple do's and don'ts. As senior trial technician for greenhouse crops at Johnny's Selected Seeds, author Andrew Mefferd spent seven years consulting for growers using protected agriculture in a wide variety of climates, soils, and conditions. The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower's Handbook brings his experience and expertise to bear in an in-depth guide that will help readers make their investment in greenhouse space worthwhile. Every year, more growers are turning to protected culture to deal with unpredictable weather and to meet out-of-season demand for local food, but many end up spinning their wheels, wasting time and money on unprofitable crops grown in ways that don't make the most of their precious greenhouse space. With comprehensive chapters on temperature control and crop steering, pruning and trellising, grafting, and more, Mefferd's book is full of techniques and strategies that can help farms stay profitable, satisfy customers, and become an integral part of re-localizing our food system. From seed to sale, The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower's Handbook is the indispensable resource for protected growing.
Market Farming Success is an indispensable guide to market gardening and farming for those in the business of growing and selling food, flowers, herbs, or plants. Condensing decades of growing experience from every part of the United States and Canada, Lynn Byczynski - editor and publisher of Growing for Market - identifies crucial areas that usually trip up beginners and shows growers how to avoid common obstacles. This book differentiates between market gardens, market farms, and vegetable farms, offering a concise and useful overview of how to find land, select and grow crops, acquire appropriate equipment, and market your produce, as well as tackle recordkeeping, insurance, and other fundamental business topics.--COVER.
A practical, how-to guide for farmers who want to achieve and maintain financial sustainability in their businesses You decided to become a farmer because you love being outside, working the land and making a difference in the way we eat and farm. And when you decided to become a farmer, you also became an entrepreneur and business person. In order to be ecologically and financially sustainable, you must understand the basics of accounting and bookkeeping, and learn how to manage a growing business. Author Julia Shanks distills years of teaching and business consulting with farmers into this comprehensive, accessible guide. She covers all aspects of launching, running and growing a successful farm business through effective bookkeeping and business management, providing tools to make managerial decisions, apply for a loan or other financing, and offering general business and strategy advice for growing a business. Whether you've been farming for many years or just getting started, The Farmer's Office gives you the tools needed to think like an entrepreneur and thoughtfully manage your business for success. Julia Shanks works with food and agricultural entrepreneurs to achieve financial and operational sustainability. She has worked with a range of beginning and established farmers, providing technical assistance and business coaching that has allowed them to launch, stabilize and grow their ventures. A frequent lecturer on sustainable food systems and accounting, she sits on the advisory board of Future Chefs and is the regional leader of Slow Money Boston. Together with Brett Grohsgal, she is also co-author of The Farmers Market Cookbook .
Keith Stewart covers everything you need to know to successfully grow and market your own organic vegetables and herbs. Offering expert tips on choosing a growing site, soil fertility, companion planting, irrigation, organic farming techniques, dealing with pests, and harvesting, Stewart also helps you design a business plan, manage employees, and find niche markets for your produce.
At Clay Bottom Farm, author Ben Hartman and staff practice kaizen, or continuous improvement, cutting out more waste--of time, labor, space, money, and more--every year and aligning their organic production more tightly with customer demand. Applied alongside other lean principles originally developed by the Japanese auto industry, the end result has been increased profits and less work. In this field-guide companion to his award-winning first book, The Lean Farm, Hartman shows market vegetable growers in even more detail how Clay Bottom Farm implements lean thinking in every area of their work, including using kanbans, or replacement signals, to maximize land use; germination chambers to reduce defect waste; and right-sized machinery to save money and labor and increase efficiency. From finding land and assessing infrastructure needs to selling perfect produce at the farmers market, The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables digs deeper into specific, tested methods for waste-free farming that not only help farmers become more successful but make the work more enjoyable. These methods include: Using Japanese paper pot transplanters Building your own germinating chambers Leaning up your greenhouse Making and applying simple composts Using lean techniques for pest and weed control Creating Heijunka, or load-leveling calendars for efficient planning Farming is not static, and improvement requires constant change. The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables offers strategies for farmers to stay flexible and profitable even in the face of changing weather and markets. Much more than a simple exercise in cost-cutting, lean farming is about growing better, not cheaper, food--the food your customers want.
A practical, systems-based approach for a more sustainable farming operation To many people today, using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence is nothing short of sacrilege. In many cases, though, the same sound business practices apply whether you are producing cars or carrots. Author Ben Hartman and other young farmers are increasingly finding that incorporating the best new ideas from business into their farming can drastically cut their wastes and increase their profits, making their farms more environmentally and economically sustainable. By explaining the lean system for identifying and eliminating waste and introducing efficiency in every aspect of the farm operation, The Lean Farm makes the case that small-scale farming can be an attractive career option for young people who are interested in growing food for their community. Working smarter, not harder, also prevents the kind of burnout that start-up farmers often encounter in the face of long, hard, backbreaking labor. Lean principles grew out of the Japanese automotive industry, but they are now being followed on progressive farms around the world. Using examples from his own family’s one-acre community-supported farm in Indiana, Hartman clearly instructs other small farmers in how to incorporate lean practices in each step of their production chain, from starting a farm and harvesting crops to training employees and selling goods. While the intended audience for this book is small-scale farmers who are part of the growing local food movement, Hartman’s prescriptions for high-value, low-cost production apply to farms and businesses of almost any size or scale that hope to harness the power of lean in their production processes.
The Organic Seed Grower is a comprehensive manual for the serious vegetable grower who is interested in growing high-quality seeds using organic farming practices. It is written for both serious home seed savers and diversified small-scale farmers who want to learn the necessary steps involved in successfully producing a commercial seed crop organically. Detailed profiles for each of the major vegetables provide users with practical, in-depth knowledge about growing, harvesting, and processing seed for a wide range of common and specialty vegetable crops, from Asian greens to zucchini. In addition, readers will find extensive and critical information on topics including: The reproductive biology of crop plants Annual vs. biennial seed crops Isolation distances needed to ensure varietal purity Maintaining adequate population size for genetic integrity Seed crop climates Seed-borne diseases Seed-cleaning basics Seed storage for farmers and more . . . This book can serve as a bridge to lead skilled gardeners, who are already saving their own seed, into the idea of growing seed commercially. And for diversified vegetable farmers who are growing a seed crop for sale for the first time, it will provide details on many of the tricks of the trade that are used by professional seed growers. This manual will help the budding seed farmer to become more knowledgeable, efficient, and effective in producing a commercially viable seed crop. With the strong demand for certified organic produce, many regional seed companies are increasingly seeking out dedicated seed growers to ensure a reliable source of organically grown seeds for their farmer and gardener customers. This trend represents a great business opportunity for small-scale commercial growers who wish to raise and sell vegetable seeds as a profitable part of their diversified small-farm operation. Written by well-known plant breeder and organic seed expert John Navazio, The Organic Seed Grower is the most up-to-date and useful guide to best practices in this exciting and important field.
In Farm to Table, Darryl Benjamin and Chef Lyndon Virkler explore both the roots of our current, corporate food system malaise, and the response by small farmers, food co-ops, chefs and restaurateurs, institutions, and many more, to replace the status quo with something more healthy, fair, just, and delicious. Today's consumers are demanding increase accountability from food growers and purveyors. Farm to Table illuminates the best practices and strategies for schools, restaurants, healthcare facilities, and other businesses and institutions, to partner with local farmers and food producers, from purchasing to marketing. Readers will also learn about the various alternative techniques that farms are employing - from permaculture to rotation-intensive grazing - to produce better tasting and more nutritious food, restore environmental health, and meet consumer demand. A one-of-a-kind resource, Farm to Table shows how to integrate truly sustainable principles into every juncture of our evolving food system.--COVER.
You won’t believe your eyes when you see the size of your harvest! In High-Yield Vegetable Gardening, authors Colin McCrate and Brad Halm show how you can make your food garden much more productive, no matter how big or small it is. You’ll learn their secrets for preparing the soil, selecting and rotating your crops, and mapping out a specific customized plan to make the most of your space and your growing season. Packed with the charts, tables, schedules, and worksheets you need — as well as record-keeping pages so you can repeat your successes next year — this book is an essential tool for the serious gardener.