Farming is a difficult business; and new farmers particularly struggle to get started. Many new farms need to make adjustments early in their development in order to stay in business. Through the collective wisdom of our Farmer-to-Farmer Network™ organization, we’ve come to understand what some of the key issues facing new farmers are, and how to avoid them. The place to start is the New Farm Reality Check.
New Farm Reality Check™ Curriculum:
This is NOT a new beginning-farmer education program. It is a curriculum to be used by current or future beginning farmer educational programs, and it is also a stand-alone half-day workshop that will present findings and suggest ways to avoid pitfalls/plan for success. We are available for customized trainings as well. If you are interested in a specific workshop for your group or your farm, contact us at: 844-9-CALL-SFA.
This Adjust 2015 Overview Presentation addresses several of the key issues uncovered in our work and gives specific benchmarks using key financial terms by which you can measure your farm progress as you launch. After you have finished reviewing the overview, you will benefit by working through the Benchmarking Worksheet alone or with a farming partner. This worksheet will help you develop a plan for addressing the key issues which cause most beginning farmers to struggle in the early years. Finally, you can create your own Farming Timeline, similar to the sample in the overview presentation. This tool will help you to prioritize your life goals, keeping all farming partners on the same page.
Farming in Community
Another key finding of our study was that the farms that had built a strong support network of experts, peers, and honest critics were the most successful at navigating the early years. Building that network is a critical component of the Deep Roots Farmer Development Program, SFAs award-winning training program which prepares individuals for success in farming. This program is a multi-session, hands on training program, designed to bring in depth skills training in sustainable agriculture in the context of community with others, and to build community along with building their farms.
Farm Employee Management
As farms grow in size and scale, labor scarcity often becomes an issue. Our surveys and interviews revealed that for many farmers getting started, the issues around adding labor often create obstacles to success. Many problems can be solved by good communications up front, and explaining expectations from the beginning. Adjust Employee Management Curriculum gives tools to farmers to help develop Employee Handbooks. Additionally, there are templates available to help with a variety of routine employee communications.
Considerations when Farming with Children
Consistent in our survey and interview results were considerations of current and future children when planning and implementing a farm business. The presentation below outlines some of the key concerns to be aware of when planning your farm operation. After reviewing the presentation, consider working through the Farming with Children Worksheet and the Family Roles on the Farm Worksheet as a family.
For questions about Adjust 2015, contact John Mesko at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763.260.0209.