Ask any farmer, the biggest hurdle is not growing the produce but earning a living from it. Growers have to focus on operations and other factors to make a living income. One way for farmers to evaluate their processes to meet their monetary goals better is to share knowledge through farmer groups, meetings, and shop talk. But farmers may feel hesitant to share their financial information.
Between 2002 and 2004, a grower-led plan was introduced that used ratios that focused on net income for each acre of growth. The findings of the plan were summarized in a report called ‘Grower to Grower: Creating a Livelihood on a Fresh Market Farm’. This was a case study for farmers creating a fresh market farm. The focus of the study was on the financial aspects of this type of farming. These are the areas of focus for this study.
The farmers and growers who were a part of this case study analyzed their sales, labor hours, and expenses over three years. This meant they had to have a sound financial plan and use accurate bookkeeping to gather the data for the study. These growers chose to associate the yearly net cash revenue they produced from their farms. They did not include factors, for instance, land costs, prescribed machinery usage, opportunity, and depreciation costs.
For a farmer, selling produce directly to the customers is the center of their marketing plan. This is accomplished through retail outlets, farmers’ markets, restaurants, etc. On-farm sales, while less common, are another way this is accomplished.
Farming equipment is essential and has to be the best quality. This is so that the equipment lasts for a long time to come. Those farmers who have vast acres of land need to put a lot of investment into their equipment to make sure they can have high production.
In the study, the organic farms had different crops, some more unique than others. Variation and diversification help prevent pest buildups. It also provides some protection against crop failures, if any. The challenge that the farmers faced was learning how to grow these different kinds of crops. To be successful, they had to adjust and learn everything they could about growing these lucrative crops.
The data contained in the study has helped growers as they set fiscal and life goals for their farms and shape their strategies to realize those goals. There is no ideal size for a fresh market vegetable farm; growers have to use their managing skills and financial assessment tools to figure out the scale and level of streamlining that makes the most sense for them. This study also worked to compile data regarding financial issues while understanding the farmer’s reluctance to share financial information.
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