Running a farm goes beyond planting and harvesting. It also takes a tremendous amount of business knowledge. Crafting and sticking to a budget, planning what and when to plant, and strengthening a year-long business plan are essential to having a successful farm.
Paige Witherington of Pine Pitch Organic Farm in Penrose, North Carolina turns her attention to business each winter. This month she is assessing her finances, cleaning up spreadsheets, working on record keeping, and preparing documents for organic certification. Marketing is one of her major winter goals, especially subscribing new members to the CSA and developing the farm’s website. She’s also thinking big picture by working on a 5-year plan for the farm.
There are several business resources available to farmers, including ASAP’s Business of Farming conference this Saturday. Farmers from across the region will come together for a day-long series of workshops and networking. They’ll learn how to tell their farm’s story, gain direct marketing strategies, discover legal tools, find out if crop insurance is right for their farm, and look into the pros and cons of selling their products wholesale.
Grower-Buyer meetings at the conference encourage farmers and food buyers—like chefs, grocers, and distributors—to get to know each other in a casual setting and find out if they might be a good match this growing season. Making connections with buyers is one of the many components to running a thriving farm business.
Find resources for farmers and learn more about the conference at www.asapconnections.org