September 7, 2010
Here’s a blog reader’s recommendation for a good read – especially if you’re starting up a farm.
This book made me excited about filing my tax return! ‘The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff-and Making a Profit’. I highly recommend this guide for beginning and experienced farmers alike. – Mary von Krusenstiern
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.
Read the original review here...
Faith and Family Reviews
Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook
Posted by Theresa, Owner on May 2, 2010 in Books, Business
I found that Mr. Wiswall provided some invaluable information that both beginning farmers and veteran farmers alike can glean from and use. He points out some important tax info and how to make a profit from an organic farm.
Our library ordered this book when I requested it and now owns it, so I have been able to get it out a couple of times this past year. However, I am hoping to add it to our home library at some point, especially once we start our commercial farm as I really liked it and think it should be on our shelf for quick reference.
P.S. I just borrowed it from the library for the third time! :-)
Read the whole article here.
Books on the Knob
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Green Books campaign: The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook
This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 100 bloggers are reviewing 100 great books printed in an environmentally friendly way. The goal is to encourage publishers to get greener and readers to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books. This campaign is organized by Eco-Libris, a green company working to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on the Eco-Libris website.
I learned of the campaign fairly late in the signup period, but managed to find a book that piqued my interest. The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff-and Making a Profit ($23.07 Paperback), by Richard Wiswall, was provided by Chelsea Green Publishing for this review. This is large format paperback, 184 pages, printed on chlorine-free, recycled paper and includes a companion CD-ROM with four spreadsheets and a doc file, all of which worked fine in the Open Office included on my netbook. A Kindle edition is available ($18.46), but I would not recommend it, even on the DX - the worksheets can be a bit of a strain to read even on paper and may be impossible as tables on the Kindle, plus you don't get the companion CD.
Most books on organic farming/gardening approach the subject from the gardening viewpoint. This book, however, introduces the organic farmer to several of the concepts needed to run a farm as a successful business, starting with the principle that profit is not evil (including a chapter on how to plan for a retirement where you don't have to keep working the farm until you die or sell off the farm to afford it). There are worksheets to help determine which crops are making money (after expenses which include more than just materials) as well as track payroll taxes (although I'd suggest considering a program like Quickbooks to handle that part of the business). The worksheets are pretty involved and some of the print is quite small on the page, but each one is included in one of the spreadsheets on the companion CD. The book may not make the actual gardening any easier (or find you reliable laborers), but it should assist in deciding which crops to grow and which markets to attend (if it costs you more to get ready for a market than you sell, you're better off not harvesting the crops at all). With a bit of hard work, good weather and proper planning, you might even get to the income level he discusses in the first chapter, bringing in after-expense profits in the six figures (at which point you might want an accountant rather than a do-it-yourself book for tax planning).
Read the whole article here.
The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook Reviewed
Richard Wiswall Writes a Complete Guide on Sustainable Farming
© Christine Eirschele
Nov 8, 2009
The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook: The Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops and Staff – and Making a Profit is by Vermont farmer Richard Wiswall. As Wiswall states, “The biggest fallacy in farming is that there is no money in it.” Throughout this book Wiswall breaks down that myth for organic farmers with common sense and practical tools.
Organic Agriculture Business
Wiswall begins by illustrating life in the organic agriculture business. He relates his version of a perfectly run dairy farm where true sustainability is using what is freely available in nature to generate one’s definition of wealth. Subsequent chapters discuss more traditional farm management topics; farm profit versus production, crop enterprise budgets, and marketing strategies.
It is the inclusion of information on community-supported agriculture programs and the difference in production efficiencies related to organic farming that should make this handbook a focus for organic farmers. Other discussions cover row spacing, precise tractor cultivation and weed control.
Wiswall’s business writing is not without a sense of humor. It is found throughout the handbook; at one point the reader finds a section subtitled, “Kill Your Rototiller.” Further on chiding himself for leaving the greenhouse door open, allowing the deer to walk in and eat off the benches at night, Wiswall advises his audience on how to train deer.
Vegetable Farm Crop Enterprise Budgets
Readers will find the Vegetable Farm Crop Enterprise Budgets in the appendix and on the computer disk. Also on the computer disk are business spreadsheets, comprehensive crop budgets and other office management tools geared towards the organic agriculture business.
Read the whole article here.