Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Richard Wiswall: Making Money as an Organic Farmer

A few years ago at a New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference, Richard Wiswall (The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff—and Making a Profit) presented a talk on farm profitability with a fellow farmer, who opened the talk by saying, “Sometimes I think I should have listened to my parents and become a doctor or a lawyer—but you know, I don’t think I could take the pay cut.”

Some people are very resistant to the idea that one can go into farming with the idea that it is a business from which they can make money. But farmers provide a valuable service and product—the most valuable product there is, if you think about it. And they deserve to be fairly compensated, just like doctors deserve to be compensated.

No, people who go into farming don’t usually say, “I’m doing it because I want to make a lot of money.” But there’s nothing immoral or cynical about it. And you don’t necessarily have to break your back toiling from dusk till dawn to do it. Not if you farm smarter, not harder, as Richard Wiswall says.

In this interview on VPR’s Vermont Edition, Wiswall discusses the nuts and bolts of the business of organic farming.

Most people who go into organic farming do so because they love to get their hands in the dirt, or they want to play an active role in producing food. Making a lot of money or managing a budget doesn’t usually top the list.

Richard Wiswall is a longtime organic farmer and East Montpelier resident who says the business side of organic farming can’t be ignored.

Listen Now

Read the whole article here.

Photo: VPR/Jane Lindholm

 

Related Articles:


Ask the Expert: Andrew Mefferd

Before writing The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook: Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture, Andrew Mefferd spent seven years in the research department at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, traveling around the world to consult with researchers and farmers on the best practices in greenhouse growing. Andrew has graciously agreed to offer up his expertise to our […] Read More

Top 10 favorite goat facts (with gifs)

New this month from author Gianaclis Caldwell, Holistic Goat Care is the essential resource on caring for your herd. Goats have provided humankind with essential products for centuries; indeed, they bear the noble distinction of being the first domesticated farm animal. From providing milk and meat for sustenance and fiber and hides for clothing and shelter […] Read More

New French edition of The Resilient Farm and Homestead available

Great news for French-speaking fans of Ben Falk’s The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. The French language translation is now available from Imagine Un Colibri, from French booksellers, and on Amazon.fr. Falk’s book is a technical manual that details the strategies he and his team have developed for […] Read More

How to Make Biochar

Doing some spring cleaning around your property? By making biochar from brush and other hard-to-compost organic material, you can improve soil—it enhances nutrient availability and also enables soil to retain nutrients longer. This excerpt from The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3, explains how to get started. To make biochar right in your garden, start by […] Read More

Generosity as Activism, and Other Homesteading Principles to Live By

“Like everyone I know, we occasionally find ourselves faced with a decision to which there is no obvious answer,” says Ben Hewitt, coauthor of The Nourishing Homestead. “Do we borrow money to build a bigger barn, or do we keep getting by with what we have? Do we spend our meager savings on trees and […] Read More
+1
Tweet
Share
Share
Pin