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How can I start to put together estimates of potential costs and revenue?

Good question! It’s not easy, but you probably already know that. We’ve listed some of the best enterprise budgets we (or other people) have collected online, along with advice on estimating costs and revenue, within the Choosing an Enterprise tutorial. The final step of deciding what to grow is to ask the question, but Does … Read More

What recordkeeping options do I have?

Paper Records Small farms and many businesses just starting out find that paper notebooks and folders meet their needs. Keep all sales receipts in one folder, expense receipts in another, maintain a capital asset depreciation log, and keep notebooks for farm yield or other data important to the year. The advantage of this system is … Read More

How do I track all this information and still have time to farm?

The key is to set up systems that work for you. Some of the best record-keepers we know set up their systems–whether paper notebooks, excel spreadsheets, or fancy software–in the winter months and spend just 10 minutes a day during the insanity of the growing season to stay on top of recordkeeping. One thing is … Read More

What records should I be keeping?

There are many different types of records farmers keep. Records are critical for steering your business to success; otherwise you’re driving blindly and could be heading for a cliff. But you don’t need to go overboard with tracking. Here’s a sampling of items successful farmers record: Daily or Weekly: Weather (precipitation, max and min temps, … Read More

What can I do to achieve or improve profitability?

Visit the Improving Profitability Tutorial for exercises and information to help you work toward a level of profitability that is sustainable for you.

How profitable is farming?

Like most things in farming, you could ask this question of a dozen farmers and get 13 different answers. With the perfect storm of great farmland, high-end markets, solid crop mix, and advanced skills, it is possible to net $70,000/year on less than 2 acres, maybe even better than that. Most farmers make significantly less, … Read More

How long does it take to become profitable?

We typically hear from farmers that it takes 5-7 years to be profitable. There are certainly exceptions; farmers who start with minimal investments on leased land may be able to achieve profitability in the first or second year. This question is also dependent on your definition of profitability. If you expect to have off-farm income … Read More

What can I raise profitably?

This is an important and complex question that can be answered through good research and business planning. Identify what you want to raise, investigate the costs and potential returns, and then decide if it meets your goals on paper, before you invest real money. If you work through the tutorials on this site, you will … Read More