by Geoff Seelen, CFSA Market Access Coordinator | Monday, Aug. 15, 2022 —
A farmers market stall featuring heirloom tomatoes, and a persons hands reaching in to pick up a container of them.

What is the guarantee that an idea for a business will work out in your favor? The answer is rarely straightforward, but there are steps you can take to mitigate the risks of entering a new market. For instance, conducting sales forecasting for each product you wish to sell is advisable. This isn’t as hard as it sounds; you could save yourself some severe financial losses by building your business around what the market demands.

Here’s what you need to know.

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by Geoff Seelen, CFSA Market Access Coordinator | Wednesday, Jul. 14, 2021 —
Local tomatoes for sale at Weaver Street Market in Hillsborough, NC

Starting a farm is one of the hardest things you will ever do. In addition to being responsible for producing many varieties of fruits and vegetables, you will need business acumen to market and sell your products successfully. Deciding where to sell is as important as deciding what to sell.

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by Gena Moore, CFSA Organic Research Coordinator | Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 —

Close-up of a poult

As we all know, starting, building, and managing a farm is no easy task. Developing or refining a business plan to effectively guide a growing farm enterprise, on top of regular farm work, can seem impossible. However, a business plan is an effective tool for farms. Not only can a business plan help guide the development of an enterprise (or multiple enterprises), it can also serve as a necessary tool when seeking business partners, employees, and even funding. Business planning does not need to be difficult. If you struggle to know where to start or want to improve your current plan, keep reading to learn about a free resource for farmers that we like: AgPlan.

You can also see our interview with Curtis Mahnken, Extension Economist with the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota.


 

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By Thomas Moore, NC Food Systems Coordinator

Savvy shopper at the Durham Coop

Ready to expand into grocery stores? Run it through the SMART test first.
Photo by Anna MacDonald Dobbs

I work with a lot of new farmers who sell their products at multiple farmers’ markets, and are eager to add restaurants, grocery stores, local distributors, and a CSA program to their marketing channels.  While I applaud them for wanting to diversify their customer base, I do caution them that sometimes utilizing different marketing channels requires adjustments to their business plan, or in some cases a different business plan altogether.

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by Eric Soderholm, Organic Transition Coordinator

In considering whether organic certification is right for your farm, the recordkeeping requirements are often one of the major turn-offs for farmers that are already strapped for time. However, many of those that actually seek certification can testify to the positive results of consistent documentation of farm inputs, field activities, pest problems, harvest yields, market sales and other pertinent information. Each growing season brings new challenges and is riddled with unpredictable factors. With an extensive history of past decisions and the results, a farmer is better equipped to avoid unnecessary risks and repeated failures in the field and marketplace. Your records are a tool to help you save time and understand what parts of your operation are most profitable.

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by Emily Lancaster, Animal Welfare Approved (more…)