135 Cate Farm Road  |  Plainfield, Vermont 05667  |  catefarm@gmail.com  |  802. 454. 7157  |  To learn more about Cate Farm, visit www.catefarm.com

Farming Smarter, Not Harder : Planning for Profit

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. This workshop will focus on the planning and analysis tools needed to run a profitable farm, in an easy, step-by-step format. Tips for beginner farmers will finish the session.

NEW: Farm Mechanization Efficiencies

Learn the tools of the trade for greater farming efficiency. Cultivation tools to maximize weed control, harvest tools to speed the harvest, and packhouse tools for quicker and easier processing will all be covered. Cost/benefit analysis will show how long it will take for a new tool to pay for itself.  Greenhouse innovations are highlighted as well. 

Determine Your Costs of Production: Farm Budgets Made Simple

Ever wonder how much it costs to produce a dozen eggs? A feeder pig? Hoophouse greens? Are you making a profit with them given your current sales prices? Longtime organic farmer Richard Wiswall will demystify production costs for various farm ventures and show which ones are making money or not.  This group working session will simplify and enlighten the process of determining profitability for any of your farm endeavors. Beginning and seasoned farmers alike will benefit, and share in some eye opening results. 

NEW: MIND YOUR BUSINESS! Financial Literacy & Effective Business Management for Farmers

What does it mean to be "In Business"? Why should you keep records? Because Richard said so? No! To better manage your farm business so you can work less and make more money? Yes! Now that you are in the farming business, learn the language of business. Be a highly effective manager, learn the macro and micro tools of financials, and benefit from some quick tips for success.

Effective Employee Management for Farmers

The purpose of hiring employees is to help the farmer tackle the farm workload. Quite often, farmers think that each added employee-hour should decrease the farmer’s workload by equal amounts. Not so. Being an effective and efficient manager of farm employees take time, effort and some skill.

 

Richard Wiswall will share his insights on effective employee management, including practical tips, a brief overview of the legal requirements, important filing deadlines, SEP IRAs and spousal social security options.

NEW: STARTING YOUR OWN FARM BUSINESS FROM SCRATCH

What are the very first steps needed to begin farming? A systematic look at all the issues a new farmer faces will drastically shorten the often steep learning curve. From surveying the available market channels to putting smart money into the bank, attendees will see the whole picture of what it takes to operate a successful farm. Designed for those with some experience (apprentices, farm workers), or people just starting out.

NEW: Packhouse Design, Farm Layout Strategies, and Grading & Pack Standards

Be as efficient as possible with a well designed farm and packhouse. Farmers are in the business of material handling, and a few steps saved here or there add up over time.  Learn the standard packout for different types of vegetables to put in the box or bag, and how to build pallets for bagged or boxed crops.  Time saving tools and tips are highlighted. 

The Efficient Farm Office

The Efficient Farm Office emphasizes procedures to eliminate otherwise undetected lost profits. The two paper trails- Purchases and Sales- are examined to guarantee no lost sales revenue and achieve maximum tax benefits. Purchases and subsequent bill paying systems are set up for maximum efficiency. The Sales paper trail seems straight forward but pitfalls abound, including leaks from a CSA, Farmers’ Market, and even invoiced sales. Richard performs a humorous office skit to emphasize key points.

“It was good to see him go through his office routine – it really drives home the efficiency and importance of proper office flow/paper flow.”  CSA farmer, WI.

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Richard's experience from farming full time for over 36 years, coupled with his thirst for appropriate farm business strategies, gives a hard-to-find authenticity to his workshops. Farmers often learn best from other farmers, and Richard's easy going style helps this information sharing. Richard offers workshops on numerous farm topics, from making a profit to employee management to farm Mechanization. Custom tailored workshops to suit your group's needs, as well as webinars, are also an option. Workshop modules usually run 1.25 to 1.5 hours.

 

Full day workshops can be put together from any of the listed workshops below, or custom designed. A popular full day workshop is: Farming Smarter, Not Harder/ Determing Your Costs of Production/ lunch break/ Mind Your Business: Financial Literacy & Effective Business Management for Farmers/ Farm Mechanization and Efficiencies and/or Employee Management. Two day workshops are also available.  All workshops work fine as stand alone presentations as well. Contact Richard for rates.

workshops

Richard Wiswall has presented for the following organizations: ACORN, New Brunswick, Canada,  Bioneers MA, Brooklyn Grange, NY, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association NC, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture MA, UCONN, CT, Cornell Cooperative Association NY, Ecofarm CA, Ecological Farmers of Ontario, Canada, Farmstart, Canada, Florida Extension, Goddard College VT, Granite State Graziers, NH, Kansas Farmers Union, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute WI, Maine Organic and Farming and Gardening Association, Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) MA, NOFA NH, NOFA NJ, NOFA VT, Ontario Cooperative Association Canada, Oregon State University, OSHER VT, Partners of America Honduras, PASA, PA, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Regional Farm and Food NY, Small and Beginner Farmers of NH, Southern Sustainable Ag Working Group, AR, Sterling College VT, Stone Barns Center, NY, University of Vermont, Vermont Technical College, Young Farmers Network, RI, and others.

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association was thrilled to host Richard in 2011 and bring his important information to our members.  Both his sessions were standing-room only in the largest room we had.  I heard lots of great feedback about the workshops.

— Conference Program Manager

He pressed home the point of knowing where the money is coming from and where it’s going to. Real numbers, relevant budget examples, being detail oriented, the concrete nature of all the information – it has never been as clear to me as Richard has made it. He took the fear out of crunching numbers!

— CSA Farmer  |  Wisconsin

"Richard was very easy to work with. He was willing to tailor his talk to our audience and was flexible and professional. I would work with him again in a heartbeat!"

— Workshop Coordinator  |  Wisconsin