The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff-and Making a Profit
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 twenty-four different crops, and tax planners.
Incomplete, poorly organized, and occasionally just plain wrong
By Bart Hall - January 29, 2010
Wiswall's book makes a decent start, and the costing templates are pretty good. It's nicely illustrated. The writing is appropriately colloquial and flows reasonably well within chapters.
The chapter structure, however, is rather incoherent, interspersing chapters on assorted aspects of cost accounting and very simple cash flow management with others on marketing, time management, and employees. A chapter on office paper flow is followed by one that lumps together retirement planning and business spending. Then comes one on greenhouses and field production efficiencies. The next chapter discusses writing a business plan, and then a final (3-page) chapter on estate planning. Huh?
The sections on production management will be quite helpful to people who've not considered such things systematically, but they do contain some rather sloppy errors. For example, on p. 100 he talks about setting the wheel spacings on all tractors to 60 inches (which is the same as we use... read more
Organic Farming Handbook: It isn't Luck! Green Values and a Business Plan To Make A Buck
By T. Colman "Timothy Colman" - October 12, 2009
Author Richard Wiswall has been farming for over 25 years on a cool organic farm in Vermont.
He has done farmers everywhere a service with this new book on running a profitable organic farming business.
Fine writing, good examples of what he's writing about, and a workbook style approach made Wiswall's book come alive for me.
I'd say he's written the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Organic Farmers, but there are at least ten habits farmers can learn about by reading this book.
And as someone who runs a small business, I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to succeed at building a business, growing a rich life for themselves and their community.
[...] Loved the Tale of Two Brassicas where Wiswall tells how he learned the difference between growing kale and broccoli.
Great book, plus a response to the negative review
By Beth Spaugh Barber - October 16, 2010
First, the book is written for farmers (and other small business owners/wannabees) who have not felt comfortable with indepth business analysis. He keeps the business analysis at a simple, attainable level, with recommended resources for those who want to dig deeper or do more complex planning. It is written as a farmer for farmers, and as such, it is easy for us to understand, appreciate, and apply. I have been fortunate to participate in workshops led by Wiswall so much of the material is not new to me, and the need for this information is not new, but I still felt having it together in print is a worthwhile purchase. Having his notes from the management workshops, being aware of basic business management needs, and still struggling with equipment systems, the production chapter was actually my favorite.
In response to the negative review, the chapter structure read fine to me. It is a read through and then go back and do exercises book. Yes it is written from a... read more