[Market-farming] Richard Wiswall's book
Firefly Mountain Produce
FireflyMtn at msn.com
Tue Dec 15 13:49:26 EST 2009
I have a copy of Richard Wiswall's "The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook."
I preordered it through Amazon and got it in October. I read it through in
about 2 days, and now that things have slowed down outside, I am going back
through the book and completing the exercises, taking more extensive notes,
and taking bits and pieces of the business system he sets up and
incorporating it into my own system in preparation for next season.
I was unable to view the videos of the author speaking about his book that
someone posted earlier, so I apologize if this post repeats any of that
information. You can also go to this link to see some other info on book and
Overall, I have found the book useful. It is clearly written in a friendly
manner, and he gives an introduction and a useful summary for each chapter.
In the book, the author shows you how to set up an efficient and simple
system for the business side of farming, from discovering profit centers to
managing paperwork, to balancing the farm checkbook, to marketing, to
preparing for retirement. I particularly like the instructions he gives on
creating crop budgets and planning for future income growth (but admittedly,
I am not very "business-minded," so this simple system may be already
well-known to those who like spreadsheets and math calculations). As someone
else mentioned earlier, there is no real "how-to" on how to grow vegetables
and raise animals, of course, but there is one whole chapter called
"Production Efficiencies" that is mainly about how to use a tractor to farm.
The information is a bit topical, as it must be in a book that covers many
areas, but is specific enough to head you down the right path if you want to
do further research yourself on any one aspect.
I particularly liked the fact that the author mentions in the first chapter
how we can shift our paradigms about farming; in this day and age, a farmer,
a smart and hardworking person, can earn a decent and even a decadent
living, helping the community and the earth along the way. I like that he
mentions Holistic Management, but I was hoping he'd incorporate more info on
how to plan for Holistic Management (because I admit that the "Holistic
Management" handbook is long and seemingly complicated and I was wishing for
someone to go through it and summarize and capsulize the info for me!
Here is a list of chapters:
1. True Sustainability
2. Farm for Profit, Not for Production
3. Discovering Profit Centers
4. Profit Time: Crop Enterprise Budgets
5. Marketing Strategies
6. Effective Management
7. Office Paper Flows and Leaky Finances
8. How to Retire on Your Farm
9. Production Efficiencies
10. Write Your Own Business Plan
11. Planning for the Inevitable: The Ultimate Conclusion
Appendix: Vegetable Farm Crop Enterprise Budgets
The CD-ROM has downloadable spreadsheets; I've yet to explore them much
because I've been working the numbers on paper first.
Hope this helps!
Firefly Mountain Produce
Steamboat Springs, CO
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