[Market-farming] Business - Gross profits

JOHN A HENDRICKSON jhendric at wisc.edu
Thu Feb 3 20:18:18 EST 2005

I wholeheartedly agree on the complexity of discussing financials!  It's
a messy topic to begin with and then you have to add that many people
feel (justifiably) uncomfortable sharing certain numbers.  As Adriana
pointed out, one big part of the complexity is the issue of definitions.

This is another reason I was trying to keep it simple by only asking
for gross income.  In fact, I was even keeping it simplier than that.  I
did not inquire about total gross farm income...only for people to share
what an average and peak daily take is at their farmers' market.  Such
information would be more useful if people included:

1. Acres in production (not including fallow land in cover crops)
2. Product mix (flowers, herbs, bedding plants, mixed vegetables,
berries, eggs, etc.)
3. The relative size of the farmers' market

Anyway, I disagree that the complexity and definitional issues render
the discussion meaningless.  None of us share the same frost free days,
average temperatures, rainfall, pest pressures, etc. but we share
production information and learn what we can from it.  The same can be
true for financial
information.  We glean what we can.

It may be very difficult to agree to a set of basic definitions but I,
for one, would be game to try if there was a subset of the list that
wanted to tackle this.  I am in the 3rd year of a financial study of 20
market farms (most in Wisconsin) and could share how we have decided to
define things and collect and share data.


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