Make decisions regarding labor management and new equipment investment is something that most farmers face during normal business operations. Chris Blanchard of Purple Pitchfork shared his experience gathering accurate farm costs and production data for investment decisions at the 2014 Beginning Farmer Learning Network Conference recently. The lecture covered ways farmers can track, extrapolate and weigh labor costs and capacity against hiring staff or investing in tractors or other equipment; Using accurate data and careful budget analysis, farmers can maximize profits and make fewer poor decisions. [Read more…]
WASHINGTON — The American Bankers Association is celebrating National Ag Day on March 18 by providing financial tips to the next generation of America’s farmers and ranchers. Unlike established farmers, young and beginning farmers may need to learn the basics of creating business relationships and what goes into making financial decisions.
“Farming is a tough business, and as with any other business, bankers are eager to lend a helping hand,” said Frank Keating, ABA president and CEO. “If you’re launching a new ag business or taking over an existing operation, be sure to talk to your local banker. Let the financial experts guide you while you focus on the farm.”
Agricultural training programs designed for veterans should include plenty of hands-on experiences for this high-energy group. Norm Conrad, Northeast Director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) strongly suggests having extra materials on-hand as well as an extra group exercise or activity in the curriculum. Veterans are often more focused, productive and efficient than other workshop attendees. [Read more…]
by Katie Navarra
A lot of people are talking about permaculture, a system that relies on designing planting configurations to work more like an ecosystem. Until recently, the practice has largely been associated with the landscape industry. However, farms nationwide ranging from less than five acres in production to more than 100 acres in production are beginning to incorporate the principles of permaculture on their farms.
During the e-Organic webinar, Permaculture on Organic Farms, Rafter Ferguson along with Ron Revord and Kevin Wolz, all graduate students at the University of Illinois, Urban-Champaign campus, explained the basics of permaculture, offered information on how to incorporate the concept on farms and discussed opportunities and challenges associated with a permaculture design system. [Read more…]
PHENIX, VA — Extension recently hosted a series of tobacco production and GAP certification meetings across Southside Virginia. The three meetings, held in Blackstone (at the Southern Piedmont AREC), South Hill and Scottsburg, focused on flue-cured tobacco. Roughly 100 people were in attendance. A fourth meeting, held at the Midway Baptist Church outside Phenix, addressed dark fire-cured tobacco and burley production and drew over 60 people. The meetings were also opportunities to get pesticide recertification and thus attracted some non-tobacco producers. [Read more…]