Small scale, organic farms are in need of ways to increase income while strengthening their whole farm system. Grains provide an excellent opportunity to do both. With the rising popularity of artisan and ‘ancient’ grains, organic farmers can capitalize on the emerging market. Integration of new crops into their production system has the potential to increase profitability. Adding grains to a vegetable growing rotation can also aid in decreasing pest and disease pressure while building soil health and biodiversity.
For these reasons, Earthkeeper Farm is determining the economic viability of adding organic grain production to our diversified vegetable farm. We will trial small plots of six annual grain crops on our farm, and create a financial viability assessment for each crop. The crops included are flax, dry black beans, oats, buckwheat, and two varieties of hard red spring wheat. The financial viability assessment will take into account three elements: crop growth, processing requirements, and marketability and price.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Complete Crop Growth Assessment on the six grain crops evaluating five key elements of crop
- Create Processing Requirements Assessment for each crop evaluating what needs to be done to make the crop market-ready.
- Process three to four most economically viability crops for market
- Create Market Assessment for the crops that includes pricing, markets sales, and exploration of marketing outlets.
- Trial selling three to four most economically viable crops at the farmers market
- Complete a Financial Viability Assessment of the six crops based on the Crop Growth, Processing Requirements, and Marketability.