Analyzing Crop Profitability And Financial Metrics On Flower Farms

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2022: $27,462.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2023
Host Institution Award ID: G380-22-W8613
Grant Recipient: B-Side Farm
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Helen Larkin
Lennie Larkin Consulting

Information Products


  • Additional Plants: ornamentals


  • Crop Production: cropping systems
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: business planning

    Proposal summary:

    The domestic cut flower industry is growing, yet we lack key financial and profitability metrics. With no references of profitability to aspire to, new flower farmers have no sense of potential yield for individual crops, or sales and net margin goals. Without this information, flower farmers are making business decisions based on trends and market pull, rather than knowledge of the profitability of their production and marketing systems. 

    This project will work with a cohort of 5 successful, established flower farms over one year to track cost of production, variable profit per crop, and key financial metrics, analyzing the profitability of their businesses, and developing benchmarks. These farmers will be able to assess how to make smart decisions for their businesses by identifying their profit centers, crops and processes where they are losing money, and specific parts of production that need improvement. 

    By starting to build a larger data set of these metrics, flower farmers will better be able to undertake sound production and financial planning, building businesses to be sustainable not only financially, but for the farmers' quality of life.. We will encourage cost of production studies on more farms by publishing our results widely. Flower farmers armed with the information of what crops have the potential to be profitable under what circumstances will be able to grow more quickly and sustainably, and to stay in business longer. This will allow the sustainable cut flower industry to grow, create more jobs, and take back market share from imported flowers.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Establish both the cost of production on 3 crops as well as key financial metrics for 5 flower farmers over the course of one year, using the Know Your Cost To Grow program (developed by Oregon State University’s Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems in partnership with Oregon Tilth) with Lennie Larkin as a hands-on facilitator. 


    1. Train the farms to analyze their data and chart pathways to financial sustainability based on refinement of studied production processes and crop choices. This helps farms to prioritize the goals of sound ecological stewardship, quality of life for both the farm owners and their employees, and positive contributions to their local agricultural communities.


    1. Begin the establishment of a larger benchmark database for cut flower farmers by publishing our findings, associated case studies, and fact sheets for each crop. 


    1. Upon completion of the program, establish best practices for tracking cost of production for flower farmers, to be shared through our educational component.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.