Planning Your Small Farm for Pleasure and Profit

2005 Annual Report for LNC02-218

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2002: $98,480.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $34,010.00
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Ronald Macher
Sustainable Alternative Farming Institute (SAFI)

Planning Your Small Farm for Pleasure and Profit

Summary

The project allowed the development of the Small Farm Planning Program online at www.esafi.com. This program provides budgets, ideas, and resources for a variety of crops and livestock, plus provides the starting basics to work out a farm plan to start a new farm or replan an existing farm.

The program looks at soil types, experience, labor, and capital available to provide suitable crops and livestock for a sustainable farm.
A fee to pay for future developments and updates provides six months of access to the program. Plans are to continue adding new crops and livestock and to continually update current budgets.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Lack of planning is the biggest reason for failure for beginning farmers. The objective of this project was to provide a way for beginning farmers to make a farm plan by developing a computer program for them to work through. This objective was achieved after switching to an online program for easy access and updates.
The program looks at soil types, experience, labor, land, and capital available. These areas are site-specific to each individual farm and its particular resources.

Accomplishments/Milestones

The Small Farm Plan Program is now online at www.esafi.com. $49.95 allows six months access to develop a farm plan.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Although we feel that this program will eventually be useful to beginning farmers, we have had problems convincing farmers to use the program. Out of our initial 60, we received feedback from only eight people. We have received good feedback from these and several other farmers/educators who have looked at the program and feel it is useful and helpful. SAFI (Sustainable Alternative Farming Institute) plans to make some changes for improvement based on their suggestions.

We feel the slow start of the program is similar to the reception of Ron Macher’s book, “Making Your Small Farm Profitable,” which is a written (early) version of the program. The book has now sold 40,000 copies and continues to sell well. The program should develop similarly.