- Education and Training: farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, workshop, technical assistance
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, feasibility study, risk management
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, social capital, sustainability measures
The Sustainable Farming Association, founded in 1990, is a Farmer to Farmer Network, dedicated to tapping into the wisdom of the community to enhance farming systems, and maintain a vibrant diverse farming community in the US and around the world. Farming is a difficult business, and like all small businesses, start up farms are challenging. Adjust 2015 gleaned from the collective experience of over 200 start up farms and identified the most common hurdles to farm success. The New Farm Reality Check Curriculum is designed to help beginning farmers identify these potential hurdles in their business plans, and to prepare to navigate around them for future success.
As the materials developed in Adjust 2015 are incorporated into beginning farmer training programs throughout the North Central Region, new farmers will develop business plans that are more realistic and flexible and easily adapted to account for the potential pitfalls that are facing today’s beginning farmers. In the long run, as beginning farmers take into account the lessons learned from farms that have failed or made significant adjustments in order to survive, we will see more new farms succeeding past the critical 3-5 year window. As more farms succeed, we will see the profitability of farmers and associated ag businesses improve; and we will see enhanced quality of life for farmers, rural and urban communities and society as a whole.