Empowering small farms to make big decisions: Examining profitability of local markets in West Virginia

2012 Annual Report for ONE12-168

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2012: $14,959.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Northeast
State: West Virginia
Project Leader:
Sigrid Teets
WesMonTy RC&D

Empowering small farms to make big decisions: Examining profitability of local markets in West Virginia

Summary

A partnership has been created between WesMonTy RC&D, WVU Davis College of Agriculture, and six small-scale specialty crop growers. This record keeping project is being implemented closely to proposed methods. Educators from WVU met with all participating growers during the first workshop and provided the training necessary for the participants to independently keep records of expenses related to growing specialty crops. Currently, as the first growing season is ending, growers are reporting the first year of data and discussing how to improve their record keeping methods in the coming season. For example, one grower found it overwhelming to keep records for all specialty crops and chose to focus on keeping good records for three crops. However, all growers have expressed a desire to continue participating. A second workshop is being planned. This business training will teach producers how to access markets, and the benefits and drawbacks of different marketing options available to them. We will use the information generated by farmers in their record-keeping efforts as a basis for cost-benefit analysis and decision-making. Growers plan to attend and share their experiences with other growers by participating in regional agricultural workshops and conferences during the second growing season of this project.

Objectives/Performance Targets

  • • Support to growers:
    A Encourage/remind growers to continue keeping good records of production expenses and labor
    B Provide individualized recordkeeping assistance to growers as needed
    • Workshop 2: Marketing Options
    • Disseminate project results:
    A Farmer Presentations during regional agricultural workshops
    B Posting results on communication network websites and newsletters
    C Posting spreadsheet/decision making template on communication network websites

Accomplishments/Milestones

  • •Organic Farmers Business Handbook by Richard Wiswall purchased for every grower

    •Workshop 1: Recordkeeping

    •Individual Farm Visits

    •Creation of a spreadsheet/decision making template

    •One year of grower collected labor and expense records

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Because growers have been given this record keeping training, they have increased awareness of which expenses and/or activities are cost beneficial or not. Growers are now able to make informed economic decisions regarding production and marketing based on their own recordkeeping. Decisions to continue marketing using current methods are being evaluated. Most profitable marketing channels are being considered. This will lead to increased profits while helping growers meet the growing demand for their products. Furthermore, these growers are developing strategies to increase the time-efficiency and usefulness of their record keeping that they will be able to share with other growers. This strategy-sharing among growers will increase the accessibility of these financial and decision-making practices to more WV growers, thereby increasing their ability to make important marketing decisions that will enhance the profitability and sustainability of their farms.

Collaborators:

Mark Hollen

[email protected]
Farmer Cooperator
Rt 2. Box 618
Philippi, WV 26416
Office Phone: 3044574663
Lisa Sickler

[email protected]
Farmer Cooperator
Rt. 1 Box 366
Moatsville, WV 26405
Office Phone: 3046779658
David Ahrend

[email protected]
Farmer Cooperator
102 Edgewood Dr.
Philippi, WV 26416
Office Phone: 3042880777
Nina Melvin

[email protected]
Farmer Cooperator
RR 4 Box 213A
Philippi, WV 26416
Office Phone: 3046140660
Gary Goetze

[email protected]
Farmer Cooperator
Rt. 1 Box 487
Mt. Clare, WV 26408
Office Phone: 3048427667
David Proudfoot

[email protected]
Farmer Cooperator
341 Perry Goode Rd.
Belington, WV 26250
Office Phone: 3048231460