Thinking of starting a farm or restructuring the one you already have? Want to make your farm more sustainable- ecologically, socially, and financially? Drawing on the sage advice of countless farmers and other business and agricultural experts, I wrote this book for you. Chapters include: For the Beginner, Identifying your Market Niche, Finding and Securing Land, Financing the Dream, Farm Planning for Success, and more. Each chapter also includes a case study of one or more farms that we visited or interviewed while traveling around the country. These farmers share their challenges, successes, and a generous dose of helpful tips. This is not a blueprint for success- every individual and farm will be different. But learning a bit of wisdom and creative ideas before you take the plunge may save you a few headaches and give you the inspiration to succeed on your own terms. I wrote this book because I felt like there was a gap in the farming literature about business topics- I hope this can fill an important space. Buy the book here! Or visit your local bookstore or library to see if they have it in stock.
Publishers Weekly had this to say about the book: “In this down-to-earth, business-oriented guide to running a farm, Thistlethwaite gives new and prospective farmers a hard-nosed taste of what it takes to run a sustainable farm and what steps are needed to succeed in this field, drawing on her six years of farming and a yearlong adventure visiting and interviewing small farmers across America. The book covers topics familiar to anyone starting a business—market niches, business plans, financing, accounting, human resources—in the context of farming, as well as farm-specific issues like finding land, choosing equipment, managing soil and water, harvesting, and processing. These sometimes dry subjects are leavened with instructive and inspiring stories about a wide variety of inventive, persistent farmers from Long Island and Vermont to Texas and Montana, ranging from novices to old-timers. Thistlethwaite’s experience teaching beginning farmers is evident in the logical, easy-to-follow, realistic but encouraging text, which will help separate the wheat from the chaff. “If you are not prepared for some serious hard work, inclement weather, dirt lodged in every crevice of your body, and being so dog-tired that you fall into your easy chair at night and don’t wake up until the next morning, then you might look into another vocation,” she says.“