I’m a Farmer, Not an Entrepreneur: Getting real about the business of farming

Last weekend one of my dreams was fulfilled- I finally was able to attend the Common Ground Country Fair in Albion, Maine. This 33 (?) year old event organized by the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (MOFGA) draws over 60,000 people from the Northeast to learn homesteading skills, community organizing, alternative energy, arts & crafts, and barter/trade with farmers and craftspeople from around the region. This fair is a legend in the sustainable agriculture community and MOFGA is probably the most effective statewide organization in that arena. They have lead the fight in GMO labeling and GMO trespass litigation, helped incubate hundreds of new farmers, and greatly increased consumer awareness and demand for organic, local food in Maine. They are building a new economy in Maine, one that values quality over quantity, soil over shareholders, and supporting creative food chain businesses that keep dollars recirculating within Maine. I was invited to speak on three subjects- beginning farmer issues, business skills for existing operations, and meat marketing considerations. I was asked by many to provide the presentation I put together on business skills, which is essentially a very distilled version of my book Farms With A Future: Creating & Growing a Sustainable Farm Business. The title of this talk was “I’m a Farmer, Not an Entrepreneur: Getting real about the business of farming“, my basic premise being that many farmers don’t think of themselves as businesspeople, but in order to stay viable for the long haul and reach a level of profitability that meets their needs, they need to wear their entrepreneur hats more often! Here is the presentation below if you would like to take a look at the slides. Enjoy!



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