ASK Jeff: The Rodale Institute’s farm manager, Jeff Moyer, answers your hardcore farming questions

Do you have any resources for figuring out my economics?

Posted May 12, 2006

What Jeff brings to the table

Jeff Moyer, who’s been the farm manager here at the 333-acre Rodale Institute research farm for more than a quarter of a century, receives lots of mail from farmers just like you asking for advice. Jeff’s hands-in-the-dirt experience over the past 26 years has run the gamut from refining the farm's cover cropping and crop rotation systems (including managing 270 acres in a rotation of corn, small grains, hay, and edible soy beans for a Japanese market) to overseeing The Rodale Institue Farming Systems Trial®, the world’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture. We thought it would be fun and informative to share some of these farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and Jeff’s practical wisdom, with our readers … and we’ll be doing it on a regular basis.

Got a question of your own? Click here to send it to Jeff.

Dear Jeff,

First, congratulations for joining the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The NOSB needs to set up to raise the standards of organic farming, not to lower them so that the “Agri-Corp” can slip in. Organic farming will become more essential in the future, not only because it is healthier, but because of its reduced impact on the environment and natural resources. I have been actively looking for a farm in Chester County. I would like to make sure that I purchase the land at a price point that can make the business profitable. I was wondering if you have any favorite resources for determining the economics (I am most interested in corn and other grains).

Carl Griffin

Dear Carl,

Thanks for the well wishes. I do plan to work toward the goal of sustaining the highest standards of organic. If large agribusiness wants to be organic, they'll need to play by the same rules as everyone else.

As far as economic data goes, I suggest you look at our FarmSelect Tool on the New Farm website and play with some numbers and economic forms. This will help you plan your planting scenario.

Chester County is a beautiful area of Southern Pennsylvania; good luck in your search.