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Hello [name]. The extra heat and moisture we’re experiencing this summer do what any good stressor to your system does—makes you ask “Is this the best way to do what I’m doing?”

Local farmer and former business systems consultant Andrew King works this update at helping you to answer that question. He knows from talking with farmers’ market members and from peers in his former profession that the first step is to honestly measure what’s going on. But it’s the next step that can be even harder—to drop the parts of your current operation that aren’t making you money, even if you like them. Without keeping records good enough to really track each enterprise, you never have to face that second question.

My short time as an organic market farmer in north-central Illinois in the mid-‘80s was marked by painful learning curves, some great insights, and the mercifully profitable resale of a walk-in cooler. I had no business management training and neither did my wife. She’s the accounting side of our partnership, however, and didn’t enjoy the agri-entepreneurial aspects of buying and selling as much as I did. That’s probably because she was looking at the cash flow and knew what it meant when purchased strawberries turned fuzzy overnight, or when I misjudged what to take to the farmers’ market in Peoria.

Take a few moments with this update to see what Jeff Moyer says about the human side of going organic, what a Kentucky farmer is finding about the potential of winemaking in a dry county, and what Steve Groff helped the world to learn at his 2006 field day.

It’s hot, so you can keep your messages short to us this month, but sweat enough to send responses and sun-induced inspirations our way.

Greg Bowman
Online Editor

     

Fresh today from The New Farm®
   
Central Kentucky farmer uses tobacco funds and ingenuity to begin winery with a local flavor
Despite challenging conditions in a “dry” county, vineyard enterprise holds promise for high-value profit.
 
   
Canadian farmer shares his two-prong attack on Canada thistle
Tools, technique, cropping sequence optimize “management” of weed that thrives on slicing and dicing of cultivation with sweeps.
   
   
Record keeping for successful decision making
Documenting experience to separate facts from dreams, feelings and intentions puts market farming on track for survival.
   
   
Cedar Meadows Farm Field Day
No-till farming—some organic, some not—a major focus of well-attended workshops.
 
   
Reader Mail
You ask, we answer. Questions from all of you answered by all our expert contacts; from Jeff Moyer (our farm manager) to worm gurus, to other farmers.
   
   

News & Views
Organic certifier license revoked...restaurant chain goes local...grass-based rule flusters graziers...direct-marketing tip sheets available...organic dairy u...instant N, P levels for manure...Martens asks for greater organic support.

ag policy perspectives
Agribusinesses, not farmers, benefit most from payments
Daryll Ray explains the real problem with direct payments and LDPs.

   
   

at the rodale institute®
   
   
one farm to another
Organic choice can impact relationships with family, friends, neighbors
Change that feels good to you may feel like rejection to others; to build bridges, stay in touch while you openly share the joys and struggles of your journey.
   
   

dr. paul's research perspectives
Unseen treasure Part 1: Giving due respect to the robust role of roots
A closer look shows synergies under the soil.

   
   
intern journal
Closing the gap between the "real world" and educational institutions
The Rodale Institute's online intern discovers the value of including sustainable agriculture in the curriculum from elementary school through college.
 
   
Longest-term organic trials link Swiss, Rodale institutes
Visit highlights soil benefits of long-term sustainable systems.
   
     
 
   
   
     
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