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Old April 7, 2016   #1
KLorentz
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Default Urban Farming

After much deliberating I have decided to try my hand at urban farming.I have not seen much heirloom veggies here so I am assuming the market here is wide open. May have my foot in the door with a local coffee house coming to that will be selling sandwiches and salads. I do have lettuce for cut and come again lettuce and then there is also my tomatoes and peppers.just testing the waters right now but we shall see how it goes. Any suggestions?
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Old April 8, 2016   #2
RJGlew
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http://caseysurbanfarm.ca/
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Old April 9, 2016   #3
PureHarvest
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Define a goal for yourself.
Is it extra income or are you going for a full time venture?
Create a crop budget if it's more than just for some spending money.
When u say urban farmer, I assume it's more than hobby?
If so, you want to nail down all your costs and what your expected yield times expected selling price.
Then you will be able to see just how many plants you will need, how much space, how much fertilizer etc.
You can then look at it all and say: wow, I'd need to grow X amount of plants to make X dollars at this.
I think we all get into it for the love of the growing, but gloss over the numbers along the way. I used to.
Basically you should be able to tell yourself: if I want to NET $10,000, I would need to grow X number of plants to yield X amount of pounds. And I know it costs me X amount of dollars per lb or box produced from seed to harvest.
Then you can realistically see what it will take to reach your goals and adjust up or down, as well as find ways to reduce costs/become more efficient with labor. In year 1 you will make assumptions on the labor costs (you should assign a price to your labor per hour). Your material costs should be easy to list out.
Keep track of everything and then when you make year 2's budget, you will have more realistic scenarios and be able to identify where you need to improve or adjust your level of volume/production.
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Old April 9, 2016   #4
reddeheddefarm
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On Facebook look for "market gardening success group""gardening for market" "four seasons farming" and regenerative agriculture. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge you can find there. And definitely don't dismiss tville.
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Old April 9, 2016   #5
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Herbs are easy and sell for lots of money.
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Old April 18, 2016   #6
KLorentz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reddeheddefarm View Post
On Facebook look for "market gardening success group""gardening for market" "four seasons farming" and regenerative agriculture. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge you can find there. And definitely don't dismiss tville.

I wouldn't dream of dismissing .I like to ask my fellow gardeners their opinion on things very new to me . But one thing helps me some and that is my family is made up of skilled gardeners and some farmers I have learned from in my youth. Sadly many of them have left this world but what I learned from them and fellow gardeners. And there is always something new to learn . That is why I like the idea of going back to my roots on a small scale and making folks happy with what I grow. Been really looking long and hard at what to grow. Found some really great stuff looking through sites from November to present. I promise pics of the progress too. I think you all will love it.
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Old April 18, 2016   #7
KLorentz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracydr View Post
Herbs are easy and sell for lots of money.

Got Thyme,Oregano , Basil , and Lemon Grass seeded should be up soon. Gonna get Rosemary plants next month . Once they get big enough I will take cuttings off them. Forgot to order sage though. Will change that next week.
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Old April 19, 2016   #8
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Where you live seems to be quite small, do you have a good market there or near by? Is there a Farmer's market near you?
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Old April 19, 2016   #9
KLorentz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imp View Post
Where you live seems to be quite small, do you have a good market there or near by? Is there a Farmer's market near you?
Well There is Bryan and then there is Archbold which is home to the massive Sauders factory . Between the two ( Bryan has a farmers market) should be able to do decent.
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Old April 19, 2016   #10
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Best of luck and many happy sales.
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Old April 19, 2016   #11
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KLorentz, the agronomy side of the equation is the fun stuff about growing that we all love.

But please make sure you have a business plan to go along with your crop plans.

At the very least you should make a crop enterprise budget for each crop you are gonna grow.

I can send you a really easy to use template for crop budgeting that could be a really big eye opener for you to know what it will cost for you to go from seed to harvest. Here is a copy and paste example of a greenhouse tomato operation:

Prepare Soil: NOTES: Labor at 12.55/hr.
On each line: 1st number is Labor, second is Machine cost, 3rd is Product Cost
Spread ferts/compost 25.10 0 120.00
(4 yards compost, 50 lbs fertilizer)

Rototill (1hr) 12.55 3.00 0

Rake, handwork (2hrs) 25.10 0 0

Set drip lines, patch (2hrs) 25.10 0 25.00
($40 drip lines/2 uses plus fittings)

Install mulch and anchor 12.55 0 28.00
($200 weed mat/10 yds, anchors)

Tighten greenhouse, other 25.10 0 0

Heat, vent, alarm ready 25.10 0 0


Seed/Transplant:
Cost of transplants 0 0 243.00
(450 plants needed/greenhouse, $0.54/3.5" pot)

Transplanting labor (4hrs) 50.20 0 0


Cultivation:
Drop strings 25.10 0 5.00

Clip strings 25.10 0 0

Prune and trellis 7x 329.44 0 0
(Average: .75 hr/row, 3.75 hrs each time = 26.25 hrs total)

Weed holes, edges 3x 75.30 (6 hrs total) 0 0

Prune leaves, sweep up 3x 112.95 (9 hrs total) 0 0

Top plants 9/1 37.65 (3 hrs total) 0 0

Roll up and down sides 58.99 0 0
(4 mins/time x 70 days = 4.7 hrs)

Labor Machinery Product
Pre-harvest subtotal: 865.33 3.00 421.00= 1289.33

Harvest:
Total yield for greenhouse = 300 15-lb boxes at 10 lbs marketable fruit/plant (450 plants)

Total hours to harvest greenhouse 60 hrs. Average: five 15-lb boxes/hr.

Labor Machine Product
Field to pack house 753.00 (60 hrs) 0 0

Pack house to dock 376.50 0 0
(at 10 boxes/hr sorting and folding up boxes)

Bags, boxes, labels 0 0 321.00 ($1.00/box, $0.07/label: 300 at $1.07)

Delivery 30.12 9.60 0

Post Harvest:
Detrellis and remove 75.30 (6 hrs total) 0 0

Sweep and fold mulch 12.55 0 0

Move drip lines 12.55 0 0

Labor Machine Product
Post-harvest subtotal: 2125.35 12.60 742.00 = 2,879.95 Harvested cost for greenhouse


Marketing Costs: Labor Machine Product
Labor: sales calls. Average 10 mins/week for 12 weeks = 2 hrs/season (for this crop only) 25.10

Farmers’ mkt expense 60.24 4.70 9.00

Total Crop Costs: 2210.69 17.30 751.00 = 2,978.99

Greenhouse & Overhead Costs: 3227.00
(Greenhouse annual expenses: $830; greenhouse overhead allocation: $2397.)

Total Costs:
Crop & Overhead Total: 6205.99


Sales: # of units Price per unit Total $
Retail: 100.00 48.75 4875.00
Wholesale: 200.00 36.00 7200.00

Total units 300.00
Total Sales: 12075.00


Net Profit:
Total sales – total costs = 5869.01

Net Profit/Acre: Not applicable

Cost/Unit: 20.69 Total cost/total units

Net Profit/Unit: 19.56 Net profit/total units

Last edited by PureHarvest; April 19, 2016 at 10:53 AM.
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Old April 19, 2016   #12
PureHarvest
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This format is poor, but on an excel sheet it reads easier.

The point is to nail down every step you make and every material you buy/use.

It all adds up and then you can plug in your projected yield times what your selling price is going to be.

From there you will be able to see what it will take to meet your income goals.

Everything recalculates automatically as you change the numbers in the cell, so its cool to play around with what ifs.

What if my yield is 12 lbs per plant instead of 10? What if its 8? What weight per plant do I need to hit to at least break even?

What if my per plant cost is .35 instead of .85

What if I use less labor for the transplanting?

You can run all of these and more and come up with goals.

At the end of the year you can plug in your real world numbers (you did track all your inputs as your went along, right?!)

Then you can evaluate where you can save money, improve your methods, or increase your crop size, or seek out ways to get more per pound.

I got all this from the book (comes with companion CD with all the spreadsheets) The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook by Richard Wiswall.

I know budget templates are nothing new, but this one clicked with me because it is geared to farming and the guy has all the categories already lined out to guide you along. You can edit it to meet your needs.
He has an example budget for like 20 major crops and it is really interesting to see which crops are more valuable than other given the same growing area (two 250' rows). You can go in and just edit your numbers into the cells for each crop example he has if you want to make it really easy
So once you come up with your personal base growing unit area, and plug in your numbers, you can rank one crop versus another and make good decisions on why you are going to grow which crops.
This guy makes the most per his base area (two 350' rows) with Parsley, Basil, and Kale.
He loses money if he were to grow Sweet Corn, bush beans or snap peas.

Last edited by PureHarvest; April 19, 2016 at 10:51 AM.
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