The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook

    There are loads of books and resources on how to produce organic crops- what varieties to plant, their nutrient needs, and cultural tips for success. But production techniques rarely limit a farm’s success: rather it is the lack of dependable profitable returns.

    Farmers enjoy their work for lots of reasons: sowing seeds, working the soil, marveling at the plants that grow. Fundamental satisfaction comes from producing food, working outdoors, being one’s own boss, and working intimately with nature. But farmers often have an allergic reaction to the business end of farming and take a head-in-the-sand approach to finances. The farming and business worlds will eventually collide, and farmers are often uninformed of the business concepts and tools that are needed to navigate forward effectively and profitably.

    Richard wrote The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook to help farmers become financially sustainable. In an easy to read style, Richard's book is packed with incredibly useful information that is hard to find elsewhere.

    Check out the four minute video to learn more. Ordering information is outlined below.

 

 

The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook

A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff- and Making a Profit

By Richard Wiswall

 

    Contrary to popular belief, a good living can be made on an organic farm. What’s required is farming smarter, not harder.

 

    In The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, Richard Wiswall shares advice on how to make your vegetable production more efficient, better manage your employees and finances, and turn a profit. From his thirty years of experience at Cate Farm in Vermont, Wiswall knows firsthand the joys of starting and operating an organic farm—as well as the challenges of making a living from one. Farming offers fundamental satisfaction from producing food, working outdoors, being one’s own boss, and working intimately with nature. But, unfortunately, many farmers avoid learning about the business end of farming; because of this, they often work harder than they need to, or quit farming altogether because of frustrating—and often avoidable—losses.

 

In this comprehensive business kit, Wiswall covers:

  • Step-by-Step procedures to make your crop production more efficient
  • Advice on managing employees, farm operations, and office systems
  • Novel marketing strategies
  • What to do with your profits: business spending, investing, and planning for retirement

    A companion CD offers easy-to-use spreadsheets for generating key financial documents such as cash-flow projections and Profit and Loss Statements, 24 comprehensive crop budgets plus templates for more, a payroll calculator and timesheet template to save time and money with employee paychecks, and a sample job description for farm workers.

 

 

Book Ordering Information

The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook list price is $34.95. You can buy it here for $32.00 with free shipping in the United States. If you'd like a signed copy, just ask. To order, send check or money order payable to Cate Farm for $32.00 and include the address you want it shipped to. Sorry, we do not accept credit cards.

 

Send check or money order to:

Cate Farm Book Order
135 Cate Farm Road
Plainfield, VT 05667

 

 

Books are shipped as soon as we receive payment.

 

 

Book Reviews

"Generous, unique, and comprehensive - this book will help every farmer to better set goals, reach those goals, and improve their bottom line!" -Ela Chapin, Program Director, Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program

"Richard's book is a critical resource for those farmers who are trying to figure out the financial realities of their farming habits, and those who have not even started to examine farm profitability. The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook provides a step by step guide for farmers, deciphering the often regarded mystery of managing a farm as a business."

-Enid Wonnacott, Executive Director, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT)

"What a breath of fresh air! Richard Wiswall challenges the conventional notion that there's no real money in farming. He argues that farmers should be well-compensated, and then he shows how to make that happen. Every farmer--organic or not, beginner or experienced--should read this book."--Lynn Byczynski, editor and publisher of Growing for Market, a journal of news and ideas for local food producers

"How could anyone hope to produce a business guidebook useful to one of the most diverse, independent, even contrary groups of people on earth? This essential book is overdue! While the principles have been around for some time, this is the first they have been assimilated and tested so successfully." -Ed Martsolf, Petit Jean Farm, Morrilton, Arkansas

"Richard Wiswall has given us a finely tuned handbook to run a profitable organic farm. Most farmers love the growing part but dread the business end, and suffer financially for it. This is a book that I will recommend to ANY farmer regardless of how long he or she has been in business. There are a lot of hard-learned lessons contained within that will help avoid reinventing the wheel, as so many of us have."--Mark Wheeler, Pacific Botanicals LLC, Grants Pass, OR

"Many people become organic farmers because they love growing crops and working the land, but truth be told that's often the easy part. Richard Wiswall's book provides practical, real-world guidance for dealing with the hard part: the business of farming." -Vern Grubinger, Vegetable and Berry Specialist, University of Vermont Extension

"Here is a call to 'wake up and smell the pencil shavings!'--that a sharp pencil (and the ability to use it) is an essential tool for every farmer's toolbox. Farmers old and new will find great practical benefit from Wiswall's book."--Andrew Brait, Full Belly Farm, Guinda, CA

 

What Others Say


"Richard Wiswall has helped my business become more sustainable. Both his workshops and his book have enabled me to hone my skills in financial analysis, record keeping and all-around professionalism. His firm belief that farms can and should be financially successful provides motivation and encouragement for all of us who make our living on the land."

 

Mimi Arnstein

Farmer Owner

Wellspring Farm, Marshfield, VT

 



 

"It has been such a pleasure working with Richard over the years.  Not only is he knowledgeable about the business of farming, he tempers the hard facts with humour and enthusiasm.  Non-judgmental and generous with his time, we would highly recommend him to anyone wishing to start or fine-tune their farming venture."

 

Joy and John Primmer

Wildstone Farm, VT

 

 

 

"Richard is an excellent speaker and knows the ins and outs of farm finances. The examples we worked through as a group were great!”

 

CSA farmer, WI

 

 

 


Richard Wiswall has long had a practical, effective, and user-friendly approach to business management for diversified farms. He’s shared this approach by consulting with individual farmers and through his excellent book aimed at organic vegetable growers. As the Extension vegetable and berry specialist for Vermont I have seen first-hand how his advice has aided the success of farms, from start-ups to those with lots of experience. In person and on paper, Wiz has a lively style that engages farmers in thinking clearly about a topic that is at the core of farm viability.

 

-Vern Grubinger, VT