“The Growing Farm Profits training helped our business by educating us on how to keep more and better farm records. Since the course we have kept records on winter high tunnel vegetable production. We recorded the price, quantity, square footage, and location of each of the 11 types of winter vegetables we grew. This allowed us to calculate which varieties of vegetables were more profitable, which ones were more in demand, and which weren't worth growing in the future. This is powerful data because it can potentially increase profits and save time by several fold.” -- Growing Farm Profits workshop participant
Southern SAWG isn’t without bias. We especially like things from the South, whether it is climate, food, music, accent, or ideas. But we won’t let our geographic bias stop us from grabbing something good from up north. And though we are biased in favor of farmer innovations and farmer presentations over those of more academic types, we aren’t blind to the contributions of universities. So when Wisconsin organic farmer Jim Munsch began working with the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006 to develop his innovative approach to determining the right price to charge for farm products, we took note.
The product of that collaboration was the Veggie Compass Whole-Farm Profit Management System, complete with computer tools to help implement it. In January, 2008, Southern SAWG brought Jim to our conference in Kentucky to present that system in a session titled, “How to Price Farm Products for Profit”.
Jim returned to our conference in 2009 to team up with Alex Hitt, a Southerner, to develop and present a day and a half short course titled “ Pricing and Profits,” supported by a grant from the USDA Risk Management Agency.
Since then, with support from the Southern Risk Management Education Center, Southern SAWG has taken the show on the road, with workshops in Virginia and Georgia last year, and a workshop scheduled for North Carolina December 1-2 this year. Then comes a home game back at the Southern SAWG conference, with a pre-conference short course in Little Rock in January, 2013. While the premise and approach remain the same, the tools and the presentation have improved. Good feedback from workshop participants has helped improve both content and delivery of what is now called “Growing Farm Profits,” and features Ellen Polishuk and Gary Bullen as presenters.
More information about the Arkansas training, which is being held just before Southern SAWG annual conference, is available here.