We all know that the period of transition to organic can be a financially risky and/or scary time for farmers, and that there is very little “real world” information available about the financial performance and profitability of farms during transition.
A project led by researchers at the University of Minnesota is aiming to generate useful information and insights about the transition period. The program offers farm business management education scholarships to transitioning and recently certified (three years or fewer) Minnesota organic farmers, who work 1:1 with a Farm Business Management (FBM) instructor to develop accurate business records, financial statements (e.g., cash flows, projected profitability statements, balance sheets, and risk analysis), and annual farm business analyses. Individual participant information is kept strictly confidential; only summary data averaged across participating farms is made public.
Transitioning and recently certified Minnesota field crop and/or dairy farmers are eligible. The scholarships cover up to 90% of this FBM education program, and right now, 22 farmers are involved. In addition to the scholarships, they have a chance to attend workshops, meet other transitioning farmers, get help with business planning, and give other feedback about how the transition is going for them.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Meg Moynihan conducts short intake interviews over the phone; call her direct at 651-201-6616. You can also get more details about the program in a brochure posted at www.mda.state.mn.us/fbm
This project is funded by the USDA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative.
Organic and DIversification Specialist, Minnesota Department of Agriculture |625 Robert Street North | St. Paul, MN 55155 | 651-201-6616; (f) 201-6120 | www.mda.state.mn.us/amd