Painful Pivot: how we sold a 5% direct market crop; farmer series 6

This was the start of the most miserable harvest season I’ve experienced in 22 years.  Each day, I had a few employees start in rows that I thought would produce, while I’d dash inside to check my messages.  After 30 minutes, I’d go check on the employees, and they’d already be at the end of … Read more

Sustainable Agriculture Research Grant Report; farmer series 5

When we decided to grow our farm, we looked for ways to reduce our weather related risk by improving plant and soil health.  I applied for and received a grant from the MN Department of Agriculture.  As part of our research, we grazed our sheep on cover crops in a crop rotation with strawberries for … Read more

Diversification; farmer series 4

Risk Management: Diversification The old saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is so true for farmers!  As our strawberry crop grew larger and larger, our risk was increasing exponentially. Over 20 years, we slowly grew from a half acre, to nine acres of strawberries.  After each field growth, we thought we’d run … Read more

Insurance for Risk Management; farmer series 3

 We’ve come to the conclusion that we couldn’t have changed our harvest this year.  Each of those weather events, by themselves, wouldn’t have taken out our crop, but the combination of all four was catastrophic. Our attention has turned, instead, to risk management.  Risk Management comes in many different forms: Insurance Controlling the controllables, such … Read more

Farmer Series Prequel: Preparing for

A Season of “Crazy” Crazy WeeksHave you ever gone through crazy weeks? Our family just finished a session of ‘Crazy’ that involved spring planting, prom, science camp, a magazine interview and photo shoot, two trips to Iowa for our son and his wife, a CRP burn, and the grand finale was a wretched experience with … Read more