The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has made a new, free farm management resource available to organic farmers. The publication Organic Farmers: Steps to Success, contains five simple worksheets designed to help organic farmers assess their own management and financial strengths and identify areas they want to improve.
“Not all successful organic farms excel in the same way, and there is no recipe for what will make somebody an exceptional organic farmer,” said Meg Moynihan, the MDA organic program administrator who led development of the worksheets. “But there are some skills and personal qualities that help, and these worksheets are designed to help people figure out what those are.”
The booklet is the culmination of a comprehensive organic farm business management project supported by the USDA Risk Management Agency and was designed with input from farm business management instructors, agricultural economists, and organic farmers. It is free to use and share and can be found at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/organic.
Farmers and other agriculture professionals may also be interested in actual production and economic performance data for Minnesota organic farms collected from 2007-2011. The Minnesota Organic Farm Performance Report is available at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/fbm.
Organizations that participated substantially in the project include Minnesota State Universities Farm Business Management Education programs, University of Minnesota Center for Farm Financial Management, Organic Crop Improvement Association – Minnesota Chapter 1, and the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota