Navigating Federal Laws on Farm Labor

Is your farm in compliance with federal payroll requirements?

This upcoming workshop will provide federal payroll training for farmers.

The workshop will be held from 8:30am to 12:30pm on April 4th at the VT State House Room 11

Federal laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act have been a hot topic in recent months, as farmers around New England have been facing increased enforcement of labor regulations.  Several local farms have faced heavy fines for inadvertent violations to these laws, sparking debate about the details of these laws and how they are being interpreted.  Daniel Cronin and Christopher Mills of the U.S. Dept. of Labor will tease apart some of the nuances of these laws and explain how they are being enforced by the Dept. of Labor.  In particular, they will explain where the line is currently drawn between types of farm work that are and aren’t exempt from the laws’ provisions.

Join us for this workshop.

WhenApril 4, 2014 8:30am-12:30 pm

Where: Vermont State House, Room 11, Montpelier

RSVP: By March 28th to Louise Waterman at 802-828-6900 or Louise.Waterman@state.vt.us

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Planning and Managing Your Farm for Profit with Richard Wiswall

Richard Wiswall’s coming to Keene, NH to share his insight on Planning and Managing Your Farm for Profit! This workshop will bring us through the nuts and bolts of his outstanding book, The Organic Farmers Business Handbook, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and work with some figures. Bring some of your numbers, and start to better understand the story of your farm business.
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There are beginner farmer scholarships available for this event!
This workshop is co-sponsored by Yankee Farm Credit and the Cheshire County Conservation District.

Deadline for Farm Viability Business Planning is Fast Approaching: Friday, May 31st

Vermont farmers who own or lease farmland are eligible to apply. Applicants should also have at least 3 years prior farm experience and $10,000 or more of gross farm income in the previous year. These criteria may be waived in special cases.

The Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program offers business planning and technical assistance to Vermont farmers. Services are provided free of charge, following a $75 enrollment fee.

Farmers enrolled in the Program work with a farm business planner provided through cooperating organizations, listed below, or directly with an individual consultant. Our staff works with enrolled farmers to identify a good match for the farm. The consultants provide technical assistance tailored to the farmer’s needs to fulfill specific business goals. Farmers and planning consultants meet and work together for approximately one year to produce a written business plan. In the second year farmers are provided with additional technical assistance and help updating their plans.

The business planning process involves the farmer in an assessment of the farm operation’s strengths and weaknesses and in an exploration of possible management changes that could increase profitability. Examples include consultations on keeping better production or financial records, financial benchmark analysis, meetings with crop or animal health specialists, new farm enterprise analysis, estate and farm transfer planning, labor management, and value-added processing.

Farmers who have completed business plans with the program are eligible for grants towards capital expenses or additional technical support needed in implementing the business plan, when funding is available.

See the Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program website for more information. With specific questions call Liz Gleason at 828-3370.

 

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Vermont Farm Viability Program – apply now for business planning!

The Farm Viability Program has worked with 400 farmers and ag-related businesses to increase profits, improve farm management, develop new, value-added products, and plan for farm transfers.

Farmers are matched with consultants to provide individualized business assistance.  A farmer who recently completed the program stated that “the program has already changed my whole farm plan and has made me way more organized in ways I never thought possible. I now have a great insight into the future of my farm and my potential income, expenses, and overall production plan, not only this year, but in years to come!”

More information can be found online at www.vhcb.org/viability or by calling 802-828-3370.

Upcoming deadline for applications is March 31.

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AgSquared: Farm Management Software for Small Farmers

If your looking for ways to get more organized check out AgSquared, an online farm management program designed with small diversified farms in mind.

One of the case studies listed on the site is Eric Rozendaal’s Rockville Market Farm in Starksboro, VT.

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Online Tool Provides Interactive Farm Budgeting Resource

A new online tool for beginning farmers!

The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri has developed an online tool to help farmers build projected budgets for their operations.  The Farm Cost and Return Tool, or Farm CART, is at www.fapri.missouri.edu/projects.

“The tool allows beginning farmers and ranchers, not only in Missouri but all over the country, to play a what-if game on the Web,” said FAPRI economist Peter Zimmel. “They can develop a farm with how many acres they want, how many animals they want, and they can see what it will look like financially over the next five years.”\

Need a Farm Business Plan?

All farms should have a business plan in place. Without them it can be nearly impossible to obtain grants and loans for the farm. More importantly, a good business can help steer the farm in a direction that is financially viable and in-line with your original vision.

If creating a business plan feels daunting, a one-page business plan can be a good place to start. As the farm business grows you may find the need to expand the plan but a one-page plan is usually enough to make you eligible  for grants, loans and other services.

The National Good Food Network’s Field Guide to the New American Foodshed has some great resources on one-page business plans and one-page financial plans.

Check out the one-page plan resource out by clicking here!