About The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook

Farming offers fundamental satisfaction from producing food, working outdoors, being one’s own boss, and working intimately with nature.

Unfortunately, many farmers avoid learning about the business end of farming; because of this, they often work harder than they need to, or quit farming altogether because of frustrating, and often avoidable losses.

This comprehensive business kit covers:

  • Step-by-step procedures to make crop production more efficient
  • Advice for managing employees, farm operations, and office systems
  • Novel marketing strategies
  • What to do with profits: business spending, investing, and planning for retirement

A companion CD offers easy-to-use spreadsheets for generating key financial documents such as cash flow projections and Profit and Loss Statements, 24 comprehensive crop budgets plus templates for more, a payroll calculator, and timesheet template to save time and money with employee paychecks, and a sample job description for farm workers.

What I Loved About The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook

What I love about The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook by Richard Wiswall is that it provides important information on the business side of farming, as opposed to the agriculture side.

This is valuable information to know because if you are trying to make a living from growing vegetables, you need to be able to determine which vegetables are profitable, and which ones are not.

That way, you can plan your crops around the profitable veggies and not waste your time and effort growing veggies that are not worth it.

Another important piece of the puzzle for new farms is having a business plan in place so you can do things like apply for funding and just have a general direction of where your farm is going.

Making a business plan is a daunting task and admittedly, we have put this step off for far too long, but the process is explained and laid out very well in this book.

There are also some really good marketing strategies, efficient farming techniques, and even a chapter on how you can retire with money in your bank account.

You won’t find this kind of behind-the-scenes information in any of the how-to-farm books, this is definitely a learn the farming business handbook.

Did I mention there is a companion CD with all the spreadsheets found in the book, as well as templates for you to use on your own farm?

This saves time and effort of having to prepare them from scratch. And as you know, time is a precious commodity, especially during the growing season.

What I Didn’t Love About The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook

I know I am not supposed to like everything about a book, I am supposed to be objective, blah, blah, blah…

But The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook is unlike all other market farm books I have come across.

There are not any other books like it, to my knowledge, that covers the business side of farming like this one.

It explains such important topics that I think everybody who has a market farm or is thinking of starting one should read it.

Is the subject matter exciting? No.

Does it make want to get out and plant right away? No.

But it is full of information that we need to know in order to become successful farmers.


I highly recommend The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook to anyone who is even considering starting a market farm or is already farming, without a business plan.

It has great information about setting goals, making a profit, crop budgets, marketing strategies, effective management, office paperwork, how to retire, efficiencies, business plans, and worksheets.

I definitely recommend it for beginners, as well as farmers who may be hanging on by the seat of their pants and don’t have a clear idea of where they are going with their farm.

The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook is for people looking to start a market farming business, or already have one in operation. They are also willing to sit down and figure out how to become profitable by putting in the time and crunching some numbers.

About Richard Wiswall

Richard Wiswall started Cate Farm in East Montpelier, Vermont, where he has farmed since 1981.

Known for his work on farm profitability and appropriate business tools, Richard consults with other farmers and writes and speaks frequently on organic farm business issues.

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

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