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How to know when to scale up

publication date: Apr 1, 2019
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The term “scaling up” has become something of a buzzword lately within the farming community. Roughly defined, “scaling up” means increasing the amount of production (acres, animals, etc.), yields (lbs., gallons, bunches, etc.), and revenues, both on an individual farm level and on a regional level.For an individual farm, scaling up can be a means to increasing profits.

When done correctly, scaling up enables you to lower your costs of production and access markets that you may not have been able to access before (this can be especially advantageous if you farm in an area where direct markets are somewhat saturated).

However, there are often other easier business strategies a farm can enact to increase profitability before scaling up; and scaling up entails a lot of risky changes to your farming system which you should be aware of before attempting it. In this article, I lay out a “checklist” of sorts to help you decide whether or not an increase in scale is in your farm’s best interest. But first, I’ll discuss some ways to improve your profitability and quality of life without scaling up; and I’ll show you a way to calculate just how big you might need to scale up to meet your profit goals.

The rest of this article is available in the Growing for Market Archive of more than 1,500 articles published from 2001 to the present.

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