Nobody gets into farming for the spreadsheets, however almost no one will stay in business if they don’t get good with the business of running a farm. Even with farm businesses we are passionate about, it’s important to do more than just survive from year to year. The difference between gardening and farming is making a profit, and that’s necessary to pay everyone including the farmer, plan for retirement, and have a little extra for a “rainy day,” like when the tractor breaks down, someone gets injured, or the farm needs to grow.


Luckily, we have Julia Shanks to help us plan for our farms to be profitable businesses. She has used her background in the food industry and accounting to help hundreds of farmers make sense of their numbers. On this week’s pod, we pick up on the trends she has noticed over the years and talk about important ways to understand farm business metrics, like calculating the breakeven point, figuring out cost of production, profit per hour, whether growth or specialization is the right strategy for profitability, and more! We cover everything from pivoting, to the entrepreneurial mindset, to how to get excited about digging into your numbers, even when you aren’t.


Buy one of Julia's books:

The Farmer's Office


Read Julia's article that was discussed in the pod, "The magic of breakeven and how it can help set sales goals," in Growing for Market Magazine:


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GFM Podcast listeners can get a discount on Julia's farm business course starting December 4, The Farmer's Edge:



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Vermont Compost Company - Each fall, Vermont Compost offers a prebuy program to incentivize ordering your spring soil before the snow flies. With Vermont Compost’s prebuy program, you can receive 15% off on orders placed, paid for, and shipped by December 21st. Listeners of the Growing for Market podcast will receive an additional 5%, bringing the total discount to 20%. Visit for more details, or mention this podcast when you place your order.



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