Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Bottom Line

From SHF 2011

Seems that things have been getting so busy on the farm that there's no time for posts recently. I'll try to remedy that right now, although I have to admit that yesterday's relative dryness got us so busy I didn't even stop to snap a photo. We did get the first outside seedings in the ground - a bit later than planned, but that's to be expected this time of year. We're quickly filling up the propagation tables in the greenhouse and next week, if it's dry enough, we'll start plugging some of those starts into the field and getting out from under the plastic.

Today? Today I'm doing my taxes. Did the farm make any money last year? According to a bit of accounting Kji and I did a few weeks back we didn't do nearly as well as we did in 2009 but it felt like we made some progress towards the future. We're hoping that pays off some this year, and with the seasons filling up it seems like it might. The bottom line is that we estimate the time put into the farm last season was compensated at a little over $7/hr, compared to over $9/hr in 2009. That's after expenses, but before taxes, and no, there are no "benefits" like health insurance or a retirement plan worked in there. Fortunately there are some other benefits - mostly in the form of doing something we love, in a great place, for great people.

Last year was a tough growing season, and we also didn't fill up the CSA, or sell much of our surplus produce from not having sold all of the CSA shares. These things were somewhat connected, at least mentally. It was easier to have a smaller CSA and not worry about all of the crops that were failing from the cold wet season, give out some more of the ones that were doing well, and wait for this season. That's the short explanation I'm giving for why we didn't make what we hoped to. Our goal for this coming season is to break $10/hr, which I would be very happy with.

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