• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Acknowledgement
 Some facts about Florida's small...
 Why do they farm?
 Why do you want to farm?
 Problems small farmers face: what...
 Assessing your chances as a successful...
 Reference
 Bibliography






Group Title: Staff paper - Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida - 218
Title: Getting started on a small part-time Florida farm
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00054837/00001
 Material Information
Title: Getting started on a small part-time Florida farm
Series Title: Staff paper
Physical Description: 23 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Gladwin, Christina H
Publisher: Food and Resource Economics Dept., Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1982
 Subjects
Subject: Part-time farming -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Farms, Small -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: by Christina H. Gladwin.
General Note: "October 1982."
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00054837
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001665653
oclc - 22442504
notis - AHX7437

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iii
    Some facts about Florida's small farms
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Why do they farm?
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Why do you want to farm?
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Problems small farmers face: what to expect
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Assessing your chances as a successful farmer: knowing your strenghts and weaknesses
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Reference
        Page 24
    Bibliography
        Page 25
Full Text

ly, coo'
417 / / l-
2- .


Staff Paper Series


FOOD AND RESOURCE ECONOMICS DEPARTMENT

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611





















GETTING STARTED ON A SMALL
PART-TIME FLORIDA FARM

by

Christina H. Gladwin


Staff Paper 218


October 1982


Staff papers are circulated without formal
review by the Food and Resource Economics
Department. Content is the sole responsi-
bility of the author.







Food and Resource Economics Department
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611














ACKNOWLEDGEMENT


The author is grateful for the farmers' quotes provided by Robert

Zabawa in Gadsden County and Masuma Downie in Baker County. Their

research was supported by Grant No. BNS-8112424 from the National

Science Foundation, awarded to Christina Gladwin.









I. SOME FACTS ABOUT FLORIDA'S SMALL FARMS


In time of war the small farmer is very important
and produces a lot. The small farm should be kept
for national security measures. In the last war,
WW II, the small farmers produced all out without
grumbling. Small farmers have a different attitude
than the big companies who are in it only for the
big profit .... The farmer is the only person who
can be broke at the end of the year and start
again--and I don't know why. Farmers will borrow
money and try again. If I had to farm on borrowed
money today I couldn't do it; because it's tough
to pay back borrowed money with such a high
interest rate and high equipment costs (a Gadsden
County farmer).


Until the mid '70's, farms in Florida have followed the national "revolu-

tionary" trend of becoming fewer in number and bigger in size (Figure 1).

Between the years 1935 and 1974, Florida farm numbers were cut in half from

72,857 to 32,466; while average farm size more than quadrupled, from 83 acres

to 407 acres. As in other agricultural states in the U.S., these "concen-

tration" trends mean that only a few of the largest farms (2.2% in 1978)

control almost one-third (30%) of the land in farms. In production, con-

centration is such that farms with less than $20,000 in value of sales

represent 73 percent of all farms but only 5 percent of sales, while farms

with sales above $100,000 are 9.4 percent of all farms but have 84 percent

of total sales. Concentration in farm wealth, numbers, and production has

been the norm in U.S. agriculture for 40 years. Some experts claim it will

not stop when all farms called "small" now, i.e., those with gross sales of

$20,000 or less, have ceased to exist (Carter et al., 1981). Unless small

farm programs and agricultural policies are "somehow turned around," farms

with gross sales of $20,000 to $40,000 "will fall by the wayside with great






FIGURE I. NUMBER & AVERAGE SIZE OF FARMS IN FLORIDA


farms


* I
0
S
S
S.
5* 0
S
S
9S5*~ S


Average size of forms


I I7
74 78


70-



60-


400



-350



300



250



-200



- 150



-/00


Cl

b


50-



40-



30-


20-



/0-


I I I I


25 30 35 40 45 50 54 59 64 69

Year










rapidity in the 1980's, "... and ... "the demise of farms in the $40,000 to

$99,999 category will not be far behind" (Ibid, 1981).

Despite these dire forecasts and the continuing presence of the factors

causing concentration (inflated land costs, increasing costs of production

and indebtedness, tax shelters which benefit larger farmers, and the continual

investment demand of new technology), small farms in Florida and other states

are now not only surviving but also growing. Between the years 1974 and 1978,

Florida farm numbers increased from 32,446 to 44,068, while average farm size

decreased from 407 to 302 acres, the first decrease in average farm size since

1935. This substantial decrease in average farm size is due to the entrance

of new small farmers into Florida agriculture. Of the 11,593 new Florida

farmers in 1978, 71.3% are farms with annual sales of less than $20,000; while

only 28.7% are farms with sales of $20,000 or more. This "renaissance of

small-scale farming" is almost equally distributed between farms with sales

of less than $2,500, who comprise 30.8% of the increase, and farms whose

sales range from $2,500 to $19,999, who comprise 40.5% of the new farms.

How are small farms surviving and even growing? Data in Figure 2 show

one way: part-time farming. The graph shows the number of small farms with

sales of $2,500 to $20,000 divided into three categories, based on character-

istics of the household head: "Farms with (1) a head over 65 years of age,

(2) a head working 200 days or more off the farm annually, and (3) a head who

is an able-bodied, full-time farm operator depending on the farm for a live-

lihood--defined operationally as all small farms less categories (1) and (2)".

(Tweeten et al., 1980). The three categories, arbitrarily called aged, part-

time and bona fide, were first used by Oklahoma agricultural economist

Luther Tweeten to show that nationally, "the small farm unit managed by a full-

time, able-bodied operator is almost gone. Replacing them are part-time





SMALL FARM TRENDS IN FLORIDA, /959-78


able-bodied)


o"
c~,~

a

L


8,000.




7,000




6,000-




5,000-









3,000-




2,000-
3,o-


.*

_Ag6e.d
(65 years and over)


1964 1969 /974


Part Time
(over 200 days
off farm work)


'-...
~0 00X


I


FIGURE 2.


4,
4,
4,
4,
4,


1959


1978 Year







5


farmers who derive most of their income--and expend most of their labor--

off the farm" (Tweeten, 1982). Data from Florida support this view by

showing the overall decline in the number of bona fide small farmers, the slow

but steady rise in the number of aged or retired farmers, and the dramatic

increase in the number of farms with part-time heads. Florida data further

show that the long term trends point to more part-time and less full-time

small farmers in the future, with a slow, steady increase in retired farmers.

Although data from the 1978 census show a "turnaround" in full-time

small farming as well as an upsurge in part-time farming during the late

70's, this turnaround followed a short period of good food prices in the

early 70's. The climatic and economic situation of the last five years has

been quite different and in many cases disastrous for Florida's full-time

farmers. More and more full-time farmers are being forced to either cut

back or stop farming by a combination of factors: three drought years in the

period from 1975 to 1980, sky-rocketing production expenses coupled with

little or no compensatory increases in product prices, and 20% interest

rates. As a result, experienced small-scale farmers now counsel young farmers

to "use family labor efficiently, be frugal in the use of capital and credit,

be prepared for a decrease in income, and get a good off-farm job" (Downie

and Gladwin, 1981, p. 97).

Even with off-farm work and part-time farming, some experienced farmers

are not too optimistic about the future of Florida family farming:

I don't know what this farmin' situation is gonna
turn to. It looks like the government right now
is gonna turn the agriculture completely loose;
and if they don't take and see far enough ahead
I'm afraid the United States is gonna be running'
low of food. I won't live to see it, but I believe
it's gonna happen, cause I ain't seen many men your
age that's gonna fool with it. They can't make a
living farmin' and they know they can't. Now










there's some of 'em trying to do both--tryin' to
farm and a public job too, that's the only way they
survive. You can't do it anymore, if the government
don't take over and try to stand by the farmer, and
see what he really needs, instead of guessin' at it
or cutting' his throat. You might say that's what's
happened. That's exactly what's happened. It
worries me a lot, but I won't live to see it, but
it ain't too many years off, I don't believe. Sure
enough, it won't be too many years off before the
United States is like these other countries coming'
short of food. And whether they know it or not,
the farmer is the backbone of the United States
(a Gadsden County farmer).


II. WHY DO THEY FARM?


Given the almost universal degree of pessimism about the survival of the

small to medium-sized full-time farm, one has to ask why Florida family farmers

continue to farm. To answer this question, we asked farmers and farm wives

in Baker, Gilchrist, and Gadsden Counties to describe what they hoped to

achieve from farming. The data in the following tables was gathered from a

sample of 50 farm wives in Baker and Gilchrist Counties; the sample was

representative by farm size, race, and geographical location (Downie and

Gladwin, 1981).

Table 1 summarizes the goals and reasons Florida families farm. Gener-

ating an income from farming or earning enough to avoid big debts is the

predominant goal. One woman sums it up, "Our goal is to get everything paid

for, land and equipment, so we can have an income coming in." To get out of

debt, farm families try to reinvest farm earnings back into the farm, "to

build up the cow herd, to have enough cows to cover the expense of keeping

them." The goal of earning money from farming is not always achieved, however.

One woman sadly reflected, "I enjoyed farming till we couldn't make a profit

from it."









Table 1. Farm goals.


No. of Responses* Percent

1. Generation of income 29 28

2. Children-centered goals 26 25

a. helping children 16

b. raising children 10

3. Rural residence/lifestyle 18 17

4. Personal autonomy 15 14

5. The farm is a goal in itself 13 13

6. Subsistence/self sufficiency 3 3

104 100


*Number of responses do not sum to sample size because respondents often
reported more than one goal and all goals were recorded.

SOURCE: Downie and Gladwin, 1981: p. 80.










Children-centered goals (helping older children get a start, raising

children right) were the next most frequently-mentioned reasons to farm.

Some farm families are accumulating land and equipment, and planting timber

for their children' future use. Others are concerned about raising children

in a healthy environment where the mores and values of neighbors are known

and shared.

Maintaining a rural residence and lifestyle, satisfying the desire to

"stay where you are ...," to live in thecountry, and enjoy farm life is

another frequently-mentioned goal. Farming is a goal in itself for some

families. As one woman put it, "the goal of farming was building a farm;

everything else was secondary." One Gadsden County farmer testifies: "When

you live on a farm and enjoy it, you're already ahead of the game."

The need for personal autonomy and some control over the timing and level

of one's own productivity and achievement is another goal:

I tell you, there ain't nothing' like farmin'. You're
your own boss, you can go to work today if you want to
or you can stay home or you can go out there at 6
o'clock and stay out there till midnight. When I get
out there and go to work time don't bother me at all;
I'll stay there 12 hours, 15, whatever it takes. When
I start to do something' I finish it ... when I start
to planting' corn, I get on that tractor, I don't quit
till I'm through ...." I wouldn't quit farmin' for
nothing It'd have to get a whole lot worse than it is
now, and I don't believe it can get no worse" (A Gadsden
County farmer).

Being self-sufficient in food, "knowing what we are eating ...", and

keeping out of the grocery store is another major goal of Florida farmers.

For them, "having a large enough garden for the whole family, having vegetables

all year round, and growing your own ..." are good reasons to farm.









III. WHY DO YOU WANT TO FARM?


Let's get back to you. Do you know your goals? Why do you want to

farm? Do you want to get away from the negative aspects of city life (noise,

violence, drugs, commercial over-sell)? Or are you attracted to farming as

a way to make some income?

Do you have both of these goals? If later it proves impossible to

satisfy both goals, which one is more important to you?

Knowing the answer to these questions may well determine the success of

your farming effort, since following different goals will lead you to very

different plans of action. For example, if enjoying a rural lifestyle is

your reason to farm, you will feel successful following a "grow-your-own"

plan of action. On the other hand, if making money is your first priority,

gardening and own-meat production will not suffice to make you feel success-

ful as a farmer.

Knowing who you are and what you expect from farming may be the hardest

task for you as a beginning farmer. It is definitely the first step toward

getting started in farming. Prioritizing your goals now may help you avoid

making a costly move out to the boonies only to discover you don't like it.

Analyzing your expectations now may help you realize you don't want to

sacrifice some of your monthly recreation money and time to subsidize the

farm business. As farm management expert Kadlec points out, "management is

using what you have, to get what you want most. In order to use wisely what

you have, you must know what you want" (Kadlec, 1982).

Toward this end, Table 2 is a checklist of possible goals you may have.

Before you invest your money and time in farming, go through this checklist

and rate each goal on a scale of 0 to 10. If a goal is a "10" but is





Table 2. Prioritize YOUR Goals.
How important are each of the following to YOU?
Very
Impor-
tant
10


No
Impor-
tance
8 6 4 2 0


A. Income and wealth
1. Making $10,000/year
2. Making $20,000/year
3. Making $50,000 or more/year
4. Accumulating $500,000
(lifetime)
5. Accumulating $1,000,000 or
more (lifetime)
6. Saving 5-10% of gross income/
year
7. Saving 10% of gross income/
year
8. Knowing the lower limit of
my gross income for this
year
9. Have a farm business which
produces a stable income
10. Have a family income compar-
able to what my wife and I
could make if we lived in
town
B. Risk
1. Avoid bankruptcy
2. Debt load:
Less than $100,000 debt
Less than $500,000 debt
Less than 50% of net worth
Less than 100% of net worth
No limit on debt


-- Continued --


I


I


I


r


i







11

Table 2.--Continued


How important are each of the following to YOU?
Very No
Impor- Impor-
tant tance
10 8 6 4 2 0


3. Insurance
Life
Health
Homeowners
Farm Liability
Crop
4. Make mortgage and loan
payments on time


C. Family and personal life
1. Spend 1 hour/day with family
Spend 2 hours/day with family
Spend 4 hours/day with family
Spend 8 hours/day with family
2. Take a vacation each year
3. Time to do anything you want
Hours per day 1
2
4
6
10
4. Own your home
5. Own a nice automobile
6. Set aside money for retire-
ment
7. Contribute to the community
8. Live close to home
9. Recreation
Together as a family


-- Continued --









Table 2.--Continued


How important are each of the following to YOU?
Very No
Impor- Impor-
tant tance
10 8 6 4 2 0

Individually
Own recreational vehicle
10. Cultural development for
family
11. Increase my family's living
standard quickly


D. Farm characteristics
1. Rapidly growing farm
2. Efficient well-managed farm
3. Owning land
4. Sufficient size to bring
children into the business
5. Be recognized as a top
farmer in the community


E. Job satisfaction
1. Work: Outdoor
Indoor
Plenty of freedom
Required to make many
tough decisions
Job security
Physical activity
With others
Alone


SOURCE: Kadlec, 1982, Chapter 2: pp. 4-6.









incompatible with any agricultural production possibility open to you now,

then maybe you don't want to farm. If you have two or more opposing 10's,

take some time to figure out which is more important to you. Then go for

it! If you are starting to farm with other family members, one way to avoid

family problems and difficulties later is to determine if the individual

goals of all family members are compatible now. It may not be possible to

have farm goals which satisfy all parties. In this case, the sooner the

goal conflict can be recognized, the less stress will ensure.

IV. PROBLEMS SMALL FARMERS FACE: WHAT TO EXPECT


"A person can't start out in farming today and make it.
If I was to give my son my whole place, all the equip-
ment, and two years time, the way things are goin' now,
he'd be a lost cause."

Why can't full-time farmers make a living farming? This question is so

important that we asked farm wives in Baker and Gilchrist Counties to

specify their major problems and concerns. The result is the list in Table

3 (Downie and Gladwin, 1981: p. 90).

The problem which heads the list of concerns is the skyrocketing cost

of inputs including credit, caused by an inflationary economy. Farmers are

caught in a bind between high interest rates and high production costs; some

have difficulty in getting loans. In the opinion of one woman: "Practically

everything on the farm costs money;" and yet, "food is the cheapest thing in

America." The result: "people who farm and stay out of debt are not very

affluent."







14


Table 3. Why farmers can't make a living farming.


No. of responses* Percent

1. Inflation, high cost of
inputs, credit and taxes 44 32

2. Lack of a market; low prices
received 14 10

3. Two small land size 13 9

4. Uncertain future of the
small farm; lack of
government help 12 9

5. Scarcity of time and labor 11 8

6. Not producing high-enough
yields 10 7

7. "We survive, but can't get
ahead" 9 6

8. The need for off-farm income 9 6

9. Health, safety, retirement
concerns 6 4

10. Risks involved in farming 5 4

11. The need to diversify 3 2

12. Energy self sufficiency 1 1

13. "We can't hunt any more" 1 1

14. "The government shouldn't
subsidize farms" 1 1

139 100


*The number of respondents does not sum to the sample size as some respon-
dents gave more than one response.










The price farmers receive for their products is the second most cited

problem:

If they don't do something to preserve the family
farm, one of these days Purina or a big company like
that is going to own everything and people are gonna
pay for their foodstuff. If you'll look at it right
now, from the government's standpoint they're
depending on the farmer to keep the cost of living
down. He's the only one, everyone else, you go out
here and take the telephone company .... They can
have all kinds of poor management they want and the
Public Service Commission will see--regardless of how
they run their business--they'll see that they operate
with a profit at 10% or whatnot. Same thing for the
power company, all the utilities. Everybody is
guaranteed a minimum wage except the farmer; he's
guaranteed nothing (A Gadsden County farmer).

Related to this problem is the need to expand farm size to cover in-

creasing costs of production: "too small a farm size" in addition to lack

of control over product and input prices lead farmers to conclude, "We survive,

but can't get ahead."

Time and labor availability is cited as another problem. One woman

mentioned that she is on the phone all the time trying to locate parts for

farm equipment. Another woman would like to see her husband take a hand in

the bookkeeping. Several women are concerned that kids will be leaving home

soon: "the help is running off to school." The concerns of others are over

health, health insurance, and retirement, and the inability to pay medical

bills because of the lack of health insurance. Contemplating retirement, one

woman asked: "We never learned to play; what do we do with time if we retire?"

Finally, in the opinion of one woman, the federally subsidized loan program

of Farmers' Home Administration (FmHA), created especially to help small farms

survive, is a problem and not a solution. She explains why farmers can't make

a living:







16

Many farmers are FmHA farmers. They are not
productive, because it is not their own money in
the venture. They get money, and if they make it,
okay. If not, so what? They don't make the
sacrifices farmers did.

First they need a pick-up truck with a CB radio,
and then an airconditioned tractor. They are not
building anything. They farm with other people's
land, with other people's money, and with a high
mortgage. I can't blame the farmer; they have a
good thing going. But they are to be blamed for
going into debt and not working their way out.


V. HOW FARMERS CAN MAKE A LIVING FARMING:
WHAT THE EXPERIENCED FARMERS SAY


The same group of farm women were asked to advise beginning farmers on

how to be successful in farming. Their replies are listed in Table 4 (Downie

and Gladwin, 1981: p. 97).

Surprisingly or not, "use family labor efficiently" is the most frequent

bit of advice. According to one woman, "the wife should be willing to work

long, hard hours, as and when work needs to be done." Another warns, "don't

expect things to come easy." In the same vein, a Gadsden County man warns

the menfolk:

You can't lay up in bed and think you're gonna make
a crop 'cause you can't do it. You got to get up,
you got to go, you got to go, boy .... I don't mind
tellin' you, you got to go and know what you're doin'
.... I've enjoyed farmin' all my life, I love to see
things grow, and I love to see tractors working and
I know what it takes to really carry on, I really
know how to do it, that's so.

The advice others give is for the family to work together, to have one goal

and channel all energy and money in one direction. "The husband and wife

must work together; they can't pull apart

Another popular piece of advice is: "be frugal; cut costs by saving

every which way you can." A farmer doesn't need the best equipment to farm.









Table 4. How farmers can make a living: advice to young farmers.

No. of responses* Percent

1. Use family labor efficiently 48 28

2. Choose the appropriate enter-
prise mix and land use 33 19

3. Expand slowly; be frugal
in use of capital and credit 31 18

4. Manage carefully 25 14

5. Be prepared for a decrease
in income 8 5

6. Expect risks 7 4

7. It depends on government
intervention 6 4

8. Get a good off-farm job 5 3

9. Farm with others 4 2

10. Be self sufficient 4 2

11. It depends on the state of
the economy and commodity
prices 2 1

173 100


*Again the number of respondents giving advice does not sum to the sample
size, as some farmers gave more than one piece of advice.









Instead, he should shop around for good deals and buy second-hand equipment,

reinvest farm earnings back in the farm, and be sure to pay off each year's

loan. The general consensus on credit use is to "go slow", "grow into

farming", don't go into debt, and use capital and equipment efficiently.

Management skills are considered crucial to survival on a small farm.

Farmers are advised to keep up with innovations and use all available

resources: the university, agricultural extension, and other farmers.

Farmers should keep farm records and do budgets to "figure out what you are

getting into." As one woman put it: "Don't get excited about things that

haven't been proven, for example, sunflowers and buckwheat. Try them out

in a small way first."

To make a living from farming, farmers should expect risks and a

decrease in income. In a farm wife's opinion, "it is hard for young people

to farm nowadays because they are raised different from us. They can make

a living but it's not the standard of living they are used to. They're

raised in affluence." The risks of farming go with the profession, and as

one woman put it quite bluntly, "I'd like to see young people take it on

the chin like we did."

The role of government in the future of small farms is crucial. Both

government and agricultural leaders need to encourage young people to help

them help themselves. The government should provide tax incentives to

farmers, and give better prices for their products. One woman's view is

that "government is not letting farmers get their share of the food dollar."

The need for off-farm income is emphasized again and again. One woman

gives the following advice: "a husband and wife can work 16 hours at a

job and get double incomes, and still have 16 hours to devote to farm work!"

Other farmers stress the necessity of financial backing from relatives or a






'19


well-established older farmer. Still others request "growing your own

vegetables, raising your own meat, and making your own jams and jellies.

Farming means growing what you eat rather than buying it."

Finally, the state of the economy determines whether a farmer can make

a living; "if the economy is good, if the market is good, and if interest

rates don't go up," it will be possible to make it in farming.


VI. ASSESSING YOUR CHANCES AS A
SUCCESSFUL FARMER: KNOWING YOUR STRENGTHS AND
WEAKNESSES


Again, let's get back to you. Do you know how you can make a living

farming? How can you develop a long range farm strategy or plan?

To develop a good farm strategy, you should assess your resources (your

strengths and weaknesses) and the alternatives in production and marketing

open to you, to see if you can meet your agreed-upon goals (Figure 3). Given

your prioritized goals, you must first inventory the land, machinery,

operating capital, labor and management skills you have at your disposal.

Second, you should research the production and marketing alternatives that

are open to you now in farming in Orange County. With your resources,

what crops and livestock can you produce and market? Do you know what

marketing alternatives are open to a small-scale farmer in Orange County?

Do you know the prices (good, average, bad) that alternative products sell

for at those markets? Do they cover the costs of producing that product?

Given a profitable, marketable product, do you have the resource requirements

and know the recommended practices to produce that product, to meet your

goals? For each particular commodity you are thinking of growing or

raising, for example livestock, can you answer the series of questions

posed in Table 5?













ALTERNATIVES


CROPS

LIVESTOCK

PRODUCTION SYSTEM )

*PURCHASING SYSTEM

*MARKETING SYSTEM

*TOTAL BUSINESS SIZE

*LEVEL OF LABOR AND
MANAGEMENT INPUT





Figure 3. Developing a Farm Strategy


* "GROW YOUR OWN"

* PROVIDE FAMILY WITH AN
INVESTMENT WITH POSSIBLE
TAX BREAKS

* WATCH THINGS GROW

* PROVIDE CHILDREN WITH
OPEN SPACE


GOALS


RESOURCES









Table 5. Should I Raise Livestock?


Yes No

1. Do I need/want to make more income and am I willing
to work with livestock to obtain it?

2. Do I have any "free" or "low-cost" fixed resources:

a. Feed (e.g., permanent pasture)

b. Labor and management

c. Buildings and equipment

3. Am I willing to contribute the continuous attention
that livestock require?

4. Am I at least average in ability with livestock?

5. Do I need a better cash flow situation?

6. Do I need investment credit, depreciation, capital
gains?

7. Am I short on capital?

8. Am I short of land?

9. Do I enjoy working with livestock?

10. Am I willing to make a long-term commitment?

11. Am I willing to accept the risk of price fluctuations
*and disease?


"If you have above average management ability with livestock and/or
fixed resources that can only be sold through livestock and if you
are willing to make a long term commitment, it is likely that
livestock will make money for you."


SOURCE: Kadlec, 1982: Chapter 11 .









A good manager knows the answers to these questions before he or she

begins to plant or even begins to invest. If an answer to one question is

"no", a good manager reassesses both his/her goals and the set of feasible

alternatives open to him/her. If the available marketing alternatives will

not support a breakeven price of a product, a good manager will switch to

another crop and in some cases not produce at all.

To help you determine what and whether you should produce, this series

of programs on "getting started" will over the next year present information

in more detail on subsistence production, budgeting, breakeven prices, cash-

flow analysis, marketing on a small scale, credit institutions, informal

partnerships, buying vs. renting land, estate planning, and even microcomputers.

Today, however, you should sit down and fill out Table 2 (your goals) and

Table 6, a checklist of 10 questions about your ability to make it in farming.

Taken from Table 4, the advice of experienced Florida farmers to beginning

farmers, Table 5 is a test of your resolve to be a successful small-scale

Florida farmer.






23


Table 6. CAN YOU:

Yes No

1. As a family, agree on your farm goals, enterprise mix, and
a fair, workable division of labor which makes everyone
sufficiently happy?

2a. Decide on an appropriate enterprise mix and operating
farm size which will satisfy your goals?

2b. Find a market for your product before you plant?

3. Manage to shave production costs/do your own repairs/
build your own/get financial backing from relatives/
borrow capital in minimal amounts/share equipment with
other farmers?

4. Learn farm management tools (bookkeeping, budgeting,
cash-flow analysis) to figure out how much farm income
you need to cover costs of production?

5. Live on a reduced monthly income for the beginning
years and the bad years, in order to subsidize the
farm?

6. Take risks of losing production costs in a bad year?

7. Join a farm organization to lobby for equitable and
efficient farm policies at both the federal and state
level?

8. Get a good off-farm job for one or more family members,
to cover living expenses and maybe subsidize the farm?

9. Farm with others (relatives, friends, neighbors,
older farmers) to get on-the-job training and financial
help?

10. Be self-sufficient in some of your family's food needs
by gardening, preserving, and raising your own meat?









REFERENCES


Carter, Hal 0., Willard W. Cochrane, Lee M. Day, Ronald C. Powers and Luther
Tweeten. 1981. "Research and the Family Farm: A Paper Prepared for
the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy." Ithaca,
NY: Cornell University (February).

Downie, Masuma and Christina H. Gladwin. 1981. "Florida Farm Wives:
They Help the Family Farm Survive." Gainesville, FL: Food and Resource
Economics Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences,
University of Florida.

Kadlec, John E. 1982. Farm Management: Decisions, Operations, Control.

Tweeten, Luther G., G. Bradley Cilley and Isaac Popoola. 1980. "Typology
and Policy for Small Farms." Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics,
Vol. 12, No. 2: pp. 77-85 (December).

Tweeten, Luther G. 1982. "Small Farms Live Despite Economic Predictions."
Southern Beef Producer, Vol. 12, No. 1: pp. 24-25 (January 15, 1982).









BIBLIOGRAPHY
SMALL FARM/RANCHETTE PROGRAM


1. An Overview


1. USDA
1982 "Getting Started in Farming on a Small Scale." Washington, DC:
USDA, Agricultural Information Bulletin No. 451.

2. Penn State
1980 "Farm Management for Part-time Farmers." Special Circular 203,
College of Agriculture, Extension Service, Penn State Univer-
sity, University Park, Pennsylvania.

3. National Fertilizer Development Center
1979 "Can Small Farms Be Successful: Accomplishments of Four Farm
Families." Muscle Shoals, Alabama: NFDC, Tennessee Valley
Authority, Muscle Shoals, Alambama 355660.

4. Wigginton, Eliot
1972 The Foxfire Books, Volumes 1-6. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.


5. Otte, J. and L. Rozar
1977 "So You Want To Get Into Agriculture?"
Report GC 1977-2.


Bradenton AREC Research


6. Ingram, D., J. Midcap, and D. Gunter
1980 "Starting a Wholesale Nursery Business," Circular 409A, Florida
Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Florida.




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