MILLHEIM, Pa. — Direct-to-consumer markets, including farmers markets, CSAs, and direct-to-retail, are a $439 million industry in Pennsylvania. Yet, little information is available to help farmers make data-driven decisions about how to structure and hone their business models to optimize direct-market revenue.
With its multi-year Diversified Vegetable Financial Benchmark Study, which began in 2017 with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Heinz Endowments, PASA Sustainable Agriculture is collaborating with vegetable farmers across Pennsylvania and the surrounding region to create the only robust dataset for understanding the financial viability of farm businesses selling through direct-markets.
With financial benchmark data at hand, farmers will be able to develop more accurate goals for income and revenue growth, learn best business practices from their high-performing peers, and show lenders, land holders, and investors the business opportunity vegetable farms provide.
Over the past year, PASA has expanded its study to include 41 vegetable farms. Study participants range from beginning farmers in their first year of business, to established farmers with decades of experience under their belts.
To participate in the study, farmers can attend one of two upcoming workshops (details below). During the workshop, participants will complete a detailed financial survey about their vegetable farm that will take up to two hours to complete. PASA will also share highlights and lessons learned from the study to date.
All participants will ultimately receive a personalized direct-market financial benchmark report detailing how their finances compare to other farms across Pennsylvania and the U.S.
All participants are eligible to receive a $100 stipend for completing the study, and must prepare some basic 2018 financial records before the workshop. General results from this study will be shared publicly, but individual farm data will be kept confidential.
At this time, participation in this study is limited to for-profit diversified vegetable operations.
Free workshop details:
Thursday, January 9, 2020
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, January 3, 2020
1 – 5 p.m.
1 Alpha Drive, Hoover Business Building, Room 108
Elizabethtown, PA 17022
Friday, January 17, 2020
RSVP to email@example.com by Friday, January 10, 2020
1 – 5 p.m.
Chatham University, Eden Hall Campus, Esther Barrazone Center
6035 Ridge Road
Gibsonia, PA 15044
–Sarah Bay Nawa, PASA Sustainable Agriculture