Produce farmers, large and small, can take advantage of expert financial consulting for their farms through a new effort from University of Minnesota Extension.

Extension is working with the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and and Renewing the Countryside to test a business model of farmers’ markets serving as food hubs in their communities. The goal is to figure out if this model truly benefits farmers.

The team needs 18 farmers to commit to this opportunity by May 31. By committing to the project, farms are signing up to meet one-on-one with Ryan Pesch, Extension educator in community economic development, who will use FINPACK software to input and analyze farm records. All personal information will be strictly confidential between the farm and Pesch.

Financial data from each farm will be compiled and averaged with similar information from other farms. All names and other identifying details will be removed. Once all data is collected and analyzed, the financial impact will be identified.

The project has funds to pay 18 farms each a $150 stipend to meet with Ryan and share their 2017 and 2018 financial records and keep track of 2019 records. Participating farmers also will receive sound financial advice for their farm.

Each farm must fit into one of three categories: Those who sell direct to customers at the farmers’ market and also sell through the aggregation project, those who sell direct to customers at the farmers’ market only (no wholesale sales) and those who sell direct to customers at the farmers’ market and also have their own wholesale account(s) separate from the aggregation project.

For more information, contact Pesch at 218-770-4398 or pesch@umn.edu.

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