We take a deep dive into how their worker share program functions, and how it fits into their overall labor strategy – a strategy that includes two adult children in management positions on the farm. Barb and Dave dig into how they’ve structured their workdays to work for employees, and how they are starting the discussion about transitioning the farm to the next generation.
Dave takes us on a tour of the seed potato business, including how it fits into the labor, marketing, and business aspects of Vermont Valley Farm. We also discuss the basics of the business planning that led Barb and Dave to operate at a large scale in a short amount of time, how the mechanized the operation from day one, and how they manage mulching with their own hay and straw for fertility and weed suppression on a large acreage.
BCS America: BCS two-wheel tractors are versatile, maneuverable in tight spaces, light-weight for less compaction, and easy to maintain and repair on farm. Gear-driven and built to last for decades of dependable service on your farm or market garden.
Farmers Web: Making it simple for farms, farm cooperatives, and local food artisans to streamline working with wholesale buyers. Lessening the administrative work that comes with each order helps producers create a more successful relationship with their buyers and can help them work with more buyers overall.
CoolBot: Build your own walk-in cooler with a window air conditioner and a CoolBot controller. Save on upfront costs, monthly electricity bills, and expensive visits from refrigeration technicians. Controllers, complete cooling systems, and turnkey walk-in coolers available at StoreItCold.com. Mention the code FTF to double your CoolBot warranty at no charge. StoreItCold.com
Quotes from the Show
Barb] We thought there was no reason that we should, just because we were farming, accept a lower income than we had been making.
[Barb] CSA in some ways may be more complicated because our math has to be so impeccable and we have to figure out what we're planting, because everything that we grow that comes off this farm gets divided amongst our CSA members.
[Dave] making the offer is as important as people accepting the offer… It's kind of like getting invited to a party. You may not be able to make it, but you appreciate the fact you were invited.
[Dave] if you can mechanize something and that improves the process, it's a no-brainer. If it's in your budget, you do it because it's going to improve everything. Improve your life, improve your product, improve your economic bottom line. In my perspective, it's not even a consideration not to.
[Dave] Good seed is cheap seed.
Vermont Valley’s potato seed business provides seed that is certified by the State of Wisconsin Seed Potato Program and that is also certified organic.
Barb’s favorite tool is the two-edge Lettuce Field Knife, available from Johnny’s Selected Seeds as well as a variety of other suppliers.