We are David and Alyssa of Plenty Wild Farms – we are part of the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network and are working with Chris Bodnar, our mentor from Close to Home Organics.
We feel incredibly fortunate to receive mentorship support – thank you Young Agrarians! The primary goal for our mentorship this season is to prepare Plenty Wild Farms for the birth of our first child in June (model timing, am I right?). In a normal season, Alyssa works full-time on the farm – in the field managing day-to-day operations, at a desk bookkeeping and on the road marketing. Frankly, her absence terrifies the both of us. Cue the sensational Chris Bodnar!
With Chris’ help we are looking at ways to buffer ourselves from a potential shortage in labour and income. And before I proceed, and without rewriting this blog, I should have mentioned the other actions we are taking this year. They include: stop raising pigs, discontinue our CSA program, start a market share program, drop one farmers’ market, pick up a mid-week farmers’ market, open a staffed farm stand, hire one additional staff (to fill-in for Alyssa), finance a small tractor, and plant a small apple orchard.
So far, our first steps with Chris have been to quantify these changes and forecast our gross income for 2017. Because we see these changes as a means to streamline our operation and marketing, we are ultimately willing to exchange a small decrease in sales for an overall increase in efficiency.
All said and done, it’s gonna be a tight one. To create a little wiggle room, Chris has helped us explore different borrowing options and what we’d need in order to apply – likesay that illusive business plan. So it is that, entering our fifth year of operation, we finally got ‘er done! Be that as it may, we applied and qualified for a line of credit that didn’t ultimately require a business plan…
Wish us luck and we’ll let you know how the season goes!
Also, if anyone has any good baby-raising-whilst-farming tips we’d love to hear them 🙂
2015, 2016, & 2017 Funding for the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network Pilot is provided in part by Vancity, Salt Spring Coffee, Rotary Hastings Sunrise, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.