Heart and Grain: Big farms require big equipment. And lots of money.

By Andrew Barsness Along with blood, sweat, and tears, farming requires a significant financial investment, and grain farming is one of the most capital-intensive types of farming. To support a small family, a grain farmer typically needs hundreds of acres of land, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in machinery and infrastructure, and an equally large amount of cash to cover annual costs like seed, fertilizer, fuel, and repairs. It is common... Read More

Heart and Grain: Meet Andrew

By Andrew Barsness Before the spring of 2011, the idea of becoming a farmer was completely foreign to me. Now I know that there is nothing that I would rather do for a living. I grew up in Central Minnesota, almost two hours north of my late grandparents’ 280-acre grain farm. During visits to the farm when I was young, I would occasionally help my grandfather with simple tasks that would otherwise take him a long time to do alone. This was the... Read More

Free Finances and Management Worksheet for New Farms

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has put out a management and finances worksheet for organic farmers to test where they stand, entitled “Organic Farmers: Steps to Success.”  The tool first takes you through a series of questions on management skills and personal qualities needed to run the business so that you can see what needs improvement.  Under the financial side, it breaks down the details of the business’s financial... Read More

Organic farming profits improve in Minnesota in 2010

The profitability of organic farms in Minnesota improved in 2010 after a tough year in 2009, according to a new report by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).  The median organic farmer received an income of $62,463 in 2010, which was more than six times the median income in 2009 and consistent with those in 2007 and 2008. Likewise, in 2010 the debt repayment capacity of organic farmers bounced back.  In 2009 Minnesota organic farms only... Read More