Agricultural Technology Platforms and Software to Manage Risks
Technology exists to solve agricultural challenges and manage business risks, yet the landscape of available options can be confusing and overwhelming. Which technology solution or software application is right for my farm? Is the cost worth the investment? How much time and management will I need to invest to see a return on my time or money? Join us to gather insight into these questions through a series of 12 educational workshops featuring experienced farmers, software developers, agricultural technology companies, and agricultural service providers. Workshops will provide risk management solutions to help address:
- legal risk (farmland access and tenure tools)
- production risk (field and yield tracking systems)
- financial risk (record-keeping, sales integration, and enterprise analysis)
- marketing risk (online sales and customer management systems)
Workshops will feature software demonstrations by leading technology platforms alongside local farmers providing user testimonials and 1:1 advising. Technology risk management decision-making tools, workshop recordings, and a fact sheet series with producer case studies will be posted here as the series unfolds.
Legal Risk Management Workshops
- November 11, 2021 - 6 - 7:30 PM: Legal Considerations for Expanding your Farm Business (Farm Commons and Conservation Law Foundation's Legal Food Hub - legal services and resources)
- November 18, 2021 - 6 - 7:30 PM: Financial Readiness to Acquire Farmland (Mortgage Builder Tool and and Financial Calculators)
- December 2, 2021 - 6 - 7:30 PM: Lease Building to Acquire Farmland (Build-A-Lease Tool)
Financial Risk Management Workshops
- December 9, 2021 - 6 - 7:30 PM: Tracking Financial Data (Record-keeping Tools and Software: FarmOS, Farmbrite)
- December 16, 2021 - 6 - 7:30 PM: From Excel to Quickbooks (Financial Software Tools and Analysis)
- January 6, 2022 - 6 - 7:30 PM: Using Point-of-Sale (POS) Data for Financial Management (Sales software and applications)
Production Risk Management Workshops
- January 13, 2022 - 6 - 7:30 PM: Keeping Production Records for Enterprise Budgeting (Record-keeping tools and software: Tend, FarmOS)
- January 20, 2022 - 6 - 7:30 PM: Keeping Records for Soil Health and Organic Certification (Record-keeping tools and software)
Marketing Risk Management Workshops
- February 3, 2022 - 6 - 7:30 PM: Which E-Commerce Platform is Right for Me? A farmer and Food Hub panel of practitioners sharing pro's and cons of E-Commerce platforms and experiences from the field.
- February 10, 2022 - 6 - 7:30 PM: Navigating E-Commerce Platforms: An Introduction to GrownBy and Food4All.
- February 17, 2022 - 6 - 7:30 PM: Navigating E-Commerce Platforms: An Introduction to Barn2Door and Local Food Marketplace.
- February 24, 2022 - 6 - 7:30 PM: Navigating E-Commerce Platforms: An Introduction to Forager and Farm Drop.
Upon registration, a Zoom link and pre-assessment questionnaire will be sent to join the workshop. After the workshop, a post-session assessment will be sent to help us capture results of the workshop on improving your farm business.
All workshop recordings, presenter resource materials, and fact sheets will be posted to this webpage following the workshops.
- Farm Commons Website – legal resources for farmers, including videos, articles, books, podcasts, and resource guides - to have all-access pass to all the amazing publications they provide, you can join as a farmer member for $99/year with a 2-week free trial
- Legal Food Hub Website – and check out their Resource Library for additional documents and educational information
- Pace Law School – Food and Beverage legal clinics; they also have a Farm to School Legal Toolkit for farmers in NY on their website.
- FLAG (Farmers Legal Action Group) – a nonprofit law center that provides legal services and support to family farmers; they have a lot of resources on their website and have informative guides to disaster assistance services
- Agricultural Mediation Programs –the USDA makes grants to state entities to support agricultural mediation services and there are agricultural mediation service available in each state. Here is a link to a USDA fact sheet from 2018 that lists the various state programs.
Finding and Financing Farmland Workshop - LINK TO: November 18, 2021 Workshop Recording
- Presentation from Land For Good
- Toolbox/Resources for Farm Seekers – a resource page for searching for farmland
- Farm Access Methods – A Decision Guide (walks through various farm access methods)
- Identifying Farm Search Priorities (necessary, desirable, optional)
- New England Farmland Finder – regional listings site that posts farmland opportunities; you can subscribe to receive notifications of new properties.
- Google My Maps – how to assess acreage of properties of interest; Land For Good developed a Google My Maps tutorial on how to develop and measure acreage maps.
- Web Soil Survey – an online tool to determine soil types, topography/slopes, and characteristics of the land and soil.
- UC Davis Soil Web – user-friendly online tool about soil data; Land For Good developed a tutorial on the UC Davis Soil Web.
- Acquiring your Farm online tutorial
- Build a Lease Tool (see our December 2 session!)
- Guide for Landowners
- Presentation by Mike Parker showcasing resources from National Young Farmers’ Coalition
- Finding Farmland Course – contains 9 online lessons for finding farmland; each lessons has readings, interviews, and walk-throughs of various resources (videos), and resource links (course is available in English and Spanish)
- Farm Real Estate Transactions Step-by-Step – guide walks through the purchasing of farmland process
- USDA Farm Service Agency Loan Guide – discusses each of the USDA FSA loan programs including the farm and home loan program
- Land Trust Alliance – provides links to land trusts across the country who may support farmland access
- Land Link Directory (2019) – a guide to land linking programs across the country
- Finding Farmland (Mortgage) Calculator – an online tool that helps walk through a purchase of farmland with built in features that explore loans, lease options, and other decision factors.
- Suggested Business Planning Resources (from Q&A)
- New Entry Sustainable Farming Project offers an 8-week online Farm Business Planning Course (next up in January 2022)
- The Carrot Project offers business planning trainings and resources
- AgPlan is an online farm business plan development tool
- Grazecart – is an online sales platform (direct mail order e-commerce) for producers, but they also have a blog, a “Grazecast”/Podcast”, and offer business advice and online trainings.
- CSA Innovation Network –They host a CSA Idea’s Lab to support development of CSA business models, they also have a video series and resources
- The Farmers’ Office Online Training – offers a full lineup of video courses around running a profitable business
- Search for a FSA Certified Borrow Training Program (there are many of them across the country – including New Entry, Carrot, and Farmers’ Office)
- Presentation from Land For Good
Lease Building to Acquire Farmland Workshop - LINK TO: December 2, 2021 Workshop Recording
- Presentation on Leasebuilding by Land For Good
- Toolbox/Resources for Farm Seekers – a resource page for farm seekers
- Farm Access Methods – A Decision Guide (walks through various farm access methods, including leasing)
- Lease to Own Guide – reviews strategies for lease to own arrangements
- Elements of a Good Farm Lease – considerations for what needs to be included in a farm lease
- Plain Language Lease Outline - (word document attached)
- Land For Good’s Build-A-Lease Tool – can help walk you through all sections of the lease document
- Legal Food Hub – support for income-eligible farmers to get legal support on developing lease agreements
Recordkeeping Made Easy: Tracking Financial Data through Online Platforms to Manage Risk workshop - LINK TO: December 9, 2021 Workshop Recording
- The Carrot Project (Jeff Cole)
- The Carrot Project website: https://www.thecarrotproject.org/ which contains information on their programs and also has recorded webinars and financial templates to download
- Workshops and Trainings
- Loan Programs
- 1:1 Business Coaching and Technical Assistance
- Slides from Jeff’s presentation (attached)
- FarmOS (Michael Stenta)
- FarmOS - https://farmOS.org and visit the user group of other farmers using the software: https://farmOS.discourse.gro
- Farmier.com - https://farmier.com/signup Hosting service and signup for Version 1 of FarmOS and soon will be upgraded to Version 2
- GOAT (Gathering for Open Agricultural Technology) - http://goatech.org/ Global cooperation and coordination group around software and hardware technology in agriculture.
- Open TEAM (Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management) - https://openteam.community/ A farmer-driven consortium collaborating on tools to provide and share knowledge around soil health
- Open Collective - https://opencollective.com/ An “open source” online and transparent platform that accepts donations and sponsorships and can fund particular projects – also offers fiscal host options [Can contribute to the FarmOS/Farmier support services here]
- Open Food Network USA - https://openfoodnetwork.net/ Another open source community to focus on distribution side; supports Food Hubs and connecting producers and consumers
- Farmbrite (Janine Russell)
- Farmbrite – www.farmbrite.com – is a full service platform that can help track tasks, livestock, crops, resources, contacts/customer base/vendors, farm maps, accounting/financial data, and connect to your e-commerce platform hosted by Farmbrite to manage your marketing orders and invoices (uses Stripe as payment processor – can create QR code for customers to scan with phone and pay online).
- For integration with tax preparation, the program offers links to TaxJar and Avalara (if producer has accounts set up with them)
- New Customer Discount: Janine is offering attendees of the workshop a discount code if you are interested in subscribing to their platform, use l0ZMUiu2 at checkout.
- Slides from Janine’s presentation (attached)
- Rich Faucher – learn more about Faucher Farms based in Northern Shannandoah (VA, WVA, MD, PA) of Virginia.
Excel to Quickbooks Workshop - LINK TO: December 16, 2021 Workshop Recording
- Spreadsheet Options
- Accounting Software Options
- Support for Quickbooks setup and technical assistance in Massachusetts:
- The Carrot Project – support agricultural businesses break down financial barriers and supports technical assistance
- CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) – upcoming class on getting up Quickbooks (cost=$50)
- MDAR (Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources) – if you get a grant with them, you often get technical assistance through their farm viability consultants
- Berkshire Agricultural Ventures – supports business assistance and low interest loans to farmers in Berkshires
- For outside of Massachusetts – reach out to Jennifer Hashley at New Entry for potential referrals
- Other Resources
Using POS Data to Manage Financial Risks Workshop: LINK TO: January 6, 2022 Workshop Recording
- Square POS App – not just a “credit card machine” but a robust and free data collection tool (fees are only for credit card processing fees)
- LeRoux, Matthew; Schmit, Todd. “Electronic Point of Sale Systems Bring New Opportunities to Improve Sales for Farmers Market Vendors.” Smart Marketing. Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University. (2020): 4pp
- Modernizing your Farm Sales with Mobile Point-of-Sales Systems – publication by Grown NYC. Features a comparison charge of various POS services such as: Square, Shopkeep, Infotouch, Mobile Market Register, Revel, Clover, and NRC Silver Basic (attached)
- Local Line – online e-commerce platform for selling local food online
- Toast – a POS system more geared to the restaurant industry; has decent interface for self-serve check out terminals; can be adapted for farm stands/retail operations
- ECRS – self-checkout terminals / POS for retail operations with scale integration and accepts SNAP/EBT transactions.
Thank you to our Sponsors!
This project, titled, “Supporting Producers to Manage Risks through Online and Novel Software Technology Applications,” is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28588.