Howdy permies! I am taking HMI's getting started financial planning course. I am a beginning woman farmer and it is awesome! The only downside is that the online class doesn't seem to connect student to student very well, so I'm sharing the Discussion portion on here. Maybe someone will benefit from hearing the story.
1. Do you know what your net worth is?
Yes. I calculate the whole of my personal and professional net worth maybe 3 times a year as a monitoring device. I just didn’t know it was called net worth until this course. It’s steady at around $30,000.
I do not know what the farm’s net worth is.
2. Have you looked at the big picture issues about what is holding back your operation from more profitability or sustainability?
So, the answer is yes. I am working with one other person and we have had some really productive discussions about what is holding this operation back. We’ll call him Farm Guy cuz that’s what I called him on the webinar. I’ve been working with Farm Guy for maybe 5 years: we started out working at a permaculture project in Thailand, and have gone on to teach several design courses together in Texas and California. A couple years ago he got handed a sizeable piece of land to manage permanently. His main enterprise was teaching and consulting. During an HMI course he took early in the year, he determined that the inputs necessary to get the income for teaching and consulting would render him utterly bankrupt in time & motivation and wouldn’t have any energy for the land, which would decidedly take him away from the quality of life he desired.
My personal and professional life are wholes unto themselves, and I manage them appropriately. A big adverse factor for me is that my income is based on multiple income streams that are both seasonal and cross-continental. This means I can only be around to support Farm Guy at certain times. He identified his log jam (not jams hah!), as the lack of a team. I am doing what I can but the conflict is thus:
The story of little red hen
Little red hen has a bunch of seeds. She goes around to all her friends and says, “Hey guys! I have all these seeds! Let’s plant them together!”
The friends reply, “That’s great, little red, but we’re busy so maybe later.”
So little red hen goes and plants the seeds. Seeds come up all mighty and strong and again little red hen goes around to all her friends and says, “Wow! Look at all this abundance! Shouldn’t we gather it all?”
The friends reply, “Sure looks awesome, maybe we’ll join you in a bit.”
So little red hen goes and harvests and collects herself a mighty bundle of grain.
“Gosh! This is a lot of grain,” she says to her friends, “Do you think you could help me grind it?”
“Ay ay ay, little red,” the friends groaned, “right now is not a great time.”
So little red hen grinds and grinds and grinds until she has a mountain of flour. She kneeds and mixes and bakes until the sun is low in the sky. Suddenly over the whole farm wafts a wonderful unique warm fluffy smell. All the friends immediately stop and come wondering after this incredible aroma until they find little red hen.
“Little Red” They cry, “that smells amazing! Might we have some?”
Little red hen shruggs and shakes her head, “Ay, friends, I don’t think that’s possible, I’m so busy eating all this wonderful bread!”
What is the morale to the story?
The way I see it, Farm Guy has many seeds of possibilty on the land, but I am looking for the bread of economic stability. And it’s just not here yet. The corn we’re growing, if we sold it at fair market value (which is way below what it cost to produce), even as a value added product!, I will be lucky to make 20 cents an hour. It’s hard to put faith in something that seems like such a big risk.
Part of my goal in taking this course is to fill in the information to be able to make a good decision about the future. To make a plan where the number work, and everyone’s needs are met.
A wop bop a lu bob a womp bam boom. Tutti frutti ad: