Farm Profitability is a Community Value

Managers that develop profitable businesses have a great potential to make positive impact in the community. How? By running a profitable business that can create stable jobs in your communities.  In an era of business planning and holistic goals managers are encouraged to consider the many non-financial aspects of the farm. Family quality of life, natural resource issues and community impacts are included in the visioning process for the business. Job creation often gets lost in this conversation.

While many farms  have a long list of community and environmental goals, it can be discouraging to see the assumed disconnect between making good money and achieving community goals. There is inherent risks of injury and fatigue on the farm. This presents a clear incentive to lay out the business with the intention to create equitable, safe, sustainable and legal employment opportunities. So why is there still so much “under-the table”, long hours and uninsured workers on farms….money!

Here is a list of benefits I have witnessed when goals for profitability have been achieved in order to implement improved job creation.

  1. The right division of labor allows owners to spend more time managing the business to ensure continued success.
  2. Appropriate workers compensation coverage protects workers in the case of injury and time lost away from work.
  3. Retention strategies to move employees up to better paying or year round positions. Retraining new apprentices/interns  (both still considered  “employees” in the eyes of labor and tax law) or staff can be costly and slow.
  4. Even 22 year olds hope to retire at some point, payroll taxes put money in their future social security payment.
  5. More people become invested in the community through involvement, use of services and housing. And more staff to organize those great community events on the farm!

Get to it, set a clear focus on profitability and the community value of job creation will follow.

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About Mark Cannella

Mark is a farm business management specialist with UVM Extension based in Berlin, VT. He specializes in business planning, farm financial analysis and agricultural economics.
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