Betsy and I are headed to New Orleans next week to a cut flower conference to talk about our farm transition to Jennie so what better time for the next part in the series about our farm transition process.
The early Plan
In those weekly meetings through the summer of 2012 we talked about our needs and desires and we talked hard about money. The first thing we needed to know was how much money did Jennie need to make, what was her budget and could this tiny farm afford it and keep Betsy and me alive too? She went home and carefully calculated what her expenses were if she could live on the farm without rent, utilities and health insurance but with her school and car loans.
The number she came back with was surprisingly close to what we paid her as a part time hourly employee. We then said well let’s come up with a plan to make that additional income. Since 2000 we had been going to market only about 30 weeks a year and not growing fall or overwintered crops so Jennie came up with a crop plan for fall and winter production with estimated yields and income which showed we could cover that gap and some. We all agreed to go for it that fall and see if it could be done. These were also early tests of her thinking processes and practicality.
At the same time we worked on a five year plan and loose agreement between the three of us that outlined the general principles (and questions we needed answers to) that had come out of our meetings. The timeline was through 2016 when Betsy and I would turn 60 and in 2017 we would begin to reduce our hours in the field. It included dates for when Jennie would begin to receive various benefits and shares of stock in the corporation.
The first benefit we needed to provide was a huge one, a place for her to live on the farm. We designed a comfortable one bedroom apartment above a workshop on the other side of the farm from our house that she could be happy in for some years to come. In October we poured the foundations and started building. By July 2013, she moved onto the farm and began to receive a salary that reflected her budget. We then continued to proceed with the rest of the plan.
Yet to come becoming business partners and learning to let go…
Picture of the Week
There is more produce coming soon, really
What’s going to be at the market? Continue reading