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Business & Economics Management

The Farmer's Office, Second Edition

Tools, Templates, and Skills for Starting, Managing, and Growing a Successful Farm Business

by (author) Julia Shanks

foreword by Jean-Martin Fortier

New Society Publishers
Initial publish date
Feb 2024
Management, Small Business, Sustainable Agriculture, Entrepreneurship
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2024
    List Price

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The no-nonsense, practical guide for farm-preneurs to grow a successful farm business – completely revised and updated

You launched your farm because you love working the land and producing food. Yet to succeed you also need to think like an entrepreneur. The Farmer's Office, Second Edition is your must-have toolkit for starting and growing a sustainable agricultural business.

Written by a consultant and entrepreneur who has supported hundreds of farm-preneurs, this essential resource is fully revised and updated to empower farmers to make sound decisions and manage their farm business for success. Topics include:

  • Detailed descriptions of accounting and business concepts
  • How to write a business plan for a new or growing venture and access financing
  • Setting up and using QuickBooks for day-to-day sales and expense tracking, as well as for more complex tasks such as budgeting, cash flow analysis, and cost accounting
  • Leveraging financial information to refine operations, improve profits, and develop strategies for growth
  • Managing debt and cash flow challenges
  • Planning for business growth and expansion
  • Adapting to external shocks and learning to pivot
  • Understanding mental blocks that can limit an entrepreneur's success.

Enhanced with detailed case studies of real farm businesses, The Farmer's Office, Second Edition is your personal business coach, providing guidance for all the business skills needed to succeed as a businessperson in a competitive and rapidly changing world.

About the authors

Julia Shanks is a chef, entrepreneur, and business consultant who provides business assistance and coaching to new and established farm and food entrepreneurs. She has an MBA in entrepreneurship and is co-author of The Farmers Market Cookbook. She lives in Cambridge, MA.

Julia Shanks' profile page

Jean-Martin Fortier and his wife Maude-Helene Desroches are the founders of Les Jardins de la Grelinette, an internationally recognized micro-farm famous for its high productivity-profitability using low-tech, high-yield methods of production. A leading practitioner of biologically intensive cropping systems, Jean-Martin has more than a decade's worth of experience in mixed organic farming. He has written articles about his work for popular magazines such as Canadian Organic Grower, La Terre de Chez Nous and Growing for Market. He also contributes occasionally as a tool and equipment advisor for companies such as Johnny's Selected Seeds and Dubois Agrinovation. The original French language version of this book, Le Jardinier-Maraicher, released in Fall 2012, has sold more than 15,000 copies.

Jean-Martin Fortier's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Filled with excellent, real-life examples, this is the best book I've seen on the business side of running a small farm. Written by someone who clearly has first-hand experience and understands how market farmers think, The Farmer's Office clearly illustrates the ups and downs and ins and outs of making the dream financially sustainable. This is a great book for both farmers just starting out, and experienced farmers looking to improve their businesses.
—Josh Volk, Slow Hand Farm

This book will guide you from setting up your farm, to how to make tough business decisions when things aren't going so great, and to scaling up when things take off again. Whether you love spreadsheets or barely tolerate them, you should read The Farmer's Office!
—Dan Brisebois, the Farmer Spreadsheet Academy, host, The Seed Growers Podcast, farmer, Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm

Every farmer aspiring to sharpen their business management skills should have this book in their toolbox. This latest edition offers a comprehensive overview of what to track, how to use data to make decisions and, most importantly, how to move forward with a minimum of pain and anxiety. All of which is illustrated with updated case studies of real farmers confronting real business challenges and figuring it out.
—Mary L. Peabody, business coach, University of Vermont Extension professor emeritus

This comprehensive guide, filled with detailwwed graphs, spreadsheets, and charts, offers a clear pathway to mastering your finances and truly comprehending your farming enterprise. This isn't just another business book, it's a farming financial masterclass.
—Michael Kilpatrick, farmer, The Farm on Central, educator, Growing Farmers

If you're dreaming of starting a farm, then The Farmer's Office just became your first official "must read." I wish this book had existed thirty years ago when I started farming.
—Forrest Pritchard, NYT bestselling author, Gaining Ground

Julia's second edition is even better than the first. In addition to all its critically important and usable information, and its many new chapters, she's added an easy-to-use guide to help you decide what chapters are most important for where your business is now.
—Dorothy Suput, founder, The Carrot Project

Whenever I encounter a struggling farmer, I send them off to read Julia Shanks's book. This is a must-read for anyone working in agriculture.
—Lennie Larkin, author, Flower Farming For Profit

Farmers of every level of experience will find valuable ideas in this book.
—Ellen Polishuk, Plant to Profit, author, Start Your Farm

Julia Shanks's new edition of The Farmer's Office gives us vital tools that can help new as well as old and experienced farmers survive, evolve, and hopefully thrive!
—Brett Grohsgal, owner/farmer, Even' Star Farm, co-author, The Farmers Market Cookbook

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