Reports and Other Resources

 

Publications

The Financial Roller Coaster of Transition: Planning for the Ups and Downs is an article that appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of In Good Tilth Magazine outlining transition strategies implemented by Minnesota's Tools for Transition project farmers. "The key takeaways are that any farmer undertaking the proposed transition to organic production would need a strong balance sheet to weather the financial shortfalls of transition years and would want to work on strategies to account for lost revenues during transition through loans, conservation program funding with the Natural Resources Conservation Service or securing transition premiums with potential buyers.

Organic Transition: A Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers and Food Entrepreneurs is a decision-making tool designed to assist with the development of actionable production, marketing, human resource and finance strategies when considering the switch to organic. The Organic Transtiion Planner includes worksheets as well as three business plans developed by transitioning dairy, row crop, and vegetable farmers. Download a copy for free using the link above or contact USDA SARE for a print copy of the publication ($16): (301) 779-1007. 

 

Current and Projected Whole Farm Financial Spreadsheets.  Use the link to download an Excel file to compile current and five-year projected whole farm income and cash flow, balance sheets, inventory changes, and depreciation expenses as described in Organic Transition: A Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers and Food Entrepreneurs.

 

Making the Transition to Organic: Ten Farm Profiles features livestock, field crop, and vegetable producers who, during 2012-2015, were in the process of transitioning or who had been recently certified organic. Each profile addresses organic transition strategies (full transition, gradual transition, immediate transition, and split transition), challenges encountered, and outcomes deemed "most satisfying." Download the publication using the link above or contact MISA for a print copy of the publication: 612-625-8235 or misamail@umn.edu.

 

Farm Performance during the Transition to Organic Production: Analysis and Planning Tools Based on Minnesota Farm Record Data summarizes enterprise costs and returns and whole-farm financial performance measures collected from transitioning and recently certified organic farms in MN that were enrolled in the Farm Business Management program offered through the MN State Colleges and Universities system. It includes data for crop and dairy enterprises on participating farms under conventional, transitional, and certified management. It also includes whole farm financial performance data for participating farms prior to transition, during transition, and after certification.

 

Enterprise and Whole Farm Analysis Tables.  Use this link to download an Excel file with enterprise and whole farm analysis tables from the "Farm Performance during the Transition to Organic Production" publication. 

 

 

Farm Planning Example. Use this link to download an Excel file with data and formulas used in the farm planning example presented in the "Farm Performance during the Transition to Organic Production" publication.

 

 

Observations

"Who's Transitioning to Organic and How?" is a short document about transitioning farmers, their strategies and their motivations. Observations are based primarily on qualitative information gathered through project surveys, farm visits and conversations during the first two years of the TFT project with transitioning and recently certified farmers.

 

Surveys

The intake survey is administered to farmers at the time they agree to participate in the project. It includes questions about farmer characteristics, farming experience, business management practices, transition motivations and transition expectations. Cummulative intake survey results are reported below.

Intake survey results, updated 9.18.12

The annual survey is administered to all participating farmers in November. It includes questions about transition challenges, transition benefits, marketing strategies, business management, future expectations and Farm Business Management Program experiences. Annual survey results are reported below.

Annual survey results, 2014

Annual survey results, 2013

Annual survey results, 2012

Annual survey results, 2011

 

Presentations

Challenges in Transitioning by Rob King and Tim Delbridge

Research Findings: Who's Transitioning and How in Minnesota by Timothy A. Delbridge, Gigi DiGiacomo, and Robert P. King

Planning for Organic Transition, Minnesota Organic Conference, January 8, 2016 by Gigi DiGiacomo