I haven’t abandoned The Farming Frontier. Like all of you, life changed very quickly after my last blog. It keeps changing daily. I work from home for the time being. In light of the global pandemic of COVID-19 and the numerous states of emergencies across the country, I wanted to try and put together my guide to farming when nothing is certain anymore.
These are my suggestions as a Canadian farmer but also as a CPA who sees a lot of numbers. It’s taken me about a week to adjust to what is now my new normal and I hope these help you regardless of where you are in your farming journey.
If you are finding yourself with some spare time as a result of the various shut-downs, learning new skills is a great way to occupy your mind.
First off, the Cornell Small Farms Program is offering your choice of one of their courses for free until the end of April. This offer expires at noon on Friday, March 27, 2020. Even if you are reading this blog after that, Cornell has some wonderful courses that I recommend you check out.
If a full course is not entirely for you, there are plenty of other learning options. I can vouch that parcels are still being delivered so here’s my recommended reading list:
- THE RESILIENT FARM AND HOMESTEAD by Ben Falk
- The entire list from the Canadian Sheep Federation as well as their virtual toolbox (Basically if you want to raise sheep, start here)
- Silvopasture by Steve Gabriel
- Stay up to date with news from RealAgriculture
- The Cattle Health Handbook by Heather Smith Thomas is excellent for anyone involved in beef or dairy
- Any of the “Storey’s Guide To” books are a great read if you’re trying to learn about any kind of livestock
- If you want to start milking goats, this free PDF guide is excellent. It is an American resource but still valuable
Spend some time in the office
You didn’t think I’d write these suggestions without the word “budget,” did you? I still numbers and budgets, especially in this time of uncertainty. Read The Budget Primer and Scenario Planning if you are not sure where to go. As always, the resources on the homepage will also help you polish up your business plan.
I would suggest spending some serious time looking at various financial scenarios. Nobody knows what the next week will bring right now, nevermind 6 months from now when it comes to pricing. I will dive deeper into this subject in the coming weeks but let’s just say we’re all in the same boat (with proper physical distancing being observed of course) and the waters could get a bit choppy. You can spend some of this time at home:
- Updating your budget
- Plotting out your cash flow for the next 6 months to a year
- Cleaning up your herd records
- Adjusting your farm business plan
If you need any help with any of the above, please reach out, I’d be happy to help.
Connect with your family
Above all, take care of yourself. Mental health is so important at any time but especially now. If going into your office is going to cause you sleepless nights, take a walk around your property. Log onto YouTube/Netflix and watch some videos, my recommendations are:
- Weston Champlin if you want awesome redneck truck repairs
- Sandi Brock if you like sheep
- Millennial Farmer for the croppers
- Red Green for comic relief
- Yoga with Adriene for your fitness boost
This is probably the one time where getting lost in the vortex of Pinterest instead of Facebook and Instagram is a good thing. Try out some new recipes or one of those DIY projects you’ve dreamed of for a while. There are so many things you can do at home, including all of the things you’ve been putting off for the last year.
Remember I’m pulling for you… keep your stick on the ice.Red Green