Record keeping can be such a chore! Many farmers will tell you that good record keeping is key to making informed decisions and better understanding your business as it grows.
Well Todd Jones from Every Last Morsel, who I interviewed last month, wants to ease your angst when it comes to record-keeping. At the heart of his project is a suite of free tools for farmers. One of which is an easy to use calculator that can help farmers uncover the costs of distribution, a Farm to Market Calculator.
Here’s how it works
You start simply by adding up all your costs involved with food distribution. While it may not be the most fun task of your day, it will be worthwhile. Plus when you do it once in this tool, it will be saved and make the job much easier as items change slightly over time.
The Farm to Market Calculator provides a nice visual breakdown of your costs as they are entered. I like that it takes into account things like fuel, distances covered, your vehicle’s depreciation and insurance in addition to your market fees and labor.
Find your break-even number
And here is the magic number that you’ll see at the end of the calculator. Now of course this number is just from the sample file that you can demo. Your results will vary. Maybe you’ll find that driving all the way to that extra farmers market is not really worth the expense OR Maybe you can use it to justify finding more restaurants to deliver to on route? Either way, using this tool as a starting point, you’d be able to nail down where you stand to be most profitable in taking your goods to market.
It can even point out some other less than obvious facts!
Try out the Farm to Market Calculator for yourself
Get your copy of the Farm to Market Calculator here. The sample file is read-only but you can create a copy for yourself like so:
Just click on “File” and “Make a copy.” You’ll need to sign into Google or if you already have a Gmail account, log in there. When you make a copy, it will be stored in your Google Drive.
Turn Insights into Action
I’m not at the point where I am bringing goods to market yet, but having such a tool for planning purposes has been very useful. I can plug in numbers, locations and distances to see what a minimum break-even point would be for my farm.
I’ve spoken with a few farmers and other folks associated with agriculture to get their feedback on the profitability of farmers markets. I was somewhat surprised by the number of folks selling at farmers markets that don’t have a good handle on their costs. I think a tool like this makes keeping track of your food distribution costs easier and hopefully makes for good record-keeping habits in the future. It can also provide valuable insights you can act upon.
Give your feedback
Let us know what you think of the calculator. Todd Jones from Every Last Morsel is very keen on getting feedback for it’s future development.