It is budget time at Blandford so I’ve been thinking what next year will look like already. Sometimes it is hard to pull myself out of the hustle of this current season and think about next year, but we have to get the budget process started so it must be done. In some ways thinking about next year now is good because I have an accurate view of things that are happening on the farm now and what realistically needs to be replaced, improved, removed, or added.
The biggest item in the budget is always the CSA. It is gotten to the point where it would be hard in increase the size of the CSA because we have run out of space in the field. I could push it and add 10 more shares, but I am always nervous I am going to run out of space.
One thing I’ve been thinking about investing in that would help with the space issue is a low cost deer fence in the north field. I’ve seen some people pound in t-posts at an angle in the ground all around their field. They then string electric wire and they usually have decent success at keeping the deer out. Putting the posts at an angle confuses the deer enough that even if the top wire is 5 or 6 feet high they don’t just over. This would be much less expensive than more chain link fence. This would help keep the deer out of the corn and anything else I’d want to put up there.
Another thing I know I’ll need to invest in is new plastic for the greenhouse. The plastic on the sides and on top has a 3-4 year life span and next year will be its third season so I’d like to replace the plastic next fall before the winter. In fact, if we got it replaced at this time next year that would work out well before all the winter stuff went in.
There are a couple things I am debating for next year. One being whether I should continue to do the Wednesday market at Fulton St or go to a different market on Saturday. I’ve thought about doing the Muskegon market, Rockford, or some other market on a Saturday in stead. Another thing I’ve thought about is hiring someone who would work on the farm with me and with the education department all year. I’d love to have someone who was around for more than just a season to gain some consistency.
There are a few other little things, but what it comes down to if trying to make sure I can make enough to off sets the costs of the farm. The biggest expense is still and always will be labor so every decision I make I try to figure out how that will change the efficiency of the farm.