Farm Labor Policies, Pricing, and Local Fair Trade
For a farm to be sustainable, the farm needs a steady, well-trained labor force and the products of the farm must bring a price in the marketplace that covers the cost of production, plus a living wage for the farmer, money to do repairs and maintenance, to pay for continuing education for the farm staff, and to make improvements to the farm. Many family-scale organic farmers have the best intentions, but under the day-to-day pressures of farming, do not take the time to learn all the relevant laws and regulations, and to document their well-intentioned practices. The purpose of this workshop is to provide the concrete information and documentation a farmer needs to live up to the claim of social justice.
Creating an Effective Workforce For Your Farm
9 a.m. - Noon
All workers have the right to safe working conditions, just treatment, and fair compensation.
Elizabeth Henderson and Robert Hadad will help you think through labor policies for your farm including employees and interns. They will share templates for policies, job descriptions with clear expectations, contracts and safety training, and provide information on New York State legalities governing pay rates, insurance, other forms of compensation, and housing. They will stress the importance of establishing a process for conflict resolution. Attendees will receive a copy of the Agricultural Justice Project Tool-Kit.
Getting a Fair Price that Covers Your Farm’s Production Costs Plus a Reasonable Profit
12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
You cannot get a fair price if you do not develop your skills in calculating your costs of production, understanding the difference between fixed and variable costs, and set up a simple but thorough system for documenting expenses and revenues and generating the data you need. A solid grounding in your farm's finances can also serve as the basis for effective negotiations with buyers. Elizabeth will present an overview of the importance of value-based goals for your farm’s economics, and Robert will review and analyze existing training programs and demonstrate some of the tools from Richard Wiswall's The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops and Staff – and Making a Profit (Chelsea Green, 2009) and Brian Caldwell's new spread sheets for calculating crop production costs and revenues.
The workshop will conclude with a discussion of money issues for farms – can we afford to pay more than minimum wage to workers? What happens if the state requires time and a half for overtime? How can we get prices that allow us to cover costs and provide a decent benefits package for ourselves and our workers? Can local trade become fair trade? Would a fair trade add-on to organic certification help market your farm's products? Please come ready to share your farm’s numbers and to talk!
Cost: $30 ($25 NOFA-NY members), includes a light lunch and a copy of Richard Wiswall's The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook
Please RSVP by Friday, March 26 to:
Cornell Vegetable Program Fresh Market Specialist
4487 Lake Ave.
Lockport, NY 14094
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 
Phone: (585) 739-4065
If you include your e-mail, you will receive an electronic copy of the Agricultural Justice Project Tool-Kit, a guide to good farm labor policies.