通过农贸市场销售农产品的蔬菜best365官网登录, CSA项目, best365官网登录商店, and other direct-market channels are the foundation of local food movements everywhere. Yet there is surprisingly little information available to help answer a basic question: Can farmers make a middle-class income selling vegetables through direct-market outlets?
We launched an ongoing study in 2017 to help fill this critical gap in information and provide insights that could help vegetable farmers start and grow their businesses. 我们的 新报告 offers the most comprehensive review of direct-market vegetable farm businesses to date, sharing detailed financial benchmarks from 39 farms collected over three years.
Participating farms were located in four Mid-Atlantic states: Pennsylvania, 马里兰, 维吉尼亚州, 和西维吉尼亚州. Most had less than 15 acres in vegetables production; the largest had approximately 100. Farms studied had been in business for anywhere between one and 50 years.
我们的 findings were consistent with structural challenges that negatively impact small- and medium-scale farms in a highly consolidated agriculture industry. 换句话说:它们发人深省.
We found that the majority of direct-market vegetable farms were not earning a middle-class income. 参与best365官网登录的净收入中位数为18美元,500, which approximates the 2020 poverty rate in Pennsylvania for a two-person household. 进一步, the net incomes of more than 70% of the farms in our study were less than half the median net income for all Pennsylvania farms, 其中包括乳制品吗, 中耕作物, 及蔬菜批发业务.
我们确实发现一些best365官网登录逆流而上. A quarter of study participants had earned net incomes greater than the Pennsylvania median household annual income of $57,000. These farms tended to be larger in scale than many market-garden-style farms—typically, ten acres or more in vegetable production—and often capitalized on diversifying their revenue streams, with reselling products produced by other local farms proving to be one of the more profitable added enterprises.
值得注意的是, 然而, many of the owners of these high-performing farms partially attributed their success to good fortune, such as access to especially lucrative markets or reliable farmland arrangements.
We also found that farms steadily increased income and equity over time, 一般来说，他们经营的时间越长，利润就越高. Most farms’ net incomes exceeded the Pennsylvania median household income within 12 years of business, 同时积累土地权益, 建筑, 与此同时还有设备.
Interestingly, no single direct-market channel consistently outperformed all others. We found that all of the major sales channels utilized by farms in the study—farmers markets, 辅导, 而直接批发——有高收入和低收入的混合案例. For farmers wondering whether or not to focus on selling their produce through particular direct-market channels, this finding indicates there isn’t a one-size-fits-all business model for financial success.
We identified three primary pathways for improving direct-market incomes: (1) increasing the number of acres in vegetable production; (2) growing more and higher-value crops per acre; and (3) developing more efficient production systems. 仍然, 这片土地, 劳动, and capital needed to pursue these strategies may be out of reach for farmers who are operating at a loss or aren’t earning a living wage.
而所有的农民都希望经营有利可图, 自我维持的企业, the financial benchmarks identified by our study are consistent with industry structural challenges that negatively impact small- and medium-scale farms. Creating and expanding public and private programs and partnerships will be necessary to help direct-market vegetable farmers continue their essential work providing fresh, 为他们的社区提供营养食物.
These programs and partnerships should focus on equitably increasing farmland access, 改善市场机会, 鼓励员工发展, 降低财务风险, 并奖励保护最佳做法，如建立土壤健康, 保护野生动物, 及改善水质.
我们的金融基准best365官网登录正在进行中. 自从我们在新报告中详细收集调查结果以来, we’ve partnered with peer organizations in New England (Community Involved in Sustainable Agriculture) and the Carolinas (Carolina Farm Stewardship Association) to expand the scope of our study to include data from vegetable farms located outside of the Mid-Atlantic region. We will also be analyzing the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on study participants.
我们的 Financial Benchmarks Study was initially made possible with investments from Lady Moon Farms, 杰瑞·布鲁内蒂一家, 肖恩·瑟雷一家, and more than 120 private donors committed to strengthening local and regional food systems. Additional support was provided by a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant and a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture best365官网登录 Grant.
If you are a direct-market vegetable farmer and are interested in joining this study, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participating farms get custom financial benchmark reports and access to a learning community of their peers.