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Farm Viability Circles

Looking for Open Books? The Open Books program has been expanded to Farm Viability Circles!

Farm Viability* Circles support farmers by engagement in financial recordkeeping and analysis through real-world application and farmer-to-farmer conversations. Circle members learn about the basic farm financial statements, receive one-on-one support with completing annual farm financials, participate in winter workshops, and have the option to meet in small group settings on a regular basis to share business successes and challenges with other farmers. Over time, Farm Viability Circle participants will contribute to our collective understanding of the factors that contribute to economic viability and stability for non-commodity farms.

Farm Viability CirclesFarm Viability Circles are peer-directed and built on the idea that all participants have something to contribute and all participants have something to learn. Group members determine their circle’s organizing principles, membership requirements and ground rules. A farmer coordinator takes care of circle logistics, including membership, circle communication and finalizing meeting schedule and locations. During meetings, circle members share knowledge and experience and work together on financial skill-building activities.

Farm Viability Circles have three components:

  • Individual Recordkeeping & Analysis: Use your financial data to create or update three key documents, the balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement. 
  • Large Group Gatherings: All circle members gather yearly at Angelic Organics Lodge to share their circle experiences with one another, to learn from financial and business professionals, and to delve more deeply into particular topics of interest.
  • Farm Viability Circle Meetings: The mentorship circle peer-to-peer approach brings farmers together in small groups to discuss successes and challenges, to share knowledge with one another and to build new skills.

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    *Farm Viability Education is a broad subject and can include: increasing understanding of and abilities related to:  farm finance, recordkeeping, insurance, taxes, marketing, farm law, labor management, food safety, risk management, and customer service, or addressing farmer quality of life, climate change mitigation, and systemic racism in the food system. 


    Partners and Funders:

    The Farm Viability Circles program is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2019-49400-30072.