Half-Million Dollar Market Farming and Dangerous Opinions – Carrot Cashflow Episode 35


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Episode Summary


n this episode of Carrot Cashflow, host Diego starts off with Seeding Thoughts and talks about the importance of being informed and educated about the things most relevant—and important—to us: health, finances, fitness, relationships, and so on. Don’t just take a single person’s advice and treat it as a panacea right from the get-go. Be better informed before making decisions, especially when that decision will have a huge impact on your life.

Afterwards, Ian Jerolmack of Stonecipher Farm talks about his farming journey, from the challenges he faced in his first year of farming, to the things he wishes he had known sooner, to insights on how to retain great high-impact employees, and finally to how he was able to build a farming business that grosses over half a million dollars annually.

Lastly, Diego closes off the episode with Listener Q&A, weighing on whether to focus on lowering expenses or raising prices, and finally, a Drunk Idea that addresses driver-to-driver communication while on the road.

Today’s Guest: Ian Jerolmack

Ian Jerolmack is the owner of Stonecipher Farm in Bowdoinham, Maine. After dreaming of a farming life since childhood, his farming journey began with buying several acres of wooded land in 2008. Having gradually converted his plot of land into a viable hub of food production, Stonecipher Farm now steadily proved fresh, organic produce in Maine while employing eight full-time employees and grossing well over five hundred thousand dollars a year.

Relevant Links

            Stonecipher Farm – Website | Facebook

In this episode of Carrot Cashflow

  • Sell Everything You Grow: How to Choose a Business Model to Maximize Sales for a Farm or Homestead (2023) by Diego Footer (00:26)
  • Seeding Thoughts: Be informed and educated in things that are most relevant to you (01:44)
  • Ian Jerolmack introduces himself and Stonecipher Farm (24:00)
  • The initial motivation to start up a farm (24:31)
  • Farms that served as inspiration for Stonecipher Farm (25:45)
  • Practices that seemed like good ideas at the time (27:40)
    • Planting fruit trees ASAP (27:57)
    • Keep an eye on your finances (28:37)
  • Were there any doubts that the farm wasn’t going to work out financially? (30:48)
  • What Ian Jerolmack’s crazy first year of farming looked like (31:41)
  • What got Ian Jerolmack through the challenges of the first year of farming (32:37)
  • First year of farming in hindsight: thoughts and sales (34:27)
  • The point where the numbers show the promise of success (36:58)
  • Five years into farming: Ian Jerolmack’s advice for the new farmer (38:10)
  • How to think about hiring help on the farm (41:19)
  • Is there a way to lose money on hired labor? (46:27)
    • Labor costs vs. returns from hired labor (48:22)
    • The work and expense that go into hiring labor (49:51)
  • What $50/hour of work looks like for a farm owner (51:38)
  • Work that a successful farm owner should hire away (54:53)
    • Workers doing entry level tasks will go on to do bigger things (56:04)
    • $15/hour jobs vs. $50/hour jobs (57:45)
  • The work that makes the most impact on the business (59:56)
  • Hiring out a farm foreman or manager that manages other employees (01:03:37)
    • Don’t create ceilings for your employees—accidentally or not (01:05:51)
  • What a business owner can do to keep employees (01:07:55)
  • Acreage and whether or not to expand production space (01:09:03)
  • How profitable is Stonecipher Farm? (01:16:18)
  • Aiming to increase sales while farming on smaller land (01:19:30)
  • Where Stonecipher Farm will be in its 20th year (01:22:33)
  • Where to find Ian Jerolmack and Stonecipher Farm (01:25:22)
  • LISTENER Q&A: Which to focus on: lower expenses or raise prices? (01:27:18)
    • Two ways to bring in more income (01:27:40)
  • DRUNK IDEAS: Dual Display Screens for Cars (01:39:51)

Subscribe to Carrot Cashflow in your favorite podcast player:

iTunes | Spotify

Check Out My Book: Ready Farmer One: The Farmers’ Guide to Create, Design, and Market an Online Farm Store (2022) by Diego Footer & Nina Galle

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Arielle Roxas

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