How to Create Cash Flow Early In the Season Using a CSA Program (GFL43)

When you start a farm, what’s one of the most important things that you need to do…

Hint… it’s not growing the food…

It’s selling the food that you do grow.

I hear this time and time again from seasoned farmers, and I most recently heard it from a long time USDA loan agent when she said… “Growing is the easy part. In California we can grow almost any crop, the hard part is selling that crop.”

Biology supports that. Plants and animals are genetically pre-programmed to grow and reproduce. As much as we think that we need to be involved, in a large way, we are just ushering along biology.

And for many people it’s the growing of food or the raising of livestock that’s the fun part. Not the selling or the marketing.

But without the selling and marketing and cash flow coming in, you’re not a farmer, you are homesteader or a gardener, there’s simply no business.

Given that it’s critical to get some cash flow going right away when you start the business..

One way to do that, is to pre-sell some of your product, even before you raise it, through a CSA.

That’s what we’re talking about today..

Darby’s going to be sharing his experiences and insights running a chicken CSA. It’s a program that brings in a lot of cash early in the season when a lot of cash is going out of the business to pay expenses. Overall the program has worked well, and his business wouldn’t be the same without it…

Let’s get into it… How to Create Cash Flow Early In the Season or The Business Using a CSA Program…

Darby’s Chicken CSA:

  • One big advantage of a bulk program is that it brings in a large amount of cash early in the season.
    • Cash deposit on sign up (Feb/March), balance due on first pickup (end of May).
  • CSA is essential a loan from your customers – they pay you in advance for the product.
  • Big advantage to selling this way is not having to go to the farmers market to sell the product.
  • As disadvantage is that you may have to offer a discount for selling in bulk which cuts into your margins.
  • Could also incentivize people to join by giving them a discount on other products when they pick up their product.
    • This could also bring in some extra sales.
  • One bulk program helps to identify other customers who might be interested in these programs for other meats.


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Interested in transitioning into full or part-time farming?

If so, then check out Darby’s Farm Business Essentials 3 Day Intensive Workshop

Do you want to transition into livestock farming on a part-time or full-time basis? 

Or are you currently farming, but it’s stressful and challenging to manage the farm and life?

Or are you currently farming, but you are struggling to make the enterprise profitable or generate enough on farm income to farm full time?

The Farm Business Essentials Intensive was created to help addresses those concerns and challenges.

In this three day workshop we will take an in-depth look at where you are currently at, where you want to go, what do you need to put in place to get there, and what are some of the next action steps to turn the ideas into reality.

The workshop will take place on March 2-4, 2017 outside Indianapolis, Indiana.


Connect with Darby Simpson

Simpson Family Farm

Simpson Family Farm on Facebook

Have questions for Darby? He does consulting…

Whether you are simply someone looking to raise some or all of your own meat on a homestead, or are looking to follow your dreams of full time farming Darby can help you be a success and reach your goals. Your one on one consultation is tailored to fit you – not anyone else. It’s all about your farm enterprise or homestead, and will answer your questions on a myriad of farming related subjects. LEARN MORE.


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