We’re coming out of the dead of winter. The days are longer. Spring is on the horizon! But right now the fields are frozen, and equipment is drifted in.
No farming is happening.
This is the season for the farmer to plan. What crops will we plant? Where will we plant them? What are some problem areas we want to work on and how will we do it? We need to do record keeping for our organic farm.
Being organic farmers we also have our organic certification paperwork to fill out. Deadlines will be quickly upon us. I don’t particularly like record keeping. I’d much rather be doing- well just about anything else! But it is beneficial. It helps with planning for your farm year. It’s a great reference to look back on, because let’s face it, we’re getting older and can’t keep track of it all in our heads. Keeping records definitely helps with spending and budgeting too.
Here are some resources we’re trying out this year for our record keeping, and some tried and true resources we use every year.
We got an opportunity through one of our grain buyers to try Agrible, a crop management platform that allows you to track field activities. It generates field condition reports and sustainability reports that help us see how we’re doing. We’ve got all our farming history uploaded for the last couple years, so it can generate sustainability reports. Now we’re waiting to get started with this year’s information. It’s kind of fun to see the computer track rainfall for our fields. We’re usually so far off the grid we don’t have these kind of resources. I’m excited to continue using it this year and see what all it can do for us!
For my bookkeeping I use a simple Excel spreadsheet. I built one for the first time last year and felt super accomplished getting the formulas programmed into it! This year I’m hoping I can figure out how to do even more with Excel. I’ve looked into some accounting programs, but I don’t want to link my bank accounts (call me old-fashion!) and there are so many options I just haven’t been able to make the leap and choose one of them. Maybe one day I’ll get there, but for now Excel does what we need it to.
Organic record keeping forms
Last but not least, is my organic record keeping forms. I built these over the last few years because organic forms were hard to find online. For our organic certification we have to have some way to keep track of the things we do in our fields. Over the last five years I have fine-tuned them to track all our farming from seeding to post-harvest. They have been indispensable in my record keeping efforts for our organic operation. I am always most thankful for them when it comes time for our yearly inspection and audit.
Record keeping for your organic farm can seem daunting. I know it did to me at first. Try out my printable forms to track your farm activities. I’m sure you will find them useful. I like to print them off and keep them in a binder with all my receipts and other papers I have to hang on to. Let me know how you like them!