Friday, February 12, 2010

Here's a Locally Produced Valentine!

As reported by the Albert Lea Tribune, which serves southern Minnesota and northern Iowa:

Farmer Bruce Andersland has created a half-mile wide arrow-pierced heart made of manure as a Valentine for his wife of 37 years. He drew the plans on paper, then drove his tractor and manure spreader over the snow covered field to create the special heart shape. His wife Beth commented that it was the most original and biggest Valentine she has received in her life. Beth raises purebred Simmental cattle on their farm so this was a very locally produced Valentine!

Click here to read the original article in the Albert Lea Tribune.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all! And if my husband Bob is reading this post, I admire this man's creativity, but I'd really rather have chocolates!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

NAFDMA 2010 Trade Show

We were looking forward to attending our first NAFDMA Trade Show in Lancaster, PA this upcoming week. Unfortunately, both work and personal constraints made us reevaluate our plans and cancel our participation.

North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association is a trade association dedicated to the farm direct marketing industry. Members are family farms who sell farm-grown produce directly to consumers at farm stands, farmers’ markets, pick-your-own farms, consumer-supported agriculture, agritourism venues, and other ever-growing innovations in direct producer-to-consumer agricultural marketing methods. For more information about the association, visit

We’d like to offer you the discount we would have given to NAFDMA trade show attendees. If you place an order on-line at, we are continuing to offer a 10% discount from now until February 28, 2010. Just enter the code “EXPO09” during checkout.

We hope the show is a great success for our fellow exhibitors and all the attendees.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

For 2010: Metrics, Measures and Assessing your Day

Today I was doing research on farm photography and came across Roger Overall’s blog. He is a fantastic photographer based in Cork, Ireland. In a recent blog post, Mr. Overall noted that he applied three measures to determine the success of his business day:

  1. Did I take a worthwhile photograph?
  2. Did I learn something valuable?
  3. Did I strengthen my business relationships or start a new one?

How do you determine the success of your business day? Are there 3 measures you could use to assess your day? Perhaps there are more than 3, or only one. This question gave me pause for thought.

As a small business owner, it’s important to have metrics and measures to evaluate your operations. Annual sales goals, number of returning customers, bottom line profits are all periodic measures of the health of your business. But as a small business owner - whether you are a farmer, retailer or restaurateur – you often perform many tasks yourself and a business day can pass quickly without assessment. Days turn into weeks and weeks into months, then years. Perhaps taking 5 minutes to evaluate the success of each business day will bring to light some small task, some opportunity, which will make your life easier or your business healthier.

In 2010, I vow to follow Roger Overall’s philosophy and apply measures to determine the success of my business day. After much thought, I found I have 4 important measures:

1) Did I make a sale?

2) Did I strengthen my business relationships or start a new one?

3) Did I write something?

4) Did I complete my office tasks? (accounting, tracking marketing efforts, updating our business plan, developing new product)

I'll post again on my success on assessing my daily success! If you have a similar habit you follow, we'd love to hear from you.