The USDA has a collection of tools designed to help farmers and ranchers identify areas in their operations in which they can save energy, and in turn money. For non-food producers, the site provides a small glimpse into the complex business of farming and ranching, highlighting a few of the powerful economic impacts and potential risks of those in the business.
Information and suggestions are divided into the following categories:
- The Energy Estimator for Animal Housing tool covers energy use in lighting, ventilation, heating, air circulation, milk cooling, water heating, and milk harvesting.
- The Energy Estimator for Irrigation allows users to estimate potential energy savings associated with pumping water for irrigation. The site provides information for farm-specific crops, pumping requirements and energy prices.
- The Energy Estimator for Nitrogen tool enables calculations related to nitrogen use on your farm or ranch.
- The Energy Estimator for Tillage tool estimates diesel fuel use and costs and compares potential energy savings between conventional tillage and alternative tillage systems. The crops covered are limited to the most predominant crops in 74 Crop Management Zones (CMZ's), allowing users to get an idea of the potential savings.
MyMoney.gov is a U.S. government website designed to provide financial education resources for all Americans. The website combines material from 20 federal agencies, collectively called Financial Literacy & Education Commission Member Agencies. It offers in-depth information on a wide variety of subjects in a reasonably easy-to-follow format. The advantage of having all information available in one place will be of great help to many people.
General topics are divided in this way:
- Budgeting & Taxes
- Financial Planning
- Home Ownership Resources
- Paying for Education
- Privacy, Fraud & Scams
- Responding To Life Events
- Retirement Planning
- Saving & Investing
- Starting a Small Business
There is also a “What’s New” section on the right hand side of the home page providing a great place to start for specific questions or problems.
For additional help with money management, please see our previous posts:
More good news from UC’s Small Farm Program.
The California Travel & Tourism Commission has released a report that predicts an increase in both domestic and international tourists visiting California over the next five years as the world economy recovers.
2009 was a hard year all round for most traveler-serving businesses, but the worst seems to be over. The report predicts 2010 will see positive growth in both domestic and international travel, with peak growth coming in 2011. Global economic recovery and a weaker dollar will aid the rebound in international travel, with increasing numbers of travelers to California coming from China and India.
For ideas about how to attract some of these visitors to your farm or ranch, contact your local city or county visitors bureau or staff at your closest California Welcome Center.
The travel outlook report comes from the California Travel & Tourism Commission's tourism industry website that provides a vast store of research and promotion resources.
Another great way to increase your agritourism presence…
The UC Small Farm Program hosts a searchable, online directory of California agricultural tourism operations, for use by visitors looking for a farm or ranch to visit. The directory is located at www.CalAgTour.org.
If you are a working farmer or rancher operating an agritourism business, you are invited to complete the application online so your business is included in the directory. If you're already listed, please check your listing, and update it if needed. You can use the sign-up/application form for updates. UC’s Small Farm Program is currently updating and planning new promotions for the directory and would love to include more California farms and ranches open to visitors.
This great piece of news recently came in courtesy of UC’s Small Farm Program.
The search for liability insurance to cover agritourism activities may have just become a little easier. The American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS) has created a new product, now approved for California insurance companies to offer as an option for farmers and ranchers who expand their operations beyond producing crops.
Traditional farm commercial liability programs usually exclude coverage for educational and recreational activities undertaken for compensation, but the new Agribusiness Commercial General Liability (AgGL) program covers B&Bs, mazes, tours, hunting and fishing, farm parks, and other activities offered by agritourism operators.
AAIS Vice President Debi Summerlin explains that the new program gives the insurance company tools to be able to charge premiums for these activities by providing ratings for many classifications of tourist activities. Most exposures to risk for agritourism activities are rated based on receipts earned, so an operator can pay a lower premium when starting small.
If you are interested in this new program, ask your current insurance agent to investigate how AgGL might work for your business. Your agent might need to contact AAIS to find a company carrying this product.
To find a local farm or ranch to visit, check out this previous post!
Whether you are in the agricultural business, have a fondness for analyzing economic data, or simply curious about agricultural and resource economics, the University of California has a site for you.
Once there you can find the most recent cost and return studies, sorted by commodity, region or county. They are interesting to look at, and certainly provide non-growers a glimpse into the amount of variables and costs associated with crop production.
There is also a link to archived studies. There you can find studies going back to 1931.
In addition to commodity studies, the site has a tree and vine loss calculator link. This link will help operators determine the value of single trees or vines lost to any cause. The calculator covers major tree and vine crops produced in California, and has a variety of input categories to cover loss from any cause.
Cost studies for California Central Coast conservation practices are also available through this site. Each of the nine studies provides an estimate of expected benefits and details on typical installation, operation, and maintenance expenses.
The site can be found by clicking here.