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Planning for economic sustainability

By: Rusty Grice / Published: Mar 24,  2017

Recently, I attended a seminar that was presented by agents from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System called F.A.R.M Outlook 2017 which stands for Farm Agribusiness Resource Management. The goal was to introduce a recently formed team of specialists to our farmers and make them aware of business management resources and tools through Outreach. The areas of expertise represented included economics, accounting, tax law and crop management among others.

Yes, I know that these topics can be dry for some, but what was most interesting to me was the topic of soil condition. One speaker said, “Once you have bad soil, you’re done.” And with that, most everyone in the meeting hall did a slow nod in agreement. The same is true for our oyster farmers as it relates to the condition of our waters and some areas of our bays and bayous will likely never be useable for aquaculture.

Bon Secour Bay, Alabama
Bon Secour Bay, Alabama

Hearing firsthand about the challenges that these farmers endure highlights the risks that growers of all types face and the need to prepare as best we can through resiliency planning. The first step in developing a resiliency plan is to determine the resiliency index for your business with the business self-assessment tool, which was developed by broad team of experts from many areas of interest.

The very first question in the assessment tool is “Do you have a written business plan?” which is often a tough question for business owners in that they do not. This presents a great opportunity for business owners to take advantage of the team of experts I mentioned earlier and the other resources that are available today. Please email me for introductions.

For oyster farming to be truly sustainable, it must be economically sustainable and that is our focus for outreach this year. Through good planning and communication, we can continue growing jobs, save our working waterfronts and improve community health along our coast.

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