General Information

Veggie Compass is an ongoing project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that involves the development of whole farm profit management tools and workshops. Our tools are designed to help growers improve on-farm decision making and financial farm planning in order to maximize profitability and ensure the continuation of sustainable farms.

colorful vegetablesVeggie Compass is a farm management tool for diversified fresh market vegetable growers. The system focuses upon a comprehensive spreadsheet designed to facilitate the analysis of farm records. Using cost, sales and labor data, the spreadsheet calculates the cost of production for each crop and the profitability of each market channel (e.g., CSA, farmers market, wholesale, retail). For example, a grower can learn if broccoli sales are more lucrative at farmers markets or through wholesale distributors. The Veggie Compass spreadsheet requires farmers to enter financial, labor and sales data, creating a holistic picture of their farm financials. The tool can also be used to predict the financial impact of different farm scenarios for the future and to assess the farm’s financial progress. Such information can help farmers locate their efficiencies, set prices based on actual costs of production, and increase farm profits.

Because we continue to update and improve Veggie Compass, we highly recommend that people who download the Veggie Compass spreadsheet sign up to receive email updates when a new version has been posted. You will only receive notices when a new version of Veggie Compass is available and your email address will not be shared with others.

Similar Compass tools are in development for other types of operations. Livestock Compass is now available for meat and egg producers. In the future, we will have Compass tools for grass-based dairy farms, fruit and nut growers, and grain farmers. The Fruit & Nut Compass will be a planning tool to predict expenses and profitability over the lifespan of perennial crops. The grain-focused tool will allow users to assess the feasibility and profitability of converting to certified organic production.

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