Designer Acres

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A farm design and planning resource

Make your farm
Clean, Efficient and Profitable
with a deep respect for the land.

Have enough COURAGE to start – and enough HEART to finish

Treat the Earth well.
It wasn’t given to you by your parents – it was lent to you by your children.

Kenyan proverb

Table of Contents

Our Philosophy

Our emphasis is efficient design and structure that leads to a business that is Clean, Efficient and Profitable with a deep respect for the land.

To do this, we understand that:

  1. Any need for an element that your system cannot provide results in work
  2. Any yield of a function that cannot be used by your system results in pollution
  3. Work and pollution create drudgery  which is the punishment for poor design

Takota Coen – Mixed Farmer Canada

This works for business as well as production.

Management of farming enterprises in Australia has never been more important and requires quality information, a high level of knowledge and timely decision making in order to achieve improved efficiencies and profitability. Significant improvements in production and profit can be realised if this information is packaged in easy-to-use products and services that are tailored to growers in local regions.

Stuart Kearns GRDP

Whilst the quote below refers to farming, I believe that it is appropriate to all forms of agriculture.

“Farming is a unique business, offering opportunity to work with nature, technology, the markets and people. Done well, it offers a fulfilling life and business career.

However, the business of farming is becoming more challenging with greater variations in commodity prices, continual uncertainty with weather patterns and the challenges of declining terms of trade.

At the same time, the demand for agricultural produce is significant and provides great opportunity to Australian agriculture. The need for improved farm business management skills has been identified as a crucial element for Australian farmers to maintain business sustainability, while taking up the opportunity currently occurring in Australian agriculture.”

Stuart Kearns GRDP

What we do

Designer Acres - Farm Design is a resource for people trying to make a go of it on the land. It relates to both the production and business components of life on the land.

We do however espouse a slightly different approach because we believe it to be more efficient and easier. We do know farm design! We have no intention to tell you how to do something that you could teach us!

People understand the technical aspects of production quite well, so we spend our time on the business component which can be quite enjoyable. Success brings the joy back into rural life.

The business side can be fun if you have clear direction and understanding and are moving toward achievable goals.

Starting a Farm

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Beginnings are such delicate times” – a quote from the original Dune books by Frank Herbert.

What it means is that beginnings are an important time to get it right. Every step past the beginning comes with its consequences and a lot more work to correct mistakes and oversights.

Your first major task is the selection of the land. Consider its location, price, suitability and condition. If you already have land, look at it with fresh eyes as though you are buying the land.

The land is a long term commitment which comes with the responsibility to pass it on in a better condition than we took it on. This means a well implemented and sensible design is necessary.

The first stage of any design is to understand your raw materials and constraints. Constraints include restrictions placed upon you by the land itself as well as government bodies. We must examine the land for condition and suitability, then we must determine the possible uses of the given parcel.

Farm Design

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To effectively design a farm,  there are a number of stages.

  • Gather information about
    • The land
    • Proposed products
    • The market
  • Determine requirements
  • Create the design systematically
  • How to implement the design
  • Implement the design

A good farm design includes all aspects of the farm and production. It makes the farm Clean, Efficient and Profitable with a deep respect for the land.

Our philosophy has two tenets. Both must be achieved if the enterprise is to succeed.

  1. multiple income streams provide financial resilience
  2. the health of the land is fundamental to production

Our methods are somewhat eclectic. We have extracted wisdom and practices from:

  • Traditional agriculture
  • Biodynamics
  • Biological Agriculture
  • Natural Sequence Farming
  • Korean Natural Farming (JADAM)
  • Regenerative Agriculture
  • The Keyline System
  • Permaculture Design

Business Design

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While both business and production are critical to the success of any venture, more rural ventures fail because of poor business practices.

There is no point in producing only to find that the market is limited or that there are hidden expenses. It is not a case of “build it and they will come”.

The business component must be well designed. The steps here are:

  • Determine the business model
  • Determine the value proposition
  • Create an ongoing 5 year budget
  • Create a business plan
  • Create a marketing plan
  • Create an implementation plan
  • Implement the plan

All businesses need policy and procedure documentation

Other Considerations


Designer Acres happy-dogThis section contains those components that do not easily fit into the formal sections. Other considerations include:

  • Your exit strategy
  • Your succession strategy

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