Designer Acres

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The Skills Pay the Bills

A farm has both production and business aspects. When designing a farm, both the farm business and the farm operations must be Clean, Efficient, and Profitable with a deep respect for the land.

Farm Design covers all aspects of preparing a farm for use. To be complete, the following must be considered.

  • Proposed products
  • Potential land use
  • Business structure
  • Ecosystems required
  • Water
  • Access
  • Infrastructure

Table of Contents

Our Design Philosophy

The business must be Clean, Efficient, and Profitable.  Consider the following Permaculture guideline:

  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

Tacota Coen – Mixed Farmer Canada

This is addressed by using Lean systems. Kaizen manages processes while Kanban addresses workflow and inventory.

Starting a Farm

Starting a farm is a time of planning. Of having the vision of where you wish to take the farm and determining how you can achieve it.

Remember – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

We start with buying the land. Even if you already have the farm, spend some time looking at it as though you were about to buy it. Does it serve your purpose? If not, can we change the purpose or do we change the farm?

Worst case, look around to find another block that does serve. Is it possible to sell the existing block and purchase the other one. If not then what can we do with the existing block to serve a different purpose?

Farm Planning

Farm Planning is the farm layout component. This covers the property design and involves

  • Zone Analysis
  • Sector Analysis
  • Topography Analysis
  • Keyline Analysis
  • Layout Mapping
  • The Scale of Permanence

It places function and infrastructure on the layout map. Our best guide here is the Scale of Permanence.

Business Design

Business Design is more than half of the design effort for any rural business. In this group I cover:

  • Farm Analysis
  • Synergistic Business Design
  • Business Systems


Farm Management

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Other Considerations

This is the catch all for topics that do not fall easily into a formal basket.

Primary among them are Estate Planning and Reasoning Processes.

Estate planning is part and parcel of owning a farm. Decisions must be made as to what will be done with the land and business when the current owner / manager is no longer able to manage effectively.

The Reasoning Process covers some mental tricks and effective ways to think and reason out problems – worth reading.

More Information