What is the Enterprise Program?
The Independent Ag Enterprise Program (IAEP) is a unique opportunity for aspiring growers to take farm management into their own hands and gain the skills to run their own mixed vegetable operation. The IAEP at Shone offers you the chance to manage a half-acre of land in a revenue-sharing relationship with the rest of our farm.
If you've worked for other farms and want to make the leap to running your own, the IAEP provides a transition opportunity to operate independently within a supportive environment where you can build skills and confidence in your ability to farm commercially. A season spent in the IAEP also serves as a signal to landowners and lenders that you have the legitimacy to lease acreage or borrow capital for a new enterprise.
Confidence & Experience
As part of the IAEP, you will establish the experience and track record to run your own farm enterprise.
- Grow a diverse range of vegetables over a 9-month period (April-December)
- Sell to established markets - the Shone Grown CSA, restaurant clients and wholesale contracts
- Run your own farmers market booth
- Make your own decisions and run all day-to-day operations for your half-acre parcel
- Benefit from established infrastructure (irrigation, tractors, hand tools)
- When needed, draw on the experience and insight of Shone Farm staff and faculty
- Work in tandem with other IAEP participants in a cohort environment
While you'll have the security of ready markets for most of what you grow (such as the Shone Grown CSA) you can also open new sales relationships with area markets or restaurants and even take a commission on other Shone products sold through these new accounts. The same applies to running your own farmers market booth, where you can sell your produce as well as the full range of Shone Farm fruits and vegetables.
Of course, the revenue for any farm business is tied to its productivity, and the same risks and rewards that apply to a fully independent operation will apply to your own enterprise. We feel this is an important part of the learning experience offered by the IAEP.
All participants in the IAEP will also participate in discussions on farm business management and receive tools for developing and using good record-keeping systems.
The IAEP is for those who are working towards owning and operating their own commercial farm. We expect everone to come with a high level of commitment and a baseline of experience and knowledge of organic vegetable production. Your success is essential to our own, so we have some criteria to help ensure great outcomes. You must have:
- At least 2 seasons of experience in a commercial farming environment
- Ability to commit to up to 20 hours per week to plant, maintain, harvest and pack your produce
- Commitment to organic growing practices
- Willingness to register for one Santa Rosa Junior College class during Spring, Summer and Fall semesters - a cost of approximately $400 for the year.
If the IAEP at Shone Farm sounds like the right program to help you get closer to your own farm vision, click on the application link below. We will conduct interviews in February and March of 2016 with program participants beginning in April.