p> America's farmers are getting older by the numbers and the next generation needs to stand up so our country can eat into the future. This demographic challenge has received a lot of attention within the agriculture community for many years and the issue is now entering the consciousness of the wider media.
40 Farmers Under 40
The Mother Nature Network released an interesting feature last month featuring the work of "40 farmers under 40". Some of the top entries include a pop signer turned avocado farmer, farmer/writer Zoë Bradbury, and filmmaker Ian Cheney of King Corn renown.
Not surprisingly, this list features farmers in the sustainable farming movement rather than the conventional farming track.
The Greenhorns Movie
A group of young farmers, they call themselves the Greenhorns, is in the process of finishing a feature-length documentary on the young farmer movement. The filmmaker has energetically travelled around the country filming young farmers at work while in the process of starting her own farm in the New York City area.
Here is the trailer for the movie:
More Young Farmers on the Web
There's a lot more about young farmers all over the world wide web. Here are some selected articles:
Having young people coming into farming is not a choice, it is necessary demographic change as our farmers age. I am heartened that young farmers are so passionate about what they do and so prolific is recording their journey!
We previewed the "Photogenic" template last week and now it ready for the prime time. Get started today to take advantage of this new template. One special part of our "premium templates" is that they are limited in quantity, so they will go fast!
View the test site at: http://premium4.smallfarmcentral.com.
We hope you like it as much as we do!
A domain name is defined as:
"...an identification label that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control in the Internet, based on the Domain Name System (DNS)."
That doesn't help much, does it? Basically, a domain name is something like yourfarm.com that identifies your website on the internet. This is obviously an important decision as you start a farm website and one you have probably thought about.
If you don't have a domain name yet, search for your preferred address at domaintools.com.
We've covered domain names in the past, but here are some basic thoughts to keep in mind as you make that decision:
Is your preferred domain already registered? We'll cover that soon in the blog. In the meantime, if your domain name is registered by someone else, let us know via email and we'll help you pick an alternate domain name.
We'll have a new premium template out for your farm website in the next few weeks. Here are the mock-ups. This template gives you a chance to show off all of your great farm photography!
Homepage of new premium template
Internal page of new premium template
Our newest feature, product graphs, which I discussed at length last week has been released.
If you are a current Small Farm Central subscriber, you may access the product graphs by logging in to your control panel and navigating to:
Create Content / Products / Product Graphs
If you need help with the product sliders, read the detailed help document. If that still does not help, let us know!
If you are not a current customer, but want to check out the new feature, request a demo.
We will be introducing a new feature in the next week or two: product availability graphs. These graphs help your customers visualize what is seasonal throughout the year; this is both educational and practical. Educational because eaters will understand what crops are available in your climate throughout the year and practical because they know what to expect in their CSA box or at the farmers market throughout the season.
Product availability graphs have been around on farm websites for a long time, but they were usually created in an external program like Photoshop or Excel, then an image was created, and then the image was posted to the website. This is not a very flexible or scalable approach -- some issues include:
Our new product availability graph feature in Small Farm Central solves these issues and adds some new twists.
Here is an example vegetable product graph as it would look to customers visiting your website:
Below is a screenshot of the farm website administrator editing the same product graph. Each product availability block can be dragged earlier or later time of the year as you develop your graph or edit it later.
Our Availability Twists
We are still working on a few last details for the product availability graphs, so stay tuned for a release notice in the next week or two. We'd love to hear what you think of our approach!
Our newest template will be coming out in the next week or two. Note, this is not a premium template. This template is available to all subscription levels.
Enough talk, here is the initial mock-up of the site: We think it is clean and professional while retaining "organic" imagery that keeps the template botanical and agricultural.
We hope you'll love it!
The following quote from a recent entry of Seth Godin's blog reminded me to tell you how Small Farm Central supports your farm:
...don't pretend you have a policy. Just be human.
We know that you are an individual farmer working a distinct farm, so we will treat you as an individual with unique needs.
We design the sites, write the code, answer the phones, reply to emails, and we work exclusively with farmers. We understand your web needs because we are the largest provider of websites to farms in the country. We understand you and farming because we have started and grown a medium-sized CSA farm ourselves.
We are watching out for you because we want your farm to succeed and we feel like Small Farm Central can be a small part of that success. So next time you are having a problem with your site, call or email and know that we are on your side and here to help.
We're happy to be a partner in your farm's continued success -- just let us know how we can help you!
If you are not a customer yet, when you are tired of working with cranky "techies", calling international support, and talking to people who are more familiar with their local Starbucks than their local tomatoes, talk to us.
We are going to take a break from blogging from mid July to the end of August. We know you are busy, so we'll take some time to focus on some other projects and get back to blogging in about a month.
Anxiously awaiting more? First, sign up for email updates, so you'll get our blog posts in your email when we start up again.
After you are done with that, there's lot of great content to read from our 2009 blog posts.
Farm Web Marketing Tips
Small Farm Central features
Sites of Interest
We know you are busy! Heck, I am surprised you are reading this on a clear July afternoon when there are weeds to pull, irrigation to run, cows to move, markets to attend, and on, and on.
Although I don't currently run a production farm, I have done it and I know how hard and busy these months are.
And still, your website is still begging to be updated with photos and stories of the year because that is what your committed and prospective customers want to hear. With all of these other commitments, it is very easy to let communication slip. If you make updating your site and blog an EASY (maybe even enjoyable as many of our customers tell us Small Farm Central is) task, you will find yourself making the effort more often.
If you look back to your site in the cool days of October and notice that you haven't updated since April, perhaps it is time to try a different approach. If you want someone else to take care of the technology and let you concentrate on your crops, animals, and communication with your customers, let's talk!