In December, once all of the labor, income and expenses were pretty well set for the year, I ran my annual calculation for net dollars generated per labor hour. I have done this for most years I’ve been at Cully Neighborhood Farm, and I started doing it back when I first started Slow Hand Farm as a way to compare year to year in a way that somewhat independent of growth and changes to marketing and growing methods, gives me an idea of how well I did financially for the number of hours worked.
You can follow the crumbs back through the years by following this link. For 2020 here are the basic numbers:
Total Labor Hours: 1987
Farm Gross: $41,000
Non-labor expenses: $8070
Net Dollars per Labor Hour = $16.57
This is slightly higher than last year, which I’m happy to see. It was a very different year to say the least. I’ll attribute the slight increase largely to returning crew members and some excellent day labor contributions at key times of the year. It wasn’t our best year, but considering all of the added expenses and stresses between Covid and the extended hazardous smoke conditions I’m happy we did as well as we did.
One thing that I’ve heard some other experienced farmers say, and that I feel like I’m seeing as well, is that when we’re a little over our labor budget early in the season it’s actually probably a good thing, setting us up for better yields and less weeding labor later. That was the case this year.
I’ve written a more detailed article in Growing For Market that should be out soon on why I think the Net Dollars per Labor Hour is a good metric to track and that should be out soon.