Chapter 1 – Farmers: understanding the costs of hosting a visit
In order for a farm to host a visit, there are invariably associated costs that will impact the business. The impact of the financial costs that are associated with the school visits can often be challenging to a farm, as whilst they do not want to ask for too much money from a school, it is important that farms are able to make the businesses sustainable.
Opening your farm for school visits, even as a one-off event, will have cost implications for the business. If you add up the value of your labour in leading the visit and covering the farm work you would have been doing; the cost of marketing materials; investing in facilities for your visitors, you may be surprised at the money involved. However, with prior planning it should be possible to recoup or lower these costs.
If you are only opening your farm as a one-off event, you may well feel that you can justify subsidising the day yourself to some extent, especially if you expect to increase your own sales of produce as a result. If, on the other hand, you would like to make school visits an integral part of your organic farming business, you will need to take a much harder look at the financial side of things, possibly as part of an overall package of diversification options on your farm.
If financing is a serious concern, you will need to research the possibilities of accessing funding or whether you will be able to cover costs by charging visitors?