The HVADC Cultivator
HVADC Client Update:
Row By Row Farm
Row by Row Farm in Hurley is an organic produce and cereal farm with big ambitions. Owners Dakota and Mira Miller are looking to scale up their operation to make a splash on the wholesale market and increase the profile of their grain operation. To see if their farm’s books were as healthy as their fields, the Millers sought out Business Technical Assistance from HVADC’s Incubator Without Walls Program.
“We are first generation farmers,” Dakota Miller said. “We are trying to make good market-driven decisions. We’re glad to be able to consider HVADC a part of our network when we are trying to enter different arenas.”
The Millers worked with HVADC Business Technical Assistance provider, Greg Mruk. A business consultant and fellow farmer, Mruk stress tested Row by Row’s financials and made suggestions but said they were already headed in the right directions.
“They run a really nice operation, they were focusing on developing and really wanted to take a hard look at the cost of production.” Mruk said. “Intuitively they were doing all the right things, they just didn’t know it.”
The Millers met while studying agriculture on a small farm in central Israel. It was there that they started dreaming of owning and operating an organic produce farm of their own. In the winter of 2016, they moved to their current location and now Row by Row Farm is settled on 140 acres of prime vegetable cropland in Hurley. NOFA_NY is the farm’s USDA organic certifying agency.
“We are focused on rebuilding what was once a multi-generation vegetable farm. The farmland has been under organic practices since 2014 and it is with a sense of great pride that we are continuing to nurture the land back to a healthy and productive state,” the Millers said. “ We do not take the opportunity of stewarding our sliver of the historic Hurley Flats lightly, and are dedicated to continuing our agricultural journey with a sense of permanence and long-term growth.”
Row by Row started their sales at multiple farmers markets but have cut back to just one so they can focus their efforts on wholesale. As their produce footprint grows, they are also rotating crops with fields of grain. They have begun selling grain from that program to local brewers and hope to increase that activity as well. Figuring out how to balance scaling up with staffing on the farm was one area they wanted to make sure they were doing in an economically sound and responsible way.
Mruk said that there is significant operational value in checking the financial health of your business even when it seems things are running smoothly. You may catch a problem you hadn’t seen but also a checkup allows a farm, like Row by Row, to plan for growth with confidence.
Mruk added that after working with Row by Row, “I came away thinking, this is a farm to watch.”
To learn more about the Business Technical Assistance services that HVADC provides through its Incubator Without Walls program, visit https://www.hvadc.org/iww.