I was at the Illinois Horticultural Field Day in Granville, Illinois last week. This is a yearly event attended mainly by people working in fruit and vegetable production from all over the state of Illinois. I had a chance to talk about the workshops The Land Connection offers on specialized topics like raising mushrooms and saving seeds, but the attendees were more interested in our intensive workshops aimed at enabling farmers to enhance profits by extending their growing seasons, branching out into specialty areas like grains or dairy, or adding an agritourism element to their operations.
Our hosts this year were Keith and Denise Boggio of Boggios’s Orchard and Produce. The Boggio family has a highly diversified plan for generating income all year round, offering different products that bring in customers no matter what the season. They also have a strong agritourism component to their business plan, devoting a significant chunk of land to features that bring in families looking for fun activities. In addition to a playground, they run an on-site bakery, a small petting zoo, and make their facilities available for weddings.
The example set by the Boggios and conversations with other attendees showed me how vital a diversified approach is to a career in farming. Nearly everyone I spoke to was engaged in multiple enterprises to keep themselves afloat. Developing multiple income streams is not just a good idea. For most working farmers, it’s essential. This is why our advanced classes are so valuable to farmers looking for additional way to generate profits. Although not everyone will decide to get as elaborate as the Boggios, anyone can benefit from the techniques we teach. We provide access to ideas and techniques that can help them weather all sorts of storms.