Our farm design process is structured to help clients prepare an economically viable farm business plan that is suitable for raising debt or equity capital. We have extensive experience developing, structuring, analyzing, advising, financing, implementing, and operating physical commodity projects. We understand the regenerative, business, and finance challenges that our clients face as they develop their projects. We also understand the structures, concerns, documentation, language, and questions that venture and hedge funds, USDA, Farm Credit Banks, equipment lenders, and banks require to successfully fund projects.
We have found that way too many regenerative agriculture and permaculture designers fail to do proper financial planning and structuring, and, as a result, recommend designs that, though ecologically sound and beautiful, are not implementable because they failed to account for the holistic context of the client and the absolute client requirements for value creation and return on investment. Corporate cashflow models are the foundation of every design and business plan we develop – the numbers have to work. We work with our clients to maximize the profitability of their properties and businesses while staying within all holistic, strategic, financial, ecological, legal, and regulatory constraints.
Regrarians Design Platform
We use the Regrarians® Platform that Darren Doherty developed as our analytical framework for regenerative design processes. We completed and highly recommend the REX training program and are part of the Regrarians Workplace community. The Regrarians Platform has ten layers that are based on the Keyline Scale of Permanence that P.A. Yeomans outlined in 1958:
The Regrarians Platform uses a detailed and holistic process to bring together the contexts of the farm project, its team, and its community with that of the climate, the landscape, the region, and the economy. The ten categories are ranked from those that are the most permanent and hardest to change to those that are easiest to change.
Climate covers much more than just the weather – it includes the broader community, laws, regulations, and external environment. It also focuses on the project’s key decision makers and their visions, goals, responsibilities, and constraints. The net result essentially creates the “rules” for the design.
Geography is our mapping layer. It covers both the physical landscape and infrastructure elements but also proximity and distances to critical customers, suppliers, and off-site infrastructure.
Water covers the design and development of the site’s water supply, storage, and distribution systems and how they integrate with the other design layers.
Access covers roads, trails, bridges, and paths that safely convey people, livestock, materials, supplies, trucks, and emergency vehicles to the property. Access can also be used to channel water as part of water harvesting systems.
The forestry layer covers all perennial plants. Trees serve a variety of functions on the landscape, including food production, wood production, livestock fodder, shade, and wind breaks. We design forestry systems that create long-term revenue potential, support grazing and cropping enterprises, and provide beauty and aesthetics.
6) Buildings & Structures
We evaluate the project’s requirements for permanent, temporary, and moveable structures and design appropriate multi-function energy efficient structures and portable infrastructure that provide critical infrastructure to the project while maintaining flexibility and minimizing costs. We have done extensive work on energy efficient structures and have designed ultra energy efficient greenhouses from 3,000 to 215,000 SF in size.
We evaluate the project’s fencing requirements and recommend a mix of permanent and portable light weight electric fencing to meet the needs of site security, protection of plants from livestock and wild animals, and the control and protection of livestock. We also identify opportunities to secure USDA EQIP grants to improve fencing and protect riparian areas.
We develop soil nutrient management and grazing plans that will protect and improve soils, reduce input costs, improve water infiltration, and resist drought. This starts with obtaining soil samples for testing at independent soil labs to establish baseline levels of soil nutrients.
This is the most important layer and the one ignored the most by regenerative system designers. We start by analyzing the revenue potential of the property along with markets, customers, opportunities, threats, and strategies that can help you increase revenues, minimize costs, and increase profits. We look very closely at both current and potential enterprises along with the potential to increase value through value-added processing, vertical integration, and distribution to different customer segments from wholesale to retail. We also analyze equipment requirements and make sure that equipment selection is appropriate for the context of the project.
We require that clients go through our Financial Planning process to help them maximize value creation and generate the full investment banking grade corporate cashflow model that is require to properly structure the project, evaluate and reduce risks, and provide the financial documentation required to finance a project. We also work with clients to generate the documentation required for financing. For projects that generate over 10 jobs and $1 million in investment, we incorporate our Economic Development process to identify, negotiate, and secure economic development incentives.
We require clients to complete our Energy Assessment process to analyze their current and planned electricity, fuel, thermal, propane, biomass, and other energy demand, cost structure, and requirements and recommend renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that make economic sense. We frequently convert energy from a cost problem to a competitive advantage.
To begin the farm design and business planning process with us, please complete our Farm Design Consultation Form and schedule a time to talk about your project.