November/December 2015 — NC Growing Together and the Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University are sponsoring trainings for farmers and extension agents on how to use the Veggie Compass, a whole-farm profit management tool developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The tool is free and can be downloaded at

Ellen Polishuk leading a Veggie Compass workshop at CFSA’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference.

NCGT and the Cooperative Extension Program sponsored a day-long training and a workshop on the Veggie Compass at Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s recent Sustainable Agriculture Conference. The trainings featured Ellen Polishuk of Potomac Vegetable Farms.

“The Veggie Compass trainings always get excellent feedback from growers and extension agents,” says Laura Lauffer, Project Director for Local Farms and Foods at N.C. A&T, and a recent addition to the NCGT team. “With each training, there is a new network of farmers who share their production and business management experiences, providing a multiplier effect for the training that yields additional learning beyond just presenting the tool.”

N.C. A&T is also recruiting ten farmers with small to medium-scale operations to participate in a pilot trial of the Veggie Compass tool as a means to increase farm profitability. Lauffer will be working with growers to use the tool to assess the most profitable crops in their system with a focus on both marketing and production costs.

She will be working with Dr. Noah Ranells, N.C. A&T Agribusiness Management and Marketing Extension Specialist and NCGT project leader at N.C. A&T. Says Ranells, “these trainings open the door for more detailed information on cost of production by specific crops as well as profitability of different marketing channels, regardless of the current level of record-keeping.”

If you’d like to participate in the NCGT/N.C. A&T Veggie Compass trial, please contact Laura Lauffer at or 336-285-4690. Farmers should have a basic familiarity with spreadsheets, ideally will be working with their local Extension Agent, and will be given a $300 stipend for their time.

Save the dates! In 2016, NCGT will be sponsoring three workshops for Extension Agents on how to use the Veggie Compass:

January 12: Rocky Mount (Gateway Technology Center)
– Register at: Registration Deadline: December 18

January 19: Newton (Newton Public Library)
– Register at:
– Registration Deadline: December 18

February 9: Clinton (Sampson County Livestock Arena)
– Register at:
– Registration Deadline: December 18

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2015 NC Growing Together Newsletter.