Watch as Farmers Grow

Second Year Focus Summary 2013

January 7th, 2014 | Posted by toddh in Administration




This year as my focus I endeavored to engage myself in North Slope Farm’s Administrative duties. In my personal life I only have to perform these sorts of tasks in a minimal way. The farm has a well established and fairly clear way of organizing itself. Because of this, standard procedures have been formed for paying bills and capturing information. The work done during this focus has met the expectations expressed in my introduction, and has expanded my view of the farm. 

The Administrative tasks that I was most involved dealt with the finances. This included recording the market cash and other deposits, paying the bills, employees, taxes, and various other expenses, of which there were a few that stand out. These include equipment repairs, new green house plastic, Cow Pots, and our Bio Bags for market. These expenses are notable because they are not part of the monthly or weekly expenses such as payroll. There are more and more varied purchases during the beginning of the season. I also was able to fill out our annual organic certification update form. Colleen had completed the exhaustive application last year. So this year I only had to convey the same information as our practices have not changed since then.

The employees pay checks and bills were the most straight forward and familiar to me. These items form a rather regular expense to the farm and thus a rather regular schedule of paying. Pay day being every other Tuesday meant that this was also the day I would spend the afternoon in the office. Before writing any checks I would first reconcile our ledger with the bank statement. This would almost always take me some time. Not because the task is difficult but because I would have to do it several times before it came out right and I was sure of my math! Though it could be time consuming, sussing out any discrepancies can be gratifying. Ultimately any problems that occurred here were easily resolved. If we had not received a bank statement then reconciling was not done. After that I would add up each employee’s hours and enter them into our QuickBooks, which calculated the individuals pay for me. I would then write their checks which mike would later sign.

The bills followed a similar procedure and would often be done the same time as payroll. The bills however, did not require me to use Quick Books or the computer. I had to make sure correct payment on correct invoices. After paying each bill I would write the date and check number on the statement and file it in the appropriate location in the large red accordion file that sits atop the admin desk.

The taxes are an area that I am truly unfamiliar with. The taxes to me seem a complicate and somewhat overwhelming subject. Mike and I would complete these tasks together, and having gone through the process of paying them a few times has helped bring it into perspective. Paying the taxes and fees has been made relatively easy on-line; it is a matter of Staying current and having the right information to plug into to correct forms. This again is greatly aided by the established qualities of North Slope. We pull our paper files for paying taxes. Then we export pertinent information from QuickBooks into a summary to excel spread sheets. After that we follow the steps of the websites. Some sort of confirmation of payment is provided, and this we make sure to add to our files.

This focus has demonstrated to me the importance of good record keeping. There are bound to be variations in capturing some information on the farm due to the difference in the individuals recording it. This makes for a really great compilation of memories and experiences. Though some level of administration is going to be complicated, processing the financial information in a straightforward way will make it easier to access accurate information again when it is needed. It has helped broaden the scope of my understanding of farming at North Slope

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