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Stories of People and Land

Isabel Squire, Tara Firma Farms, Sonoma County

In 2019 Isabel Squire transitioned from a management role with a global coffee company to become the business manager at Tara Firma Farms, which includes row crops and rangeland located three miles south of Petaluma. She handles all aspects of finances, human resources and manages the farm’s community supported agriculture program. While Isabel had solid management and training experience, she found that the small-farm business was uniquely complex. In early 2020 she joined FarmLink’s business resilience course, now known as The Resilerator. The course helped her see the business through the prism of people, land, and activities. She integrated that perspective into her assessment of Tara Firma and its activities focused on ranching, the CSA, and educational programs and events. “The course built enough understanding to dig into our finances and make vital choices about the business model,” Isabel says.

For years Tara Firma Farm had its own cattle herd, but it was difficult to raise them on 230 acres with the kinds of regenerative practices that they valued. To improve their focus, the Tara Firma team decided to sell the herd to a local rancher focused on regenerative practices that would meet their goals for land stewardship. Along with the sale of the herd, Tara Firma decided to lease their rangeland acreage to their buyer, and reached out to FarmLink staff for assistance with that process. Isabel reports that it was “a very smooth process.” From the business resilience course to lease assistance, Isabel and the team at Tara Firma are honing their business strategies for long-term success with support from California FarmLink.

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