Experiences of a FileMaker Pro Database Developer

Preparing to Plant – Part 2

Organic Gardening

Organic Gardens by Gordon (my father's strawberries)

After the initial gathering, the first thing I do is jot down all the pieces to what I think will be in the system. For a project like organic farming, and learning what Donna wants to track, these are the pieces that I came up with, in no specific order. Some of these will be the modules or primary sections of the database.

  1. Contacts – this is where every person and company is maintained. Anyone that has anything to do with the farm will be entered here, from customers to employees to vendors, etc. All the pertinent information needed to contact the person or company as well as describing who they and what they do and offer is recorded here.
  2. Costing – this is where all costs are tracked, everything from seeds to labor. There will be a hard goods section as well as a labor/hourly section.
  3. Fields – this will identify the field and will track preparation, crops, rotation, weed/pest control, fertilization, harvest and yield. This section will be linked to costing and sales in order to determine pricing, costs and profits for each field. This section will also be linked to Plants/Crops in order to pull in information about the plants being grown in specific fields. The plant information will be used to determining growing season, fertilizer, weed/pest control, etc.
  4. Plants/Crops – this is were all the information for each of your plants is stored. Here you will define the plant, where to purchase, how to grow, how to maintain, etc. This will also be tied into costing and sales to determine the cost and profitability of each type of plant/crop. To be used in sales, the market and use options will be stored here as well.
  5. Sales – this is where all sales activity is tracked, everything from who to sell to, how to sell and where to sell. This section will keep track of your orders, invoicing and delivery.
  6. Budgeting – this is where all the planning, forecasting and pricing takes place. We will develop something similar to the Excel examples you provided here.

Those are the main sections as I see them at this time. I know I’ve been delayed in getting this off the ground, but hope this information is helpful. Donna, let me know if I am missing any of the main sections.

Next, I’ll dive deeper into each section and define some the items and fields that I think are important.

This is part 2 of a multipart series, see Getting Down and Dirty – Part 1 for the previous post.

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  1. Is this application of FMP for the Organic Farmer in NE still in the works or has it been deployed? I have literally reams of record keeping “paper” and numerous electronic resources that you might find useful.

    Perhaps in communications not shared then you need to consider that an “organic” grower has as much, if not more, record keeping responsibility than a traditional grower. “Organic” has many limitations on inputs (fertilizer, pest control), and up to three years of records before the “label” “ORGANIC” can be applied or used to market the produce. There may also be need to document growing methods in the close proximity to the fields used to produce “organically grown” product.

    We keep the largest repository of Pesticide and Fertilizer products available in the US http://www.tirmsdev.com and publish a monthly list of OMRI Listed (www.omri.org) products here (not all inclusive) >>

    • Hi Don, thanks for the great information. Unfortunately, we never got off the ground with developing the FMP solution for Linda. She may have just got too busy with farming or found a solution already made. I was looking forward to working with her on creating a FileMaker Solution for farmers. Thanks again, Matt.

      • Hi Matt,
        I have a farm in Brazil where I have about 100 cows. I’m currently using a software from a brazilian company, but it has many flaws and it is a complex software intended for huge farms with insemination, etc. The other problem is they charge me a very expensive annual fee to keep the software updated.

        What I need is to create a system where I can keep track of the cows, the children x parents relationship and sales.
        Having the data in it, I need age reports, sales, reports, etc.

        Do you think I can accomplish this with Filemaker Pro? Having it made, the iPad version could be used on the field?


        • Hi Fernando, your idea sounds very doable with FileMaker. FileMaker Go and the iPad would be a great solution.

          My recommendation is to start simple and add as you go along and develop. It might take you a bit to setup and if you hire a developer, there will be an initial cost, but it will be your solution. Just budget and expect to make changes as your business grows and changes.

          If you have questions along the way just ask. I also highly recommend the FileMaker Technet, it’s now free too. A great resource, forum and a way to communicate with other developers.

          Good luck,


  1. […] the database modules/areas. I’m sure I’ll have more questions as I put that together. This will be the subject of my next post. Filed Under: Case […]

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