As I've said in other posts, I would like my farm to earn enough to pay for itself -- feed bills, fence, repairs, etc. With that in mind I have reached out to some who do "something" I may like to do, have ability to handle, etc. I love that others are so willing to share info, results, resources, etc. Most of us are to far apart to "hinder" the other ones markets
Yesterday was a total bust of a day with the snow, wet, etc. So I allowed myself to spend time researching what small farms in other areas have done, are doing, for same reason -- support the farm. Now some were just unreal -- foreign countries & even with so much less that I consider inadequate, yet surviving & making a living. OK, one where they had maybe 2 acres and grew 90% of feed for goats & chickens. The hand cut forage and walked it to them, in their small pens. My real OMG moment was when I saw one being milked and saw no washing, no cover on pail, little milk, (skinny doe)
and they sold a cupful at a time. This was via an interview from a TV station in an obviously underdeveloped country. They thought they were all fantastic. Hmmmm...
Malaysia had a very bio-secure farm and the goats were kept in what looked like a barn built as an over the road crossover.
Interesting, to say the least. Never saw a field of grass buy had excellent, nutritional feed/forage....hand fed by many workers who prob got a $1 a day. Excellent milking, vet care, feed, etc. Excellent care, tho odd for us.
Then, there were various (Utube) short videos of those who farm from young to retired & starting. Some were very informative, others could use help. One series had great description of how and why they did certain things for animal raising, handling, pasturing, marketing and reasons why some didn't work, etc., other things did and some changes to help. I especially liked one where they went from scythe cutting to horse drawn side cutter -- did exc job AND I already have the horses. Well, minis, but harness broke and able to do the light cutting. Just have to find a cutter -- PA & Amish. Not as easy as borrowing the sidecutter & use my tractor! Cute tho.
Farmer Markets vary in all areas. Best one here requires a few more dates & times than I would like but, viable. I am looking for another who will "share" a spot. Working. Already have some outlets for my goat soap, can sign up for some craft shows now. Would use the soaps at the F Market, also, plus fresh cut flowers, some veggies, eggs. It's tough getting things working, isn't it?
Start-ups are tough - but that's when you learn what really works and when. A lot will be seasonal, I suppose. Try to make enough in the highly productive times to carry over in the lean times.
I sell plenty of eggs, but other than the occasional goat sale I don't have a lot of 'farm' income. I'll be reducing the goat herd after all the babies hit the ground so that'll help. I'd like to grow a lot more feed, or at least do more rotational grazing, but that would require more time than I can spare until I retire. Just 4 more years!
Hmmm -- always something, isn't it? I retired and found I couldn't adjust so do work PT. Love the farm but feel it should be more than "just" having fun. Then, maybe just having fun is enough -- guess it goes against my work ethic to be doing all the work and not getting something financial back. A lot of this is just pure work. The fun is watching kids play and chicks hatch.
IF I just bought a riding horse & trotted around every day, I could justify doing nothing more than "having fun". Not what I want to do alone.
So, my quest to make feed bills. Yep, I'm going to give much attention to an attempt to raise a lot more feed for the animals. My hens have been fantastic this winter -- eggs even in this crappy weather this week.
Really, that's what SS is about, right? Self contain.
Bad weather leaves tooooo much time to mind-wander.