Friday, August 17, 2007

Rule #1: No Seedstock Anything...

I've been re-reading some of the farming/grass farming books that I have lately. I'm trying to put together some plans and goals for our farm. Yesterday I landed on the chapter entitled, "The Ten Worst Agricultural 'Opportunities'", in the book You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise by Joel Salatin. According to him, the number one "worst agricultural opportunity" is "Seedstock Anything". He goes on to say, "Leave the purebred business to the independently wealthy folks with deep pockets."

That quote kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember reading it, but I also became pretty set on Dexters early on in my research because the foraging ability, size, and a few other things. Another quote from that section of the chapter states, "Unless a seedstock operation can be profitable on commercial prices, it is not really viable." I am not completely sure where Dexters land as far as commercial prices go, but I know that I chose the Dexter breed not because of seedstock opportunities. I chose them because I thought they could help me fill the freezer beef niche by offering high quality grass-fed beef that is healthy and will fit in your basement freezer. I did not, and do not intend to base my business only on seedstock, but I will admit that I saw that as a possibility because Dexters have a lot of appealing attributes for the "homesteading" type of families.

I am going to spend some time researching a business plan for my Dexters that can take advantage of all of their marketable traits ... whether it be beef, milking, oxen, or even pets. But, I do agree that only being in the seedstock business is something that will take a bit of money and time to build up the reputation of a high quality breeder.

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