Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Beginning Farmer ... 2008 Goals

I've never been that much into resolutions. Maybe it is just because they seem so cliche or because most people end up breaking their resolutions, whatever the reason is I've haven't ever been one to make resolutions. Goals on the other hand... I'm all about goals (don't ask what the difference is). I believe it is important to have a vision of where you want to be and how you want to get there. I have goals in my personal life, in my ministry, and now I have a few farming related goals ... of course these goals are subject to change depending on how the year develops.
  1. Read six farming related books ... Knowledge is power, or at least I heard that once. I realize that doing is the key, but I also know that learning is important. I already have three books ready to start reading (see this post) and then I would like to pick out a few more that provide various viewpoints. Along with the reading I will continue to blog about each chapter ... it helps me retain the information and hopefully provides information to others that is helpful.

  2. Begin rotational grazing ... It is important to set goals that make you stretch, but that are also obtainable. I'm not sure if we will be living on farm with our cattle this coming year so we probably won't be ready to do a management intensive grazing system, but we can begin rotating every few days. To begin a rotational system we will have to work on permanent fencing and begin experimenting with the temporary electric fencing.

  3. Add another dimension to the Stoneyfield livestock operation ... We are hoping that we can diversify a bit this coming year. As I have mentioned lately we have been thinking about sheep and hogs. Who knows maybe we will end up with both, but I know that I want to expand somehow. Sheep sounds good because of their pasture management benefits, but pigs sound good because pork is tasty! In order to do this we'll need to do some more research, building, and fencing. Also, we need to think about whether or not we are going to raise grade animals or possibly heritage breeds

  4. Expand our backyard laying operation ... This past year has been a good year of learning with our backyard movable laying hens. I think I would like to redesign our pen this year (make it lighter and slightly larger) and add one or two more hens. Also, we are going to get new layers this year so hopefully we can experiment with a couple different breeds and begin selling a dozen or two eggs. Also, we are going to continue trying out different feeds.

  5. Build a Stoneyfield website and expand the blog ... We are going to begin having animals ready to be marketed in the coming year and plenty more in the years to come so I would like to continue to build a presence on the web. This will not be a main marketing tool (beef and eggs will be sold local), but it will help with our purebred Dexters. Also, I think it can be a great communication devise for potential customers and those interested in learning. As I began my quest to become a farming I specifically started looking for accounts of people who went through what I wanted to do ... I didn't come by many. So, this blog has become an account for those that would like to see the journey from not farming to farming. Not just day to day activities, but also my research, thoughts, and plans. I hope that it is helpful and that others continue to stumble on and comment. The comments that people have shared since I began blogging regularly have been better than any research I could have done because many of them come from real life experience.
So, those are a few of my 2008 farming goals. I'm sure that I will add more as I have time to think about it and as the year unfolds, but these are a good starting point. I pray that you have a wonderful day and a blessed 2008!

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