Wednesday, March 27, 2013

TBF 003 :: It's Chick Week, The 3 D's of Farming, and a Hard Lesson Learned

On this weeks episode of The Beginning Farmer Show I delve into the challenges associated with the "Three D's" of farming. Sometimes it seems like all I do on the farm is deal with distractions, disappointment, and dollars! I'd like to think that I do a fairly good job dealing with these "Three D's", but the reality is that I often have to struggle my way through dealing with each of these and at one point or another they have caused me to think that I can't actually make the farm work. The truth is though that there is no way to hide from distractions or disappointments or dollars on the farm, so you (and I) need to learn to persevere and come out stronger on the other side.

Over 50% of todays farmers have employment off the farm ... and families ... and lives away from the farm ... so dealing with things (or distractions) pulling you in a variety of directions is a challenge that many farmers face. Learning to balance faith and family (which aren't really distractions ... because they are way more important than the farm) with the farm and town job makes things stressful, but not impossible. Recognizing your priorities and sticking to your values and goals is the key.

Livestock get out of the fence, crops fail, weather doesn't cooperate, things break, animals die, customers get angry, animals get angry, and a million other things that you don't (or do) have control over happen all of the time on the farm. Sometimes it's not a big deal, but other times you question everything you are doing on the farm. It is important to learn the lesson from your disappointments ... make the changes that need to be made ... and move on because if you dwell on the disappointments your farm will wither under your worry.

I have always hated when people say that the best way to make a million dollars as a farmer is to start with two million dollars. The idea that farmers can't or won't make any money just frustrates me, but that doesn't mean that the "dollars" of your farm operation aren't important. You need to know where your money is going ... where it's coming from ... how much each enterprise uses ... and how you keep track of everything throughout the year. Running out of "dollars" will ruin your farm in an instant, but if you don't keep a handle on your "dollars" your stress about them will ruin the farm just as quickly.

The Beginning Farmer ShowMy hard lesson this week ... it's an embarrassing one ... deals with that one time that I totally killed the tractor. I mean killed it to the point where it would never drive on my farm again. It was one of those disappointments that almost killed my farm. I'll share a little bit about why it didn't and what I learned from the whole ordeal.

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with The Beginning Farmer and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links ...
TBF Show 003 :: Play in a New Window | Right Click to Download

(if you are interested in the music in this episode check out my brother's record label, Historic Records)


Joe said...

Great observations. As a person who just recently purchased a small farm (9 acres) I too am learning, mostly through hard knox) how to balance family/faith with other work and issues that happen on the property. I totally feel you man. Good words.

Rich said...

It might just be me, but after I started farming I found that I had more faith and grew closer to my family.

There is only so much I can do or control, so I had to have faith that everything would work out in the end. So, I try to only worry about the things that I can control.

The family part is harder to explain, but there is something to be said about building something that will be there for the next generations. Of course, I'm also benefiting from the work of my grandparents and great-grandparents, so I feel like I have an obligation to do the same. (if that makes sense)

What kind of chickens did you finally decide to get?

Mary Ann said...

I'm interested in your chicks too, and don't worry, I've killed two cars in my past, when I couldn't afford to, believe me. Stuff happens. Sometimes it happens so we learn something.

Ethan Book said...

Rich ... I understand what you are saying about faith and family. The biggest thing for me is time. When I get home from town there is often a lot of work to be done outside and most of the time it is something that I can't do with the kids (ages 2-8). Although as they get older I know things will change.

As for the chickens I ended up doing some Red/Freedom Ranger type birds and Naked Necks from a hatchery. The reason I did this is because of availability. I have been in contact with someone about a different heritage breed that we will hopefully begin raising this summer and then use exclusively next year ... more on that later ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for having the availabilty of downloading your podcast without needing iTunes! Is it possible to have this option for your previous posts?
Karyn (from Australia)

Anonymous said...

Listened to your podcast yesterday. You've done a very good job with your presentation. I can only hope you continue on because I found out that I can get ready to start my day and enjoy my coffee while listening to you. It reminded me of listening to a good show on the radio.

I've got a couple of years left before I retire from railroading. Most of our efforts are for our enjoyment and education. I have however found two local outlets for my over planting in the garden that technically have turned this into a paying venture. Not much, but better than a stick in the eye. The potential to expand and profit are there and I have plenty of time to build systems that will make things a little more convenient for me. I'm paying close attention to others in hope of minimizing my "cost of education"

Happy Easter

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