Wednesday, May 01, 2013

TBF 008 :: 6 Steps to Farm Success, Farm News, and a Hard Lesson Learned

Have you ever wanted to raise your own livestock? Have you ever wanted to work for yourself? Have you ever wanted to become a marketing genius? Have you ever wanted to farm (which is a combination of all of those things)!?! Well, today is your day if you answered "yes" to those questions because today we are excited to introduce "The Beginning Farmers Guide to Becoming a Beginning Farmer In Six Easy Steps". All you have to do is follow these six simple steps and you will find yourself well on the way to becoming the most successful farmer on the block. It get's better though! If you order this six step program today you will also receive, at no extra charge, the companion series, "What You Wish You Would Have Done When You Were Starting Your Farm With Six Easy Steps". Don't delay and order today!

Don't you wish that it was that easy? I know that when I was in the beginning stages of my farm dream I was looking for the perfect/easy formula that would get me well on the way at making my living on the farm. I searched many websites, I read lots of books, and I attended agricultural conferences. The reality is though that there is no six step (or ten or twenty or ... well you get the idea) plan for starting a farm. It's not just something that you can create a formula for, but that doesn't mean that I'm not going to try and make a six step plan for beginning a farm anyways!

On today's episode I've put together six basic steps that I would take if I were starting a farm from scratch (using the benefit of hindsight). This isn't the end all list (it doesn't even come close to covering everything you need to consider), but I believe it is a good basic plan for getting a beginning farm started out on the right foot. There is one thing though that would make this list better ... your input! If you have a step you would like to add or modify or even if you would like to tell how completely wrong I was I would love to hear your thoughts!

"The Beginning Farmers Guide to Becoming 
a Beginning Farmer In Six Easy Steps"

Step #1 :: Farm Location
Renting is the key on this one. I would look for a rural house with 2-7 acres and maybe even some buildings.

Step #2 :: Farm Enterprises
I've said it before, many people have done it/are doing it, and Joel Salatin has been saying it for years ... I would begin with chickens! Both laying hens and meat birds because I'm too impatient to only do one or the other.

Step #3 :: Farm Marketing
Know your story, share your story, get all interneted up (social media, website, etc.), partner with a local vegetable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and attend a smaller farmers market.

Step #4 :: Farm Learning
Find a farmer ... any farmer ... and offer to work for them (and learn) for free! Oh yeah, and raise three pigs as well.

Step #5 :: Farm Goals
Do I need to say anything more than survive and then want to do it again next year?

Step #6 :: Farm Moving Forward
Year number one was great, but now it is time to think about moving forward so we will expand the poultry business and move into marketing pork.

Finally, this weeks "Hard Lesson Learned" has to do with ... well it has to do with "Hard Lessons". Farming in general is basically just one big lesson followed by more lessons and if you aren't ready to be kicked around by the farm a little bit then you better think twice about following that six step plan. Each one of those steps is easily related to a hard lesson that I have learned on my beginning farm.

The Beginning Farmer ShowAs always, thank you so much to all of you who have taken the time to subscribe and listen to the show each week. I hope that I'm growing as a podcast producer and that as time goes along the show just gets better and better. If you do enjoy the show don't forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five start rating and review (by clicking the link or the image on the left) or on the Stitcher App on your smartphone. For those of you that have taken the time to leave a review on iTunes ... thank you, thank you, thank you! It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

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 ...

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

1 comment:

Rich said...

I've always thought that you should start out doing what you have a little experience with (although that might be hard to do if you've never been around anything farm-related).

I knew a little about cattle and had sorta been around them my entire life, so I was comfortable starting with them. I'm not so sure I could have started out with pigs.

You were around pigs when you were younger, so it follows that you might have a better chance of success if you started out with pigs.

On the idea of starting or not starting out with cattle, I'm of the opinion that if you want to raise cattle, you have to start with the idea or goal that you have to be profitable as a cow-calf operation selling weaned calves at the stockyards. Once you can structure your farm to be profitable selling calves, then you can consider adding value to those calves by grazing them a little longer and selling them as feeders (approx. 800 lb.) and/or finishing them and direct marketing them as beef.

By having the option of selling your cattle as calves, feeders, or beef, you spread out some of the risk and can start making money a little quicker initially.

Selling your cattle that way might not appeal to a lot of people, it's still hard to start out that way, I've greatly simplified the entire idea, and I'm probably completely wrong, but that's the way I see it.

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