Wednesday, June 12, 2013

TBF 014 :: Selling Meat, Chickens in the Freezer, and a Hard Lesson Learned

If you are a beginning farmer like I am there are plenty of things that can be intimidating. I mean if you're raising animals for the first time ... managing breeding for the first time ... raising crops for the first time ... marketing for the first time ... and so much more, it can be very intimidating. Then you have to factor in ol' Uncle Sam and the rules and regulations for selling meat off the farm and in retail settings. Those can be very scary if you don't know what you are doing ... and when we were starting out it meant many phone calls to various governmental organizations.

On this weeks show I take some time to answer a couple of listener e-mails about some of the legal issues surrounding meat sales and why we decided to go to an "official" poultry processor instead of doing it ourselves on the farm. For some farmers on-farm poultry processing is the only option, but we are blessed to have both a poultry processor and an "everything else" locker so near the farm. My biggest piece of advice when it comes to questions like this is to find farmers in your state that are doing what you want to do and pick their brain a little bit ... the begin calling the state offices of Inspection and Appeals ... and be ready for a little confusion ;)

If you have a question for The Beginning Farmer you can leave a comment below or send us an e-mail.

Beyond all of that it has been a very good week on the farm. Thanks to our amazing customers we had a great week at the farmers' market. For the first time this season we have our pasture raised whole chickens in the freezer. And, on top of all that ... we were able to pick up some nice Hereford feeder pigs from a farmer in Illinois who met me when I took the chickens to the processor. Sometimes if feels like everything is falling apart on the farm and then sometimes it just seems to be working like a well oiled machine. Even though the "well oiled machine" weeks seem few and far between they are awesome when they happen ... and this was one of those weeks!

The Beginning Farmer Show
As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I'm thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn. 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 right). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. 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 ... 

**Special Note :: Because iTunes and Blogger were not playing nicely I now have a different feed for the podcast episodes. You can find a The Beginning Farmer Show specific feed at this link if you use an rss reader. I hope this also helps with some download problems others had been having as well.**

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


Rich said...

I don't know if you got my email about soil testing, but I was wondering if you ever did any soil tests on your pasture?

I rented a farm a couple of years ago a few miles away, spent about $25 on some soil tests on the wheat field, and found out it was extremely low in phosphorus and the pH was higher than usual.

I spent the money on some 18-46 fertilizer, and left an unfertilized check strip (I actually ran out of fertilizer), At harvest I was surprised that the unfertilized strip was full of weeds and very little wheat, while the rest of the field was some of the best wheat I've ever grown.

That experience made me a believer in soil testing, especially when I found out later that the previous renter was a neighbor that stopped renting the farm because he thought it was "worn out" since he never got a decent wheat crop. If he had soil tested and fertilized it correctly, he would have had a different opinion.

Even if you never intend to fertilize (although some cover crops like buckwheat can raise low phosphorus, etc), I think it's still worth it to do some soil tests to see what your soil conditions actually are, and so you can see if you are improving your soils in the future (as the saying goes, it's hard to manage something you aren't measuring).

dfr2010 said...

Thank you for answering my question from last week!

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