Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TBF 094 :: Can I Break Even, The Grinder Mixer Grinds, and a Hard Lesson Learned

**As I transition to I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**

Of all the farming related questions I receive I would say that the majority of them have to do with money. Questions like: Can I make a full-time living? How much will insurance cost? What is the profit margin per hog? Can I at least break even? All of those are great questions, but like many things in life the answer isn't always a yes or no, but rather it is usually "it depends". That was also the answer I had to give for a couple questions that I received over the past week. It's not that I didn't have thoughts on the subject, but sometimes a simple question like, "can I at least break even" just leads to so many more questions. Questions like: What price will you have to charge to break even? Do you have interested customers? How much marketing are you able to do? What about input costs (feed, pigs, water, structure, etc.)? All of those questions and their answers will make it possible to answer the, "can I break even" question.

Very rarely though do I lack an opinion on a farming subject, especially when that subject is pigs! That is why on today's episode I attempt to answer Doug's question about whether or not he could break even raising 3 to 6 American Guinea Hogs (or any pig for that matter) on his three acre property. The easy answer is yes. I mean if you have people willing to pay enough you can break even no matter what, but of course that is where the variables come into play. Once you take all of those into account I think the answer still may be yes, if you can come up with reasonable answers for questions about feed, purchasing feeder pigs, marketing, and so much more.

What do you think? What does it take to raise 3 to 6 pigs and break even or make a profit? Are you doing it now, or are you hoping/planning to do it in the future? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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1 comment:

Bill said...

We raised two pigs on pasture last year and our margin was good. This year we raised four. Two have already been processed and we're almost sold out. The other two are destined for whole hog sausage in January. Obviously we can't make a living selling that few hogs, but we haven't had any trouble breaking even (we don't factor in our own labor,fwiw) and the pork is a great complement to our veggies and eggs. We calculate our cost of production and set our prices accordingly. We educate our customers on why our prices are higher than the grocery stores and they come back for more because of the superior taste (and presumably because they prefer how we treat our animals).

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