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View Full Version : spinoff-making money on farm with something besides horses..



2ndyrgal
Jun. 17, 2010, 04:12 PM
which, obviously, aren't. We have a premium facility. Apparently, we are geographically, undesireable, being exactly 1/2 way between Cincinnati and Lexington. We're on the freeway. We have a billboard. We have zero clients, as the area does not seem to support full care, show type facilities and $600/month board. That's the bad news.

Good news, we have 40 acres, are not "horse poor" (12 stalls, 2 horses). We have another business, seperate from the farm that pays the bills. It would be really, really nice, to find some other agricultural product, the less labor intensive the better, to produce some income. It wouldn't have to make a great deal of profit, as our bills are well met, but enough to take the standard farm deductions to support my dirty little habit.

My husband is a city boy, I grew up with animals and veggie gardens. He thinks you can just fence the back 40 acres in, throw cattle out there and voila'! baby cows and profit. Not quite that simple.

Help.

AQHA4me
Jun. 17, 2010, 04:40 PM
Do some research about the ethnic populations in your area and if you have the numbers to support it meat goats are great! They are not hard on the facilities, don't require tons of management and they are kind of cute.
We have a small herd now and they just about pay for themselves and for the part of the horses. We just started in August, so it hasn't taken long. Just be sure that you have a good vet nearby that understands goats.
As a bonus, they eat the moldy hay I won't feed the horses, trim the weeds and eat all of my leftover vegetables. Gestation is only 5 months, so you will have tons of cute kids to entertain you. And the biggest bonus of all, you can tell people you are a goat herder and they look at you like you're crazy :lol:

Bluey
Jun. 17, 2010, 04:55 PM
Whatever animal you get, learn about them, you really can't just buy them and forget them in the back 40, they need some care, attention and knowledge to know if something is wrong.

Around here, those that just want the tax break from their acres being designated ag value for tax appraisals, contract with a local that has some cattle and rent him the pasture for the season.
The best of both worlds, some animals using your land, paying you for that use, definitely qualifies for ag value (check with your county for any tricky particulars, like how many acres or animal units or weeks a year are needed for that) and you don't have to make an investment in the animals and their care, if you don't have the knowledge, time or money for that.

You can even learn from whoever grazes your land and eventually try it on your own.

SLR
Jun. 17, 2010, 05:01 PM
I have been by your place on the way to Lexington. You have a beautiful pasture. My gentleman farmer father used to rent our pasture to farmers to graze dairy heifers. I don't know how much it would pay or if there's a demand in your area, but it was nice to know they were going to a productive life after leaving our farm. You could check with your county USDA office as they usually have a rate schedule for different farm activities. They might also have ideas for" small farming" and are always willing to help. Your county extension agent is also a good resource.

shortbusgeek
Jun. 18, 2010, 04:37 PM
Free range chickens are easy in small numbers. Granted, we only have 8 at the moment, but it's certainly not a bad way to use one or two of your empty stalls. They eat bugs from around the property and pick the manure pile clean. Not sure how much of a market there is around there for eggs, but at roughly $2 a dozen if you get some black australorps that lay around 5 to 6 eggs a week on average, that's roughly $4 a month per hen in egg income. Then when they're done laying in a couple of years you've got a whole bunch of free range chickens to sell for food. Is there a Whole Foods in your area?

philosoraptor
Jun. 18, 2010, 05:53 PM
which, obviously, aren't. We have a premium facility. Apparently, we are geographically, undesireable, being exactly 1/2 way between Cincinnati and Lexington. We're on the freeway. We have a billboard. We have zero clients, as the area does not seem to support full care, show type facilities and $600/month board. That's the bad news.

While you may have show facilities, you're not in a show area. Scale back the # of hours you budget for each horse and scale back the service. Then do retirement board -- HUGE demand if you can do it affordably. I can't speak for your region, but where I am we're *dying* for affordable, competent equine retirement barns.

Or do lay-ups with the 10 spare stalls you have. In my area the good lay-up farm charges over $30 per day. Lexington is a hot area for horses, and if you can get in with a few of the bigger trainers there, you can keep a steady business.

Or put your feelers out to find a trainer you trust to sublet the extra stalls and unused pastures. This is almost no labor on your part, provided you get someone reliable.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 18, 2010, 06:06 PM
I'm in a similar situation...our location is farther out from the population centers than many of our competitors, and we've had a hard time keeping show/pleasure boarders for that reason. For a while we did well with offering breeding services and foaling out mares but when the economy tanked, we lost those clients who were all breeding Arabs and part Arabs.

I've picked a direction that we are going and we are diversifying from raising only horses to raising pastured poultry and we hope to add grass fed (and finished) beef and pork...and as things go turkeys perhaps as early as next year. This type of farming is directly related to the "buy local, buy fresh" movement and is gaining ground as more and more consumers want to know that the animals they consume are raised humanely and cleanly and without antibiotics and hormones.

My first batch of chickens is here..some hens for laying and some broilers to sell for meat. I have people already lining up for the broilers and fresh eggs. If you haven't had pastured eggs/meat before either, you will not believe the taste..it is excellent!

Since our horse breed we raise already is an ALBC (American Livestock Breeds Conservancy) listed breed (critical) we feel like we'd like to also support heritage and endangered breeds of poultry, beef and hogs. It fits for our farm, our philosophy, and due to our location, it fits into the history of Tidewater Virginia also. We figure that we can open the farm to tours of the rare breeds of farm animals to educate folks also and to bring awareness also to our farm and program.

No idea if we'll succeed or not but the only pasture based farm in our area raising poultry, pork and beef sells out yearly of all their meat....so there is a market in our area and we are close enough to a population center to have a customer base.

subk
Jun. 18, 2010, 06:44 PM
My husband is a city boy, I grew up with animals and veggie gardens. He thinks you can just fence the back 40 acres in, throw cattle out there and voila'! baby cows and profit. Not quite that simple.
Sigh. Mr. subk thinks the exact same thing. He works in an office 60 hours a week and I do everything on the farm. He is just certain that there is nothing involved in raising cows. He wants cows, but I know I'd be stuck doing the work--all while not be appreciated for it because in his mind I wouldn't be doing anything. I wouldn't mind so much if came up with a realistic plan and had some idea what he (me) was getting into, but the "it doesn't take any work" talk means he doesn't have a clue. Nothing on the farm "doesn't take any work!" :D

deltawave
Jun. 18, 2010, 06:54 PM
Then when they're done laying in a couple of years you've got a whole bunch of free range chickens to sell for food.

Ever partaken of chicken meat that came from a bird that's a couple of years old? :lol: :dead: Good for making stock, maybe. :)

I like the idea of a retirement barn, but maybe that area is already full of them?

It's probably a lot of work and a huge learning curve, but goats are at least tough, small critters that probably can't kill you TOO easily. Meat, milk, cheese, kids . . . pretty versatile as a species.

MistyBlue
Jun. 18, 2010, 07:03 PM
I can;t think of any farming that's not labor intensive. ;) You can do rotational seasonal type stuff...like chickens for eggs/meat and then putting in a decent sized pumpkin patch for autumn (pick your own pumpkins) and maybe some Christmas trees? I think those only require once or twice a year pruning for a decent shape and people can cut their own.
Heck, have fun with the chickens and free range them and have a Find Your Own Eggs, LOL! That way you have 3 different "crops" annually and people pay YOU to harvest them. :D :winkgrin: :lol:

Organic stuff is selling well in a lot of areas too. Personally I can barely keep alive a small family garden, so not much advice in growing stuff. Mr Blue jokes that I should find a way to make income here...as a petting zoo. With the wildlife I rehab. Erm...I guess it would be a full contact petting zoo since I only rehab stuff that bites. :eek: "Come on kids, doncha want to pet the badger? Stop crying Johnny, you have 9 more fingers left!" :cool:

Ghazzu
Jun. 18, 2010, 07:15 PM
Ever partaken of chicken meat that came from a bird that's a couple of years old? :lol: :dead: Good for making stock, maybe. :)


That was my first thought...:D.
Mc Nuggets, maybe.

JSwan
Jun. 18, 2010, 07:21 PM
They're called stew hens for a reason.:lol:

Broilers and roasters are not old free range retired layers. They're young, tender and for eatin'. Layers lay. When they're done you use them for stew/stock.

Roosters are for coq au vin or making more chickens.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 18, 2010, 07:37 PM
They're called stew hens for a reason.:lol:

Broilers and roasters are not old free range retired layers. They're young, tender and for eatin'. Layers lay. When they're done you use them for stew/stock.



Some of the farmers use the older hens for pet food also...barf diets for dogs, etc...

Definitely the broilers I raise will not be old and gamey. :) They will probably be slaughtered around 12 weeks old...another 4 weeks longer than the commercial Cornish hybrid broilers take to finish...but I'm not in a race...and I have no interest in dealing with the sluggish hard to raise hybrids they raise in commercial chicken houses.

MistyBlue
Jun. 18, 2010, 07:50 PM
Roosters are for coq au vin or making more chickens.

Now don't sell roosters short. They're also good for:
1) entertainment
2) warning system
3) cardio (running away from it)
4) protection
5) tennis/badminton practice
6) lung capacity (screaming at them)
7) alarm clock;morning, noon and night
8) ambush practice
9) brushing up on your mad ninja skills
10) contact sports

:D

suz
Jun. 18, 2010, 08:37 PM
well here's another potential idea for ya.
since i live on a mountainside just down the road from a popular ski area i frequently get folks stopping by to ask if we rent horses by the hour.
since i so don't i thought, well heck, i have haflingers, why not try some sleigh rides? so picture this---sleigh rides along the brook front and through the woods, returning to hot cocoa and s'mores over a fire. we could also do weddings up at the wedding pavilion, haflinger drawn carriage rides and release white doves--they'll fly home before i get the ponies unharnessed i bet.
what would you pay for a sleigh ride at a ski area or a wedding carriage pulled by adorable haffies?

deltawave
Jun. 18, 2010, 08:41 PM
Ah, THAT'S where Chicken McNuggets come from! :lol:

Sleigh rides. Lexington, Kentucky. Hmmm. Probably the season would be on the short side. ;) Carriage rides are very, very difficult to make profitable unless you don't have to haul your horses around and can keep the carriages working for hours at a stretch, and the liability insurance premiums are really astronomical. One of my college jobs.

suz
Jun. 18, 2010, 08:53 PM
well i live on the only road which goes to a local and popular ski area---so no traveling for me except for the wedding stuff. which could be anywhere i guess. it's always the insurance which makes it so dang expensive, isn't it?

paintjumper
Jun. 18, 2010, 08:58 PM
Folks are always needing a place to retire their older horses. It's something you already know. I personally could not do the "raise it to eat it" thing, I just get too attached to any of the critters to consider them groceries.

Ghazzu
Jun. 18, 2010, 09:42 PM
Now don't sell roosters short.

:D

You forgot "alienating the neighbors."

pAin't_Misbehavin'
Jun. 18, 2010, 09:55 PM
Interesting thread.

DH and I have been experimenting with organic produce the past couple of years. We have a lot of restaurants in our area, and that whole "eat local" thing is gaining momentum with consumers (thank you Alice Waters, Deborah Madison and Barbara Kingsolver). So local chefs will buy from local farmers.

It's not a quick fix, though. If you're like us, the learning curve will take a few years, to find out what grows well in your area (for example, in mine, lettuce will take over the world and sorrel won't even show up).

I wanted to do sheep (locker lambs) or meat goats, but damn it, I just can't ship 'em off for slaughter. No value judgment on those who do - I have plenty of friends who do it, but I just can't. :sigh:

2ndyrgal
Jun. 19, 2010, 01:02 PM
keep them coming. I have no real interest in a "retirement" farm, it seems like all anyone with old horses around here wants to do is kick them out on no pasture for next to nothing, or give them away. No market in this area for the retired, pampered show or race horse.

I've done some layup and "vacation" care, it's just sporadic. The tracks around here are not exactly high end, and there are plenty of places way closer to Lex/Louisville.

I'm thinking meat goats right now. I don't do chickens. Love the meat and love eggs, the live birds, not so much. (chicken catching on a local poultry farm, worse summer job ever, still trying to get the smell out of my nose, and that was 30 years ago).

pj
Jun. 19, 2010, 01:35 PM
Do some research about the ethnic populations in your area and if you have the numbers to support it meat goats are great! They are not hard on the facilities, don't require tons of management and they are kind of cute.
We have a small herd now and they just about pay for themselves and for the part of the horses. We just started in August, so it hasn't taken long. Just be sure that you have a good vet nearby that understands goats.
As a bonus, they eat the moldy hay I won't feed the horses, trim the weeds and eat all of my leftover vegetables. Gestation is only 5 months, so you will have tons of cute kids to entertain you. And the biggest bonus of all, you can tell people you are a goat herder and they look at you like you're crazy :lol:

Feeding a goat moldy hay is just begging for problems. Goat polio for one.
They also need to occasionally (some more than others) have to have feet trimmed. They need to be wormed also. Long term goats isn't a just dump them out to pasture and the money rolls in. I've raised goats for forty years so please believe me.

kookicat
Jun. 19, 2010, 03:24 PM
Now don't sell roosters short. They're also good for:
1) entertainment
2) warning system
3) cardio (running away from it)
4) protection
5) tennis/badminton practice
6) lung capacity (screaming at them)
7) alarm clock;morning, noon and night
8) ambush practice
9) brushing up on your mad ninja skills
10) contact sports

:D

Don't forget 'entertaining folks on COTH when someone writes about them.' :lol:

2foals
Jun. 19, 2010, 04:12 PM
Yeah, in this area retirement board would not work...to charge a low enough rate to get customers you'd have to be subsidizing the horses' care.

And chickens--well, if 2ndrygal had a job as a chicken catcher in the past her mad ninja skills are probably already up to par. I like my DH's little flock of laying hens just fine but I couldn't tolerate a commercial sized flock.

I think the meat goats is a good idea and would likely be very compatible with the horses and horse facilities. We raise Icelandic Sheep for meat and wool, and the lamb (meat) is in very high demand. Some of the people who buy lamb from us have asked if we will ever raise meat goats as they would want some if we did. If you end up doing this, PM me and I will give you the contact info of a friend who owns an ethnic grocery store in Lex who has asked me about the meat goats more than once! :) BTW, recently I ate goat meat in a persian dish and it was delicious.

We have really liked raising the sheep alongside our horses (the main purpose of our farm). They are great for pasture rotation and cut down on mowing and trimming, and cut down on each other's parasites. Even though I grew up on a farm and had experience with a lot of different types of animals, there was a steep learning curve at first. Plus, vets really aren't terribly helpful when it comes to sheep (and I assume goats) so for the most part you've got to figure it out yourself and network a little with other producers with similar stock for advice. Oh, and one nice thing about sheep (and I'm assuming goats, too) is that they don't bring a horrendous contingent of flies the way cattle do.

foggybok
Jun. 20, 2010, 03:25 AM
Now don't sell roosters short. They're also good for:
1) entertainment
2) warning system
3) cardio (running away from it)
4) protection
5) tennis/badminton practice
6) lung capacity (screaming at them)
7) alarm clock;morning, noon and night
8) ambush practice
9) brushing up on your mad ninja skills
10) contact sports

:D


You forgot eagle food....that's where mine went....beautiful bald eagle next door carried him away one day....

goeslikestink
Jun. 20, 2010, 06:47 AM
which, obviously, aren't. We have a premium facility. Apparently, we are geographically, undesireable, being exactly 1/2 way between Cincinnati and Lexington. We're on the freeway. We have a billboard. We have zero clients, as the area does not seem to support full care, show type facilities and $600/month board. That's the bad news.

Good news, we have 40 acres, are not "horse poor" (12 stalls, 2 horses). We have another business, seperate from the farm that pays the bills. It would be really, really nice, to find some other agricultural product, the less labor intensive the better, to produce some income. It wouldn't have to make a great deal of profit, as our bills are well met, but enough to take the standard farm deductions to support my dirty little habit.

My husband is a city boy, I grew up with animals and veggie gardens. He thinks you can just fence the back 40 acres in, throw cattle out there and voila'! baby cows and profit. Not quite that simple.

Help.

go onto the jockeys racing board, and find some trianers
your in a prime place for lexington and racing nationalsteeplechasing.com
or marylandracing.com eprsonanlly mayS has a good surgestion

WaningMoon
Jun. 20, 2010, 08:10 AM
Free range chickens are easy in small numbers. Granted, we only have 8 at the moment, but it's certainly not a bad way to use one or two of your empty stalls. They eat bugs from around the property and pick the manure pile clean. Not sure how much of a market there is around there for eggs, but at roughly $2 a dozen if you get some black australorps that lay around 5 to 6 eggs a week on average, that's roughly $4 a month per hen in egg income. Then when they're done laying in a couple of years you've got a whole bunch of free range chickens to sell for food. Is there a Whole Foods in your area?

Eat a two yr old chicken? Maybe if you stew it all week.

WaningMoon
Jun. 20, 2010, 08:14 AM
When we were dairy farming we supplemented with growing Christmas trees.

Ebvann
Jun. 20, 2010, 08:32 AM
i still like the retirement farm, and not locally, advertise in chronicle or nationwide, people need a place to send their love ones and not just down the street. if you are a good facility people from all over would send their horses to you. sounds like locals are no good but show horse people will pay for their horses retirement. I would at least google reitrement home for horses, find a reputable one and talk to them.

SMF11
Jun. 20, 2010, 09:34 AM
I would at least google reitrement home for horses, find a reputable one and talk to them.

Hey, there are plenty of us on this board!! I think what you are talking about is copying the Paradigm Farms model of boarding. They are in Tennessee and take horses from all over the country. They have a website and a blog. (retiredhorses.com)

I have five boarders on my private farm. I live in a high-end area, with people that have expensive horses. Even here, many people want to pay as little as possible for their horses's retirement. I find offering board at about half the rate of a big place w/a trainer and indoor is what makes sense for me.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 20, 2010, 11:10 AM
What are those retirement farm people charging for board? I could not find their rates on there at all. I wonder if that would be a fit for us also for the horse side of the business?

pippa553
Jun. 20, 2010, 03:34 PM
Is there a farmers market you can commute to, perhaps in the city? I worked on a farm growing up and this is what they did. They grew some unique crops like purple peppers but they made the bulk of their market money on berries, hired teenagers to pick and sell. Christmas trees are a great idea as well as pumpkins.

shortbusgeek
Jun. 20, 2010, 05:20 PM
Nope, never tried eating two year old chickens. We're new to the whole chicken thing but just got 8 of them not long ago. I guess we won't be eating them after all or will be using them for stock / stew. We got them primarily for the eggs though so it's no big deal. :-)

Calvincrowe
Jun. 20, 2010, 05:37 PM
Having raised dairy goats...I just don't think I could raise meat goats, knowing they'd be slaughtered. Goats are just so darn smart, personable and fun to be around. Sheep...not so much. Take that into consideration when thinking about raising animals for slaughter. Even if you aren't the one pulling the trigger (so to speak), it still means parting with young (under one year) animals.

Could you raise hay? Farm alpacas? There always seems to be a demand for alpaca wool around here. Cattle aren't a bad idea--doesn't take many to pay the bills and you have enough acreage for a small herd of cows, calves and steers for sale. Heck, grass fed beef is all the rage locally-if I had more land, we'd have a couple of steers on the place right now!

MistyBlue
Jun. 20, 2010, 07:18 PM
LOL...all the add ons to the Chicken List make perfect sense too.
Never a dull moment with chickens. :lol:

shortbusgeek (love the name, LOL) you'll get used to chickens. While 2 years old sounds like a young animal...in edible years it's "old and stringy" age for many of them. At least as compared to what people are used to eating from butchers, other farms or super markets. But there are some creative recipes for chicken that work with older chickens. Soup/stew is a common one, which is why even at grocery stores the older ones are called Soup Fowl. ;)

DDB, retirement board might work for you. A retirement farm doesn't need to be within an easy daily commute of major populations. Since the horse won't be ridden/worked many owners won't be travelling to visit often anyways. The trick is to get the rep of being conscientious about care and upkeep and especially so about keeping owners updated via e-mail with current photos and news on any changes so they feel comfortable about boarding somewhere they can't get to often. Helps your rep by word of mouth a ton too. Also takes a while to get down the right contract for that type of board...including extra care for health issues and vet protocol and end of life protocol and any health insurance info and what authority you have to choose when vet care or euthanasia is required and that the owner is still responsible for the costs.

And also decide if you're ready for any extra care...many retirees may be fine when they get there but as they age they decline quickly and may need more hands on care to remain comfy and healthy.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 20, 2010, 07:34 PM
Misty Blue...I'd never even thought of it but it is an intriguing idea for certain. We do take care of boarder horses as if they are our own. I do everything from soak hay for heavey horses to custom diets for hard keepers. I've never once had a complaint about the care here...just always the comment that I'm too far out, too much of a drive, no indoor, etc...

Chickens...what a scream! Mine are a week old now and already zipping around the brooder pen chasing stable flies! Man, they are fast! Today one caught a fly and took off and all the others chased him/her to try to take the fly! All of mine are old fashioned breeds that are aggressive foragers and I can see now there won't be a safe bug anywhere around them!

I'm enjoying the chicks...it's bringing back a lot of memories from my girlhood. We always had chickens on our farm and raised our own meat animals. Talk about going full circle....

MistyBlue
Jun. 20, 2010, 07:46 PM
Ah, if you enjoy going the extra mile for the horses that need it and have the time, patience and know-how...then you being in an out of the way location shouldn't be much of a deterrent.
Be sure to think about the added cost of supplements as many older horses are on them. Retirement board is usually set on the low side, but it can be balanced by more turnout and less stall time. But while keeping it low enough to entice clients, make sure you don't end up in the red all the time either.
And be prepared for heart break on and off as you'll most likely be the one making or participating in the end of life decisions and being the one present for those too.
But it can also be very rewarding too being around the oldsters. :)

With the chickens...if you ever use a fly swatter be prepared for the chickens to learn fast what that sound of that slap means and all come running hoping for the dead fly, LOL!

I used to be able to bring in our chickens when I was a wee one by just slapping a fly swatter on the side of the coop...they'd all come running hoping to get the dead fly, LOL!

deltawave
Jun. 20, 2010, 08:08 PM
How about taking in broodmares and foaling them out--a nursery farm? That is what my place has turned into these last 8 months, quite unintentionally! :lol: I'm loving it--don't get "paid" per se, but one mare-sitting job got me free shoes/trims all winter and spring from my farrier, and the other is getting me free board for my show horse at my trainer's barn. :yes:

MistyBlue
Jun. 20, 2010, 08:15 PM
That's not a bad trade DW!
Wish the barter system was a tad stronger around here. Many times things people aren't willing or able to pay for they'll happily swap for another service/item.

DiablosHalo
Jun. 21, 2010, 09:11 AM
OK- this is totally off the beaten path but.... (!)

We started a dog boarding kennel in our 2nd barn. I have 37 stalls and didn't want that many horses any more so I converted our 13 stall bank barn into a kennel. Kept the horse sized stalls- just made safe gates, grates in the windows, closed it up mostly air tight unless I opened stuff up for ventilation. We run a heater in there during the winter and have stall fans in the summer. It is very comfortable in there! We offer "the farm experience" for dogs and they love it!

The stalls are matted and we bed on pine shavings. Use 5g horse buckets for water (unless it's a small dog!). We also put a crate in each stall so the dog has something to go into if they want. The barn setup has the center aisle barn and then a huge room off the back (like 40x20) that has concrete floor. We use that as our indoor play area and our round pen (wooden fence- not pipe gates) as our outdoor play area. The one drawback is the lack of sunlight in the barn. We leave lights on- but it's not the same.

Some people love it- some don't like it (would rather stay at the local vet with concrete floor and doggie door to outside). We can't add doggie doors to the outside bc one aisle of stalls opens up to outside stalls and the other aisle would open up into storage rooms.

My husband and I are actually discussing making our new (6-digit) barn a kennel and use the bank barn for our personal horses. IF we get it up/running full time- we won't need horse clients at all! Which would be great bc I have very limited acreage! The new barn would be great bc it's a double shedrow barn. We could shut the doors and that would be the play area- the shedrow all the way around the barn! It has sand aisleways. The only bad thing would be heat/cooling since it's so big. But- it could be done!

Anyway- just something else to think about! You could start a kennel and then have a hay guy come cut the back 40!

carolprudm
Jun. 21, 2010, 10:55 AM
I raise meat goats, selling maybe a dozen a year direct to our local Halal butcher.

Goats, particularly baby goats, are very cute. When they are born all male goats are destined to become meat. I treat them kindly but DO NOT make friends. Same with any female goats I do not intend to keep.

They are dewormed and well fed on our big pasture, then one day I load them up in the horse trailer and take them downtown.

Blue Eyed Tovero
Jun. 21, 2010, 11:24 AM
When I decided to quit training and doing full care/showing, my husband and I lowered our board rates and take in retired horses only. Not nearly as much work keeping retirees happy as it was doing full care and keeping horses show ready. Without lessons and training going on my indoor was available all the time so we began leasing it out to 2 dog agility clubs. They keep their equipment in one end of the indoor behind round pen panels (so I can still ride) and use it 5 evenings a week, around 4-5 hours. We get paid $25 per night, which covers insurance, electric, port-a-potty and some profit.

LauraKY
Jun. 21, 2010, 11:34 AM
Have you really tried to make a go of your facility? I have a friend in Walton, KY who is doing really well. She's an accomplished dressage rider, all around expert in almost everything (even drives and was a polo pro). She has started horses for the track, etc.

She has horses in for breeding and foaling out and teaches lessons, mostly to kids. I think a large part of her income comes from summer camps. She has a one year waiting list.

It sounds like you don't have many school horses. Perhaps you should think about changing your emphasis. It sounds like your board is on the high side for the area. A better marketing ploy may be to reduce your board to $450 or so with the requirement of one lesson per week.

Then you need to advertise, advertise, advertise. Newhorse.com is free, as are a lot of other equine sites. A listing on craigslist every once in a while will point people towards your website. Having a horse for sale on your website will direct a lot of attention to your farm also.

I couldn't find a website for your farm...that's extremely important. People want to know about you and your facility and face it, we're all lazy now and don't want to make a phone call. Lots of pretty pictures. Weebly.com has a very easy do it yourself web page maker and hosts websites for free. It's a good start. A Facebook page for your farm wouldn't hurt either. If you can get a camp up and running this summer, advertise in the local papers. You just need to offer lessons, crafts, horse care instruction, etc. Since you have an indoor and hopefully a heated lounge, you could also offer camps over the holidays or on school breaks. The days after Christmas are a really good time. By the 27th they are sick of their toys, their family and their siblings. Day after Thanksgiving is the same thing.

But, you really need to start with the website.

We're down in Richmond and have a waiting list and we're at the high end for the area, so I really think you may not be pricing your product correctly for your market. Let's face it, no one makes money in horse boarding...it's the extras that pay the bills, lessons, training, etc.

2ndyrgal
Jun. 21, 2010, 02:55 PM
I tried the "school horse, lesson route" when we first opened up. I think I know the farm in Walton, is she a quarter horse person? I had 4 nice schoolies, about 12 kids right off the bat that kept no-showing and cancelling with the "well, you're there anyway, what difference does it make?" I was way way cheap on lessons to. I'm not really interested in the summer camp thing, there is a barn in verona that does that, apparently quite successfully, I'm just not going to go that route again. Is the board high end for the area? Yes, I already know that, but, I'd rather be empty than operate at a loss just to fill the barn. If you read my initial post, I'm looking for something "besides" the horses to produce income. I already know that my area does not economically support a high end barn. I'd rather save the wear and tear on my horse facilities (and the related drama) and do something else with it. Before I built the indoor arena, I had 2 "A" circuit trainers come out, and tell me that "if I build it, they will come", in fact, they were thrilled to have somewhere else high end, and get some more potential lesson/show clients. So.... we got it done about the time that even the upper end barns are having clients scale back dramatically. It is what it is, I still enjoy my barn, and my solitude, and I have advertised, a lot. I don't have a website yet, but oddly, I get a response a day from my ad on newhorse.com. But they're weird, need home for horse I can't afford, need boarding for horse I am trying to buy, need a job, need a donation for horses I can't afford, only a couple of "real" leads. Add clearly states full care only, still getting self care/pasture responses. I answer all of them, including the lady that wanted to rehome 5 rescues she took because they "were free" and she thought she'd make $$$ selling them....

So I'm looking for something "else", because unless Dry Ridge becomes the new mecca for dressage, I'm going to be empty for a long, long time. I'm not dropping my rates just because I'm geographically undesireable. My indoor wasn't any cheaper because it's not in downtown Lexington. The horses were never intended to turn a profit, just break even and produce income, I won't do it at a loss for other people.

MaybeMorgan
Jun. 21, 2010, 03:21 PM
So, you have already said:

You hate boarders (from previous posts)
You won't drop your rates even though they are way high
You won't do partial care
You won't do retired horses
You won't do lessons or camps
You won't do chickens

I'm guessing you won't do any Westen riders

I dunno, I just can't figure out what the problem is......

(However, the people replying are giving wonderful information for other people on farms who may need to diversify.)

LauraKY
Jun. 21, 2010, 05:09 PM
So, you have already said:

You hate boarders (from previous posts)
You won't drop your rates even though they are way high
You won't do partial care
You won't do retired horses
You won't do lessons or camps
You won't do chickens

I'm guessing you won't do any Westen riders

I dunno, I just can't figure out what the problem is......

(However, the people replying are giving wonderful information for other people on farms who may need to diversify.)

OP. Wow. Just Wow. Guess you didn't do your market research. Hope you got a nice tax deduction for your facilities. And yes, cows are a lot of work. So are goats, sheep, alpacas, etc.

And no, the farm in Walton is not a QH farm, although she does have 2. Mostly TBs and mostly race breeding. But, you have to be in the know and know the right people. She does. And she's very smart at knowing what the market wants. Hence the 1 year waiting list. Some people have a marketing sense some don't.

Sounds like, for tax purposes, you will end up as a hobby farm.

And as for the weird emails, we get them too. But we also get some very interested new clients. Because we have a website and they know what we offer. You have to make it easy for new customers, not hard.

2ndyrgal
Jun. 21, 2010, 07:06 PM
Read original post. I don't hate boarders. I would love to have some boarders that are willing to pay an appropriate rate for a top notch facility and wonderful care. I have already determined, and admitted, that the market for that in my area, simply does not exist. And no, I'm not interested in doing it for less just for the sake of doing it. It doesn't matter where or how I advertised, I've spent big money advertising, I have a billboard on the freeway, I 've advertised in the COTH (not cheap). The response from those willing to pay a fair price for what I have is that we are just a bit too far out. Probably the same reason that 20 miles from me, there are subdivisions with million dollar homes. There aren't any out here. Hell, the little town we live less than 2 miles from doesn't even have a decent place to get a steak. The high end restaurant in Dry Ridge is Cracker Barrel. Then Denny's went out of business. That should have told me all I needed to know. I did my research, I talked to BNT's both north and south of my farm. They came to see it. They were thrilled. I placed my adds. I can easily pay my mortgage and not keep the first horse on the property. The AQHA/WP people would be welcome, and welcome to bring in a trainer, that's not what I do, I've had zero interest from them, in spite of advertising to them early on, both at the Congress and in the AQHA mag.

I don't care for chickens.
I get weekly calls for someone wanting to "retire" a horse to my gorgeous pastures if only I'll come and pick him up and keep him forever. for free.

I get calls from mom's who want pony rides, and beginner lessons, which I've already tried. Didn't make enough to pay for the extra horses.

I had mom's show up with DD and say "well, I don't have $$ to pay you this week, but I just couldn't tell my daughter she couldn't have a lesson, so I brought her anyway." That was fun. Don't get me started on the bounced checks....

I posted this, because I was interested in ALTERNATIVE sources of income, and some posted with very good ideas. I did NOT ask for ways to market the horse business further. I know how to market, I know how to price, we have another business that both sells retail and on installment contracts. Sometimes, you just aren't willing to sell something at a loss just because you think you should be selling something. Sometimes, it's worth what it's worth and you just have to wait it out.

I've had a lot of positive response about the meat goats, and I realize that produce or livestock of any kind are work, not worried about that in the least.

I had someone once come to see my farm, loved it. Wanted to bring their horses right away. Thought the board was a bit steep and asked me to lower it so they could afford it. When I said that I had told them over the phone how much board was and that I wasn't prepared to lower it (at least not THAT much) I was accused of being selfish for not wanting to share what I have with others. I was so stunned I didn't know what to say or think. Perhaps I should let them use my car, truck and trailer and my house because theirs isn't as nice as mine. I have always been prepared to pay what something was worth to get what I want. People can decide what it's worth to them, I know what my time and the facilities I have are worth to me. Apparently, it isn't to others, but my short forray into boarding let me know quite quickly how much wear and tear that horses can do, and how quickly the pastures go. I'd love to have a trainer lease the facility from me, and I've had calls. Let's just say that they want a place to work out of with no investment and that the monthly offer was less than my liability policy per year.



Let's keep to my original question which was "alternatives" to the horses.

JanM
Jun. 21, 2010, 10:31 PM
I think renting your unused pasture area to a local beef cattle farmer is a good idea but only if you cover the extra insurance needed, don't have zoning problems, and have suitable fencing plus good water supplies. It should be fairly easy for you since (my uncle used to rent his out this way) the farmer supplies the cattle and the feed-you only need a reliable water supply and maybe some kind of run in shed big enough for the herd (my uncle's place was well treed and that worked for shelter). My uncle's place had a great water supply, and good fencing (for the area-out west it was wire) with a cattle guard to keep the cattle in the fencing and allow easy entry and exit for the farmer and my uncle's family. It worked out very well for them, and with the right leasor it could work for you too.

And maybe you could find someone with goats to rent the land and barn too. I think it depends on the set up you have, fencing, and water supplies, plus any shelters you might have to construct.

ReSomething
Jun. 22, 2010, 12:25 AM
What was the farm used for before you bought it? Historically speaking I mean. Cattle? Tobacco? Hay? Timber?
The neighbor behind us leased the old place back there and had about 20 couple plus a bull. He did well enough to keep at it but took poor care of the fences and eventually got the boot after the cows came a calling one too many times.
If it was timbered that's out, but tobacco and hay are still viable options.

If you want to get a little out there, down the road from me is a Hunt Club, they get some pretty nice deer out of there every year, there's a plant nursery and a guy with an exotic animal collection that he takes to fairs, an orchardist who does on farm sales of value added products like juices, jellies and jams etc- he hires the exotic animal guy for a petting zoo and gets folks out for the entire day to do u-pick pumpkins around Halloween. Cattle might be less intrusive.

tle
Jun. 22, 2010, 12:58 AM
"I know how to market, I know how to price"

Sorry but you may know about it in your other businesses but it seems that you have a blind spot where your farm is concerned. No one would argue that the folks at Tiffany's know how to market and price too... but that's probably why they AREN'T located in Podunk, Ohio too.

The old adages "location, location, location" combined with "something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it" seem to have you over a rough spot. Anywhere else... a little farther north or a little farther south, and your marketing and pricing would work out fine (or so it sounds). But with where you are, they simply do not. You're obviously well versed in how to do these things, but you're being a bit blind and stubborn to the fact that while YOU value your time and facilities at $XXX... your immediate market simply does not. Seems your options when it comes to the horses are easy -- lower the pricing to what your market will support, or don't in which case you know how that works.

Good luck on what you decide.

deltawave
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:04 AM
Game birds for "sportsmen" who buy them by the score, let them loose, and shoot them? :rolleyes:

I have a couple of patients that do this--don't need much room, and a good 1/3 of the birds that escape predation and the Great Hunters fly right on back home and can be sold again the next weekend to the same yahoos. :lol: Chukkers, pheasant, partridge . . .

LauraKY
Jun. 22, 2010, 11:16 AM
I LIKE Cracker Barrel! Doesn't sound like a down side to me at all. And I love living in the country (from Baltimore horse country, will never go back). I did some further checking and it looks like your property is limited to 2 horse shows and no indoor...did you manage to fix that. I can well imagine that no one would pay $600 for a property with no indoor.

LauraKY
Jun. 22, 2010, 11:18 AM
From what I found (just really curious) you are limited by the county to 2 shows, no trailers and no indoor. I really don't see how you can justify $600/month with no indoor. Even in Lexington.

2ndyrgal
Jun. 22, 2010, 03:29 PM
Apparently you are pulling up old board of adjustments restrictions. We were going to be limited originally to 2 commercial horse shows per year (of course we have an indoor) and because this county is chock full of relatives and good ol' boys, the powers that be (that either live on our road or are related to someone who does) tried to put restrictions on how many horse trailers we could put on the property. We got past all of their "restrictions" by simply NOT holding any horse shows. At the point we decided not to actually hold shows, we are zoned for almost anything else we want to do agriculturally speaking. A fact which I pointed out to them when the neighbors across the street didn't want us to board horses because of the "smell". These are people that have 40 head of cattle grazing right outside their bedroom window. They were worried about horse trailers going in and out along our narrow road until I pointed out that everyone on the road, and I mean everyone, either has a stock trailer for cattle, tobacco wagons, a bass boat or all three. We fought for two years and had to give up on ever having shows, just to build the indoor, although I can have clinics. The laws were written by the uneducated and are loosely interpreted by the uninformed, all of whose family trees branch off far too few times, and it's not who you know, it's who is related to you and on what cycle the election years fall around here. The county is still dry if that tells you anything.
We have a 72x184 indoor with fabulous footing. $600/ month is not out of line based on the facilities. Again, not based on location.

Laura in KY, I'm not sure exactly why you need to keep harping on my property and it's lack of suitability and my "blind spot" . Honey, I'm not blind, my original post said "the horses aren't making it" (insert here that while it would be more fun for me to have a handful of educated, paying clients that wanted to pamper their horses and pay for the privledge) and "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" if the horses EVER pay for the place. They won't. Not now, not ever, not in this lifetime or the next. I am very very aware of that. I have the best CPA firm in the business, this is a specialty for them, I'm following all the rules, I'm not concerned.

I already harvest some very wonderful hay, I keep some, barter some for the baling, and sell some. I'm looking for.....


Something Else. Not horses. Not children. Not Camps. Not pasture boarders. Not a reduction in price which is not worth my time or effort. (again, for some it would be, but my hourly rate at my other business more than pays the bills, and there are only so many hours in the day. ) If the barn had 4 or 5 clients at $600/month, I would simply hire horse help. If they pay less, I have to do the labor. I'd be fine with that, but it would cost me far, far more to replace myself at my other business than I'm willing to spend on and "outside" person, and a lower rate wouldn't allow me to pay anyone a fair wage. "free" help in exchange for something doesn't usually work out as well as you hope, I've been there too.

I'm not sure why you keep rehashing the same subject over and over. READ. Slowly. For. Comprehension.

I'll use little words.


Something. Else. Not Horses.

If you don't have an idea, then sit quietly on your hands and let people with experience in alternative sources of income (NOT HORSES) put in their two cents worth.
Please.

kinnip
Jun. 22, 2010, 03:41 PM
Now don't sell roosters short. They're also good for:
1) entertainment
2) warning system
3) cardio (running away from it)
4) protection
5) tennis/badminton practice
6) lung capacity (screaming at them)
7) alarm clock;morning, noon and night
8) ambush practice
9) brushing up on your mad ninja skills
10) contact sports

:D
Yup! Mine also keep my physician busy and the producers of Cipro in business.

LauraKY
Jun. 22, 2010, 03:45 PM
My, my, my, how did you ever land in Kentucky? Home of the unwashed and uneducated? Remember, if you go into livestock, you may need some help from those stupid rednecks you so despise. I'm done. Good luck.

casper324
Jun. 22, 2010, 04:16 PM
Organic Co-Op farming where people rent space on your farm to plant their garden.

Dogs...........30.00 a day dog board vs 15.00 for a horse and no stalls to muck. No drama a 1.50 can of good dog food and a ball.

:cool:

zakkandtoto
Jun. 22, 2010, 04:34 PM
You would still be able to hire help if you dropped your board. You have pasture and your hay is cheap in KY. If the horses were out for 12+ hours a day on good grass pasture, you could feed them for $60/month. That's feeding either Ultium or TC Senior. No hay in Summer. No supplements. Add $40/month for shavings.

It would take no more than 2.5hrs a day to turnout/muck/feed ten horses. You could hire someone for $1,000/month. If you charged $400/month, you'd have $2,000/month to go towards your other expenses. You wouldn't be taking a loss at all.

If you're just trying to get yourself Ag Exempt, free lease the property to a hay grower. It's what I do. Saves me thousands a year. The hay farmer carries his own insurance, sprigs when he needs to, and makes due without irrigation.

2ndyrgal
Jun. 22, 2010, 04:34 PM
with the exception of LauraKY that is. I've had my picture taken with the Governor, in his office. He calls me by my first name and answers my emails. But... I'd be lying if I said that I don't come in contact with people on a daily basis that fit every stereotype that Jeff Foxworthy ever came up with, but I love the Commonwealth and after having spent the last 12 years here, wouldn't consider anywhere else. I meant the "elected" officials in our county that make up the rules to suit themselves, I've never been in such a "good ol boy" place in my life and I thought I grew up country.

I've gotten some really helpful responses about more agriculturally suited pursuits than horses, including a PM about medical marjuana (I'm afraid I'd have too much competition from the local pros for that) and a couple of ideas for boarding kennels (which I've managed for others in the past) which oddly enough, I'm zoned for. Also animal slaughter, crematorium, and though the county tried to play hardball about the indoor, I explained to them that according to their "zoning" I could put as many free range hogs as I wanted to on the property. THAT got their attention in a hurry. It got down to "don't piss me off too bad, cause I have enough money to put really really unattractive, smelly, disgusting, traffic causing crap out here and make y'all just choke on it. So they decided they LOVE my indoor (even gave me a permit on a variance to put it closer to the road than they wanted). They've decided that we aren't really bad, city people interlopers after all, and decided that hey, it's handy that the "new neighbors" have a bucket truck, a tow truck, a dump truck and every tool known to man. Yep, they love us now.

tle
Jun. 22, 2010, 04:51 PM
After your last reply to LauraKY, I have but one more thing to say.... being snarky, rude, sarcastic and obstinant when people are trying to give you advice is NOT going to get you diddly-squat. People ARE trying to help you here... perhaps you are the one who should READ. Slowly. If you don't want to take the advice, that's up to you... but no need to be a sh#t about it.

FWIW, I'm the one that said you had a blind spot where your farm was concerned... not LauraKY. Based on the statement of yours that I quoted, I stand by that. Knowing that you're talking in terms of numbers based on how you could replace your labor in one business to cover another... the jury is still out. I still think you could make it work if you watned to, but obviously you want the perfect answer that doesn't create more work for yourself. Good luck.

deltawave
Jun. 22, 2010, 05:42 PM
Something Else. Not horses. Not children. Not Camps. Not pasture boarders. Not a reduction in price which is not worth my time or effort.

A job in an office would fit the description. Honestly, your list of "don't wants" is pretty long and your list of "willing to dos" is pretty short. :(

SMF11
Jun. 22, 2010, 05:43 PM
I have to do the labor. I'd be fine with that, but it would cost me far, far more to replace myself at my other business than I'm willing to spend on and "outside" person,

I think this might be the crux of your problem -- it sounds like you are looking to make the same amount as you do in your other business. I don't know of ANY agricultural pursuit that pays well on a per hour basis.

For example, I was going to suggest niche crops, like saffron. I've done some research, and it sounds pretty easy to grow. But the harvest is labor intensive . . . so your per hour pay would end up being low.

I would also add that I'm on our Town's Planning Board, and one thing I have learned is that applicants tend to get back the same kind of attitude they come in with. It is a life lesson. If an applicant is friendly and cooperative, the Planning Board is friendly and cooperative. If the applicant is hostile and itching for a fight, they generally get one. I have taken this, and tried to apply it to my life. Just something to think about.

And can I say I always look for LauraKY's posts -- they are smart, helpful and I usually learn something.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 22, 2010, 06:06 PM
You would still be able to hire help if you dropped your board. You have pasture and your hay is cheap in KY. If the horses were out for 12+ hours a day on good grass pasture, you could feed them for $60/month. That's feeding either Ultium or TC Senior. No hay in Summer. No supplements. Add $40/month for shavings.

It would take no more than 2.5hrs a day to turnout/muck/feed ten horses. You could hire someone for $1,000/month. If you charged $400/month, you'd have $2,000/month to go towards your other expenses. You wouldn't be taking a loss at all.




Wow, I wish making money boarding horses would be so simple. Don't forget payroll taxes, farm insurance, care and custody insurance, bedding, depreciation, utilities, etc....

Boarding horses is generally a difficult way to make money and you don't make much at all. If you can't charge a fair rate to cover all of the above, don't bother. It's not worth the hassles.

katarine
Jun. 22, 2010, 06:57 PM
Marijuana

Meth

Recycling copper- steal a bunch of AC units from churches, there's rarely anyone there

kidnapping and ransom notes. Really juicy ones.


Charm school. Hey,it ain't camp and it ain't horses and it may well be needed, miss Use Small Words LOL

2ndyrgal
Jun. 22, 2010, 08:45 PM
but as one of the previous posters stated, as well as several pm's I received, making money boarding is damn hard, in fact, both the trainers I spoke with before we started this little folly said that boarding is not the money maker. Clients with lessons, training and horse sales is.


Charm school. I like that. Let's see.

I have the room.
Absolutely a need, not only in this immediate area, but nationwide, (ship ins pay more)

finding a good instructor might be a bit tough.

Presumably, all applicants will already be potty trained.

As much need for adults as children.

We won't bother with place settings or china, since I've been told this area only supports paper cups, plates and plastic silverware anyway.

I think we have a winner.

Oh, here are my latest three "small words"

Bless. Your. Heart.

deltawave
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:23 PM
Nice. No further questions.

pAin't_Misbehavin'
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:32 PM
We won't bother with place settings or china, since I've been told this area only supports paper cups, plates and plastic silverware anyway.

I can't imagine why you're having trouble attracting clients in your area.:confused:

:lol:

2ndyrgal
Jun. 23, 2010, 01:55 PM
this gets out of hand quickly. I got defensive because people continually tried to tell me that I wasn't approaching my "horse business" properly. I can assure you, that we were, and did. I'm always polite when dealing with the planning and zoning people, however standing up for myself has been necessary with them as not only do they have the ability to have "closed door" sessions and make decisions amongst themselves, they don't have anyone, truly, that is really qualified to interpret the rules they do have. Case in point. We have a sign on the end of our barn with our farm name and the phone number. A big sign. Right smack dab facing I-75N. It is 8 ft high, 40 feet wide with letters three feet high. County told me that it was advertising and wasn't allowed. I explained to them that based on their rules and my property road frontage, that, indeed, it was allowed under the zoning. After much posturing, county conceeded that it was allowed then promptly charged me $300 for a "sign permit" fee. Now, I couldn't find anything, anywhere in the codes where there was a "sign permit fee" but,,, I paid the fee, and the sign is up to this day. I pick my battles fairly wisely.

While I'm more than capable of getting an attitude on this bb, I've more than learned how to conduct myself in "real life", thank you.

As to the net worth of my neighbors, lets just say that within a 5 mile radius of my farm probably a good 40 % live in either singlewide trailers or government subsidized housing, I doubt I've underestimated anyone's net worth. There are "pockets" of more upscale homes, pockets of just regular houses.

As usual, people seem disinclined to actually answer the original question which was I wanted to find something unrelated to the horse business to produce income. Never said it had to be income comparable to what I make at my real job. The reason that I'm not interested in dropping rates to try to fill the barn is that I believe people that board horses expect certain timetables and things to be done a certain way, every time, every day. I did when I boarded my horses elsewhere. If I can't make a bit of money and charge what I should, then I still have to work full time at my "real" job, with a sometimes less than perfect schedule. If mine don't get fed or turned out til 7-8pm, no big deal, if it's someone paying board, they have a right to expect that when they show up to ride at 7, their horse has been fed and watered, every day.

To those of you that actually had helpful answers or at least ideas for something different, thank you. To that bunch that want to preach to others about what they should be doing, but don't have their own barns, and don't really have a clue what it costs to build and maintain a nice facility and feed the best hay, bed deep and keep the pastures lush, then your opinions were processed and dismissed.

My comment about the paper plates didn't mean I thought folks around here use them, just that posters had decided that my area is less than idea.
When all else fails, state the obvious.

Sleepy
Jun. 23, 2010, 03:06 PM
What is saving family farms here is agri-tourism and CSAs. I LOFF my CSA and am going to go into serious withdrawal when the season is up even though I can run to the Farmer's Market at lunch. That said, startups can take awhile to get going and it helps if you already know how to farm. And yes, it is a LOT of work, even though a lot of the ones around here require a labor contribution as well as a monetary one. But if you are within 45 min of a relatively upscale area, this may well be the way to go.

I would start small with berries, cukes, tomatoes and lettuce. Something you know everyone wants.

You might also look into starting a vineyard, although I don't know how well wine grapes would do in your area. This, too, is a lot of work and requires specialized knowledge and takes a while to get going.

Your extension folks should be able to give more suggestions.

BeeHoney
Jun. 23, 2010, 08:34 PM
Well, I happen to agree that I don't see any point in doing "below cost" boarding. The idea that the OP should drop her boarding rates below her breakeven point because "that's what the market will bear" is absurd. Boarding other people's horses is extremely time consuming and a huge responsibility--definitely NOT something to do if you aren't getting paid for it.

2ndyrgal
Jun. 23, 2010, 09:26 PM
about 15 minutes from us. In the next county. Our county is dry, so I could grow grapes, and probably produce wine. I just couldn't sell it in the county.

We're about 40 miles north of Lexington. I'm not sure the agri tourism thing would do terribly well, there are so many working horse farms to tour in Lexington. Nothing really "special" about this particular area. Small farms, tobacco, cattle. Hay.

twofatponies
Jun. 23, 2010, 10:08 PM
The leasing idea is not bad - around here many many "hobby farm" or even just big property fields get farmed for hay or corn by area dairy farmers. Sometimes they are leased, sometimes it's a "if you work it you can have it" situation.

It's also not uncommon for landowners to lease pasture to beef or dairy farmers for grazing. One fancy horse farm changed hands a while back and the new owners didn't want horses or boarders. A nearby farmer now has his beef and dairy cattle grazing there, in various age groups and combinations. In that case it's right near his farm, so it's easy for him to truck cattle in and out when he needs to move them.

There might be an area farm association of some sort that could put you in touch?

Just some ideas...

2foals
Jun. 24, 2010, 12:36 AM
We've grazed cattle on our farm in the past, I think we made something like $5/month per head.

Let me lay out the math exactly here: 10 cows = $50 cash plus at least a couple hundred $s worth of free fence removal per month plus free cow patties for the dogs to roll in. Labor wise they weren't too bad...well, as long as you don't count fence repair and time spent rounding up loose cattle.

Checking in with your county extension agent is a great idea. Not only might they have some good ideas, they often have grant money for certain types of agricultural projects, depending on what animals/plants you have. We have benefitted from some of these grants in the past, definitely worth the trouble.

BTW, I think it is perfectly fair to choose not to do low end boarding or camps in favor of diversifying into non-horse based activities.

MaybeMorgan
Jun. 24, 2010, 01:03 AM
Ill have to tell my BO we are low end because it's a lot less than $600/mo.