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spinoff-making money on farm with something besides horses..

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  • spinoff-making money on farm with something besides horses..

    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.

  • #2
    Two Words - Meat Goats

    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

    Comment


    • #3
      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.

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      • #4
        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.

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        • #5
          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?
          David A. Staples
          Pony Tail Acres | Find Us On Facebook

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
            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.
            Veterinarians for Equine Welfare

            Comment


            • #7
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
                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!"

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                • #9
                  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? 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.
                  Click here before you buy.

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                  • #10
                    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.

                    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. "Come on kids, doncha want to pet the badger? Stop crying Johnny, you have 9 more fingers left!"
                    You jump in the saddle,
                    Hold onto the bridle!
                    Jump in the line!
                    ...Belefonte

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                      Ever partaken of chicken meat that came from a bird that's a couple of years old? Good for making stock, maybe.
                      That was my first thought....
                      Mc Nuggets, maybe.
                      "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                      ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        They're called stew hens for a reason.

                        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.
                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                        -Rudyard Kipling

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JSwan View Post
                          They're called stew hens for a reason.

                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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

                            You jump in the saddle,
                            Hold onto the bridle!
                            Jump in the line!
                            ...Belefonte

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Ah, THAT'S where Chicken McNuggets come from!

                                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.
                                Click here before you buy.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  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?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I like the retirement idea

                                    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.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                                      Now don't sell roosters short.

                                      You forgot "alienating the neighbors."
                                      "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                      ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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.
                                        I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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