My “Small Farm Vs. Corporate Farm” Rant

Small farm knowledge is disappearing. The small farm way of life was once standard procedure. In the Midwest the landscape use to be dotted with small farms. Fried Chicken was not from colonel Sanders, it was from Grandma’s backyard pluckin.

There is a huge disconnect from the small family farm. I believe that with the  growing push towards corporate farming, the old school way of life is disappearing. I disagree with corporate farming. Corporations believe that they are the answer to feeding the populous. And their goal is to program that into the next generation and take away their self reliance. Not to mention that corporations are self serving and prefer profits over heath. They feed us antibiotics, growth hormones, and genetically modified products, not because they are healthier for us but because they increase profits.

I talked with a college student in Agriculture studies a few weeks back. At her college they are teaching that GMO’s are the only way that we will be able to feed the growing population. And this comes from a very conservative college. Once again that notion that “we have to feed the population” is mainstream. What happened to the population being able to feed itself.

Well, a United States Department of Agriculture report revealed that in 1935 there were 6.8 million farms and by 2002 only 2.1 million small farms remained. That is  4.7 million small farms lost. Those small farms that were lost could not only feed themselves and others, but they taught self reliance to their next generation.  That individual knowledge of  self reliance is not profitable to  corporations that want you dependent on them.

Luckily, the masses are being slowly  re-educated and are wising up to the corporate propaganda. The push for healthy food is helping create a market once again for the small farm. A market that the big corporations can’t tap into. More and more people are choosing to raise their own meat, even chickens in urban backyards are popping up everywhere.

I believe that small farms can feed our growing population, but the small farms need to do more education and marketing. If you raise healthy meat but nobody knows it, it won’t sell. Make your farm known. Put up signs, join farmers markets, or put ads on Craigslist. The idea of purchasing from a small farm will catch on, and people will realize that meat doesn’t just come from the big box grocery store.

If you don’t have a farm, you can still get involved by supporting your local small farm. Go to the farmer’s market, join a CSA, or put a chicken tractor in your back yard. Find a way to not support the corporations that are counting on you to fill their pockets.

Good Luck !!

 

 

 

 

Multiple Streams of Income

“Don’t put your eggs all in one basket”   is the old saying that everyone should be practicing on their farm, and not just in the hen house. It is wise to not rely on just one feed supplier in case of an emergency. You are using the same concept by having an emergency generator. Backing yourself up just makes sense.

Farm revenue should be no different. You should create multiple streams of income in case one stream’s flow starts to slow down.  The fancy word for this is diversification. You can even  create this in multiple levels, like diversifying your diversification. Now that is fancy.

Farm diversification can be as simple as running cattle and hogs. That is two different streams of income. Or you can be a go getter and run cattle, hogs, raise chickens,  grow a garden to sell vegetables, grow and sell sweet corn, and bale hay. I would rather try to earn a portion of my income from different sources, than try to squeeze as much out of one source as possible and hope it is enough.

If you want to get fancy. Diversify your cattle into multiple streams of income.  Do that by selling replacement heifers, selling bulls, selling to your neighbor for the meat, or renting a bull out for breeding. Diversify your Hogs by selling feeder pigs, market hogs, breeding pairs, and for custom processing. Diversify your chickens by selling eggs, laying hens, baby chicks, and roasters for the meat. Then mix all of their manure together and sell the compost. The key to success is trying to see how many ways you can individually market your products by breaking them down into separate components. Then try to break them down again until you have created as many revenue streams as you can handle.

How many ways can you sell an egg?

Good Luck!!


 

Set your price and stick to it!

I am too nice. I have given out too many deals and lost money on  many sales. When I first started with selling livestock I was lacking confidence in the process.  I didn’t set my price and stick with it, I let customers talk me down on price almost every time. Because of it, I sold a lot of pigs one summer but my profits did not reflecting the volume sold.

I have learned the hard way to set my price and stick to it.  Our customers have to realize that it costs money to get the animals to the point of sale. The sale of offspring has to cover the cost of the breeding stock, plus any cost incurred after weaning. The money and time spent up to the sale is your break even point, your rock bottom price should always be above that point. If you sell your animals at or below your break even point, you are actually paying your customer to take your animals from you.

I have always been customer focused in every job that I have had. Which is great when attracting the sale, and getting the commitment of the sale, but not great when negotiating price. My trick to avoid selling too low is to have everything laid out in advance.  I set my price and also  set my rock bottom price. I set how much I will come down at a time, and know what my answers will be. Example: My price= $100, Rock Bottom= $85, Reduced by $5 increments at a time. If you do not set these in advance, your customer will have the advantage in the negotiation. your customer wants to get the lowest price, and you need to get the highest price.

Good Luck!!

 

Colostrum and the Runt

Helping the runt

We have tried to save several runts, and whole litters that the mom didn’t  take. It is a heartbreaking task because the outcome is bleak without that first lifesaving meal. Colostrum, which is released in the mother’s milk for the first days gives the babies its immunity to the outside world. Without this immunity any little bug it catches can threaten its life.

In the last litters that I had, there was 1 runt. I made sure it nursed off of its mother and I also held it so that it could nurse from another mother who was more agreeable. That extra effort for it to get a supply of colostrum  is what will make the difference in the survival rate of this bottle fed baby.

I feared that it was not going to be strong enough to fight for its place on the lunch line so we took it to the house to be bottle fed.

zoyee and chaps

Here she is sleeping on her stuffed monkey and being guarded by our lil’ pig dog, Zoyee

Thank you,

Burnin R Farms

The Ossabaw Island Pork Difference

You go into the grocery store and shop for pork and think that their pork represents all pork. No!!!! Just because the big box grocery stores only sell bland, colorless, tough, tasteless, antibiotic and hormone filled pork, it does not mean that there is not something out there that is better. There definitely is better pork.

Grocery store pork is from pigs that have been bred over the years to adapt to large confinement production.  They have been bred to have large number litters, and grow at a fast rate. Why? Because that is what makes large producers money. large numbers and quick turns equal more profit. Do you know why they push for lean pork? because it takes longer and costs more to produce a meat with some fat in it. Fat is directly proportional to better taste. No fat equals no taste.

Any “small farm” raised pork will be better than the grocery store pork. But to find the best pork available, you will have to find Ossabaw Island pork. One of the first and original breeds brought to America.

Ossabaw Island pigs have not been genetically engineered to put money in somebody else’s pocket.  They are not an economical pig to raise so no large confinement operation will even remotely consider them. They haven’t been bred to have super large litters, or grow super fast. They are still basically the same pig that they were in the 1400’s.

Ossabaw Island pork is red-meaty-pork with a fat marbling. If finished out correctly they have a very sweet, easy to cook meat comparable to a fine beef. You can have a domestic breed of pig and an Ossabaw Island pig raised the same way, on the same farm, and a taste test will still show a remarkable difference in the meat.

I have sold and eaten a lot of Ossabaw Island pork. Everybody that I know that has had the opportunity to try Ossabaw Island pork, has noticed the difference. The Ossabaw Island Pork Difference.  A difference that makes you want more, a difference that makes you fight over the meat left on the bone.

Thank you,

Burnin R Farms


 

Tyson Chicken- Confinement to Supermarket

For those that have never seen how a Tyson chicken spends its last few minutes on earth. They go from tightly packed-smelly- poop-filled buildings, to being packed into cages on a semi trailer, to the processing plant .

Confinement  to Super Market- not appetizing

Farm to Table- Very appetizing

Please support your local farmer!

This is why I prefer “small” farm raised chicken.

Tyson Chicken Truck

How to market your piglets

 

It is hard to make money with pigs if you can’t get them sold.  Getting started in marketing your pigs will take a lot of trial and error. Every farm’s local market will differ and you may need to experiment with marketing plans to find what is most productive.

I have found that for my area Craigslist works the best. I also try to make sales by word of mouth, networking, Facebook groups, and referrals. I try to get word out in as many places that I can. The further I can cast out my info the better I feel about getting my products sold.

I do make sales from word of mouth, networking, and referrals, but those sales are random and hard to rely on. The Facebook groups I list my pigs on are almost worthless, but fun to watch. The other members of those Facebook groups act like vultures waiting for the unsuspecting person that undervalues his pigs. They latch on to posts to watch. Maybe they are trying to learn, but I have never had a serious inquiry from one of my Facebook posts.

I have sold almost all of my pigs from ads on Craigslist. I post my ads in three local markets as soon as I know how many piglets I have to sell. I advertise them up to three weeks before I wean them. My goal is to have every piglet spoken for before I wean them, the longer you feed them the more money you lose. If you have them listed for sale before you wean them, you are less likely to be anxious to make a sale and less likely to take a lessor offer.

If you have litters planned, but not yet on the ground, don’t be afraid to advertise. Building a reservation list for feeder pigs, gives you a stand-by market. Working off of a reservation list gives your pigs a built in appearance of high demand. The appearance of high demand gives the buyer confidence to purchase and makes them less likely to try to dicker on price. Soon you will be working off of a reservation list because you can’t keep up with the demand.

Good Luck!!


 

 

Selling Litters of Pigs

You had a litter of pigs, now how can you profit from them? they have to generate income for your farm to thrive. Your goal should not be to break even or much worse lose money. Here are 4 considerations for making a profit on your new litters.

1. You must know your expenses. What does it cost to keep the sow and boar? Your sale price of the litters  must cover the expenses of: feed, wormer, bedding, housing, electric for lights and waterers, marketing costs, and any transportation costs.

2. Your sales must exceed your expense. You now should have a grasp on the amount of your expenses. Divide that amount by the number of litters you plan to have and add on your profit margin. That amount can be divided by the number of pigs in the litter to arrive at the selling price of each piglet.

3.  Different areas of the country vary on what a weaned pig is normally sold for. Don’t hesitate to advertise yours for more than the normal. Chances are the lowball sellers are loosing money and won’t be around long as competition. If you start advertising yours for what they are worth, the market in your area will reconsider their prices as well, and move closer to yours.

4. If you plan to make money on raising livestock, plan to invest in quality breeding stock. You will not be able to ask top dollar for a low quality product. Having high quality animals will set you apart from others, and your asking (a price that will allow you to be profitable) will no longer be questioned.

Good luck!