Farm income

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Rob30, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. Rob30

    Rob30 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My wife is looking for an on farm income. We raise goats, pastured pigs, veal calves. However we don't have enough stock to fully compinsate for her off farm income. Plus the income from the stock comes in spurts. At some point it will level out.
    We are looking for ideas for on farm income until we have enough stock. At this point we are both off farm to much to do all the work, but if my wife stays home our income will drop and we would find it hard to expand. She doesn't make much, but it helps.
    Any ideas?
     
  2. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What resources do you have to work with? 'Farm' to some of us is several 100 acres of corn/soybeans. 'Farm' to others is 4 acres of wooded pasture. Real dry, real wet, real wooded, real rocky, what are we working with?

    Does your wife like marketing, does she like working with people, does she love livestock, does she love dirt & seeds, does she like doing holiday arrangements or working with paper & greeting cards....? What will she do well at? She will be _way_ more successful with something she does well at, than trying to force something that makes sense on paper but she'll hate.

    Are you near a town that has a farmer's market, are you in a place that needs a lot of heating fire wood, are you way way out in the boonies not near any people, etc. Is hay needed in your area?

    Need to take an inventory of what you have. You'll get good ideas here, but you really didn't explain anything of what we are starting out with.

    --->Paul
     

  3. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Rambler has some very good questions. If she is going to market farm produce on a small scale and expect to make any money it needs to be value added and well marketed. i.e. Don't sell "ducks", sell "free range organic sustainably farmed dressed ducks".
     
  4. lgslgs

    lgslgs Well-Known Member

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    As you do your calculations, have you also got a number for the cost savings for not having to work out of house?

    A lot of our homestead "income" is actually cost savings. Since I left the workforce we save about $60 per month on gasoline, we save $12 twice a year on makeup, we save on clothing. We have food savings related to being able to garden more and cook absolutely everything from bread to mayonnaise to ketchup from scratch. We have no cost for haircuts. We save on home repair costs because we can do more ourselves.

    We are in kind of the opposite situation as you. We're both home and every once in a while we calculate what a job would pay for it to be worth it for us to leave the house. It's always pretty amazing at just how many new costs we'd incur if we decided to do so!

    We've done quite a bit of spreadsheet analysis and for us, cost savings turn out to be a central key to our overall financial strategy. Even in silly stuff like the fact that I can maintain the carpet better now to avoid replacement cost for an extra 5 years, or we can build something instead of buy it. Or we can bake gifts instead of buying them...

    I'm curious about how close you would be to making "stay at home" work if you could factor in how expenses might change.

    Lynda
     
  5. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    TWICE a YEAR!!!

    You must be buying the EXPENSIVE stuff! :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:
     
  6. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Your options will largely be limited to what skills your wife has or can gain and what there is a need for in your area. Don't limit yourself to just the property. Are their jobs she can do based out of it? For example, driving a school bus largely requires a block of time in the morning and afternoon. As I recall most of the cafeteria workers when I was in grammer and high school were also bus drivers. Can she qualify as a substitute teacher or mail carrier?
     
  7. lgslgs

    lgslgs Well-Known Member

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    Used to - that was the Revlon foundation.

    I use the cheap stuff now: Water, water, some more water, a microfiber cloth (one of the 8 for $4 ones from the Walmart Automotive aisle - the rest are for house cleaning :) ) and occasionally a little bit of soap. The soap comes free in this skin care catalog that shows up unrequested in our mailbox.

    Lynda
     
  8. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    How are the marketing skills of you and your wife?

    Pigs increase their numbers VERY quickly, but that means nothing if you do not have a profitable market.

    I used to work with a lady who sold her cattle to her co-workers and neighbors, and she could not keep up with the demand. If you can get to that stage with your pigs, it might be time for one of you to quit.

    I have not done this myself, I just knew a lady with cattle on her land, so please take my advice with a grain of salt.
     
  9. BasicLiving

    BasicLiving Well-Known Member

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    You've had a lot of excellent responses, and a lot of good questions that the answers would help provide guidance for better answers.

    Not knowing what type of land you have in Ontario or how close to a populated area you are, I have some thoughts. Keep in mind, these are just thoughts. My husband and I are working toward full time homesteading, but are not quite there yet. But we've researched the area we live in and these are some of the ways we could make money:

    * Raise chickens and sell the eggs
    * Raise rabbits and sell them
    * Sell firewood from our property
    * Raise bees and sell the honey, make candles, etc.
    * Make crafts from the natural items on our property and sell them at flea markets
    * Make baked goods from natural products on our farm and sell them
    * Offer our services to the locals during the day (pet sitting, lawn care, etc.)

    There are many ways to make money providing a product or service that you enjoy doing and allows you time at home. It really depends on where you are and what the demands are and what you can supply. You need to think outside of the box - think of not only what you have in terms of current livestock, but what you have in terms of natural abilities and supplies.

    I hope your wife can do what she wants to do. I hope WE can do what we wnat to do. We're aiming to get there. You're a lot closer. Give it some thought. And I think you did the right thing by posting the question here. Lots of experience and info on this website. Keep us posted!

    Penny

    Edited to add: OH - how about cheeses from those goats? FETA cheese is huge in this area. City folks pay good money for it! Advertise it as all natural cheese from home grown goats. List what you feed them. City folk go wild for that kind of thing!
     
  10. Rob30

    Rob30 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My wife has many talents. We ran our own business for 5 yrs. She was very good at marketing and negotiating with largeer businesses. However she lacks confidence, and needs prompting some times. She is better then I am when it comes to working out deals.
    Crafts and such won't be worth it here. Everyone is doing that. We would need a something new.
    The pigs I can sell to co-workers. I have most sold, but not for a few months. We also raise meat goats and sheep. It is very profitable, but we do not have sufficient stock.
    We will have to continue our research.
    Thanks
     
  11. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    Rather than looking at where you can make more money, I would concentrate my efforts on where you can cut back on your current expenses. Not only will living a more frugal life give your wife the opportunity to stay home and work on making money from the homestead, but it will provide you with the satisfaction of knowing that you are being less dependant on the outside world for your food/entertainment/etc. This is a wonderful feeling.

    If you have two vehicles that you are making payments on. You might consider selling one and buying a used vehicle. You might consider also, eating out less (or eating less expensive food - can you say beans?) If you spend money on theater movies, consider DVD rental. If you have cable, consider giving up television.

    There are usually a lot of areas that people can conserve and the result can be HUNDREDS of dollars saved every month. Think about it!

    donsgal
     
  12. Ralph in N.E.Oh

    Ralph in N.E.Oh Humble Shepherd

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    Farmiing for a living must be approached like any other business. Draw up a plan that includes income vs expense.... If it won't work on paper, it won't work in real life. You must be honest with yourself and your figures. Replacing income from an off farm job with farm sales is an attainable goal, but it will require planning , sacrifice and good management.
    As already suggested, look for ways to cut back in other areas of your life, doing so will make the transition easier.Decide how much money your wife brings home, match that figure with projections of your farm sales (even better if you have real history) If the numbers match... yahoo , she can quit.
    Keep in mind that with more stock comes more inputs and labor, be sure to include the added expense when figuring your totals. If momma is home it also means less eating out, more time to can and preserve the harvest cutting down on your food bill, more time to market, more time to make things like cheese, soap crafts etc.... don't forget to consider this also. Momma must also put real demands on herself..don't try working 16 hours a day when she is working only 4 now. Can you save money in childcare? All of this should be food for thought, but only you two make that decision.
    If it was easy ... many would be doing it. Stay the course, plan , plan, plan .. then go for it.
     
  13. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Unapologetically me Supporter

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    Why not get more stock?
    Don't forget, more animals = more feed, more vet bills, more work.
     
  14. lgslgs

    lgslgs Well-Known Member

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    One other possibility is to transition from full time work to part time or seasonal work if it is available in your area.

    Farm sitting or pet sitting may also be an option.

    Also, one guy around here makes a bit of money as a driver for the Amish. He takes a few families to construction job sites and also drives some others on a regularly scheduled grocery run.

    Lynda
     
  15. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    maple syrup retals for over $40 bucks a gallon
     
  16. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    If you keep the females from your best pigs, you will have more brood sows fairly quickly.

    OF course, as it has been pointed out, that ALSO means much more feed!
     
  17. mrglock27

    mrglock27 Well-Known Member

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    If you have a vehicle that can haul around a small utility trailer you can make crazy money in the summer clearing blackberries. You have blackberries in Ontario right? I put out some adds last summer and made $5,000 a month for 5 months. I rented a tractor for 1 job, all of the rest were cleared by hand, loppers, hand pruners, gas powered hedge bar. Most of the canes I dumped at my property and burned them.
     
  18. SignMaker

    SignMaker Well-Known Member

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    MrGlock,

    How much did you charge to remove the blackberries?