- This topic has 16 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 7 years, 3 months ago by Anonymous.
- October 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm #44153
Here’s the overview: We currently own 15 ac and rent 45 within close proximity (10 to 50 miles) of a good customer base for our meat CSA. The downside of this is we are far from family and the options of buying any more land are limited at best. After visiting family this weekend my wife and I thought maybe we should bet the ball rolling on selling our farm and moving closer to family. The up side would be, closer to family and the ability to buy enough land (80 to 120 ac) to produce all our feed at a reasonable price, the down side is we would be further from a strong customer base (could drive the distance, but is it local??, we only deliver once a month??). I am currently weighing the pros and cons, being closer to family and land base our are strongest pulls. This is somewhat rambling, but I would love input from this community, anyone done similar things, comments and questions would be great.
Thank youOctober 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm #75388MarshallParticipant
I can see wanting to be closer to family. Are there any markets of any sort where you are looking at moving too? Maybe you would just have to shift gears and do something a little different than you have been.October 24, 2012 at 10:53 am #75389Does’ LeapParticipant
From a purely business perspective, one of the smartest things my wife and I did in a long line of learning experiences (read stupid mistakes) is purchase land within an hour’s drive of our intended market – Burlington, VT (population 42,000). If you are having to deliver your products a long distance or work with a distributer, it really cuts into your margins. Depending on what you are selling, it might make sense to locate on a smaller piece of property close to a vibrant market and buy in some of your winter feed.
GeorgeNovember 4, 2012 at 10:16 pm #75392Donn HewesKeymaster
George, Where are we talking about? I personally like to produce all my feed. Currently it is cheaper or more profitable to sometimes buy something than own all the land and tools to produce your own 100%. I believe that may not all ways be the case, but predicting the future is a tough game. Sometimes rural markets can surprise you.November 5, 2012 at 1:04 am #75390Does’ LeapParticipant
There are always tradeoffs and a lot depends on what you are selling, the size of your target market and the cost of feed in your area. Here’s a simplified example of what I was writing about: if you distribute 10,000 lbs of cheese at an average price of $15/lb you gross $150,000. If you hire a distributer, you generally knock off 1/3 of your wholesale price so for the same amount of cheese (you can substitute veggies, meat, whatever), you gross $100,000. You can buy a lot of feed for $50,000.
GeorgeNovember 5, 2012 at 3:23 am #75394
Just a quick note: We just watch a program about peak oil, if that doesn’t make you think working draft animals is good idea I’m not sure what would. With that in mind, we currently produce 2/3 of our feed with our teams and purchase the rest, we strive to be as sustainable as possible and purchasing off farm feed produce exclusively with petrolatum moves in the wrong direction for us. From a home energy stand point we currently burn wood pellets and would like to move towards “unprocessed”, but we do not own enough woods for that to be sustainable into the future which is another reason to move elswhere. Still the question is could we sell our place and not loose our butt.
Just some comments
Thanks again for all your input, I greatly respect and appreciate it.November 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm #75391Donn HewesKeymaster
Hi George, and George! I was wondering where the first George was thinking of moving to; that all. I would agree that buying feed has in the past often been a good economical decision and may well be into the future. For me there are other reasons besides pure profit as to whether or not I would buy feed. First is my belief that the economical rules that have applied for at least fifty years and maybe 100 may not continue into the future. I believe buying feed will continue to increase and be more difficult to find over time. Buying feed is also essentially using a tractor (and a truck or train). These are things I would like to avoid if I can. That said anytime you make a decision that is not simply economic you will have to figure out how you will pay for it in THIS economy. We are fortunate on our farm to be able to make some (but not all) choices that do not necessarily provide the highest financial return.November 6, 2012 at 1:28 am #75397JayParticipant
For 30 years we have bought some hay as we don’t make quite enough. I have looked at it as buying in nutrition. This year we have enough and so for the first time wont be buying any hay as the crop was very good this year. JayNovember 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm #75383Carl RussellModerator
It is hard to say about the real estate exchange. I know folks who have been trying to buy land for several years. It is always a gamble to sell what you have for a reasonable price, and then also be able to buy another property at a reasonable price.
However some of the intangibles that you mention, being closer to family, and having enough land and resources to provide for yourself may have much more value in the future than they currently do. So even if the exact economics of selling and then buying don’t add up, you may make out better in the long run.
Even though having some economic reliance on community can be a good thing, I wholeheartedly believe that external costs will eventually favor those of us who have access to resources, and the skills and equipment to utilize them, on our own properties. Having family nearby can mean many things, but when access to resources becomes as valuable as I think it will be, having family nearby will also be valuable, as we will be able to contribute to their well-being directly with goods, and they will be able to contribute materially to our operations.
….. Always trust your initial intuition….. and…. good luck, CarlNovember 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm #75393
That is exactly where I am coming from Carl. I know no one is an island, but not having to relay on a big percentage of your life sustaining needs to outside forces is, I believe, best. Rachael and I are staring to get things written down and plan where we go from here.
Thank you,November 24, 2012 at 1:10 am #75396blue80Participant
We too are probably landlocked long term, with very little ability for land rental locally. And we also have rather poor ground to work with. Oh and no markets to sell eggs for even $2.oo a dozen. $2. a lb chicken is “highway robbery;” So if we want to farm profitably in the future the writing seems to be on the wall….
We are looking at options of investing in a commercial sprouter, we can always take this with us….
This would provide green feed year round, more consistent and better quality pastured meat products, support organic grain growers and import nutrients which our fields need. We would also reduce the need for further hay equipment investments which never pays for itself on our small economy of scale.
Whatever you decide, if your wife and you both agree, its the right decision!
Best, KevinNovember 25, 2012 at 1:50 am #75398AnonymousInactive
My wife and I are going through similar questions right now. We used holistic management planning to dial down our quality of life goals and it put our finances into perspective. We have basically adapted our farming and our financial goals to fit where we want to be. I thought that our area couldn’t swallow our prices either but I realized that we are selling our family as much as we are selling our products and we are transparent with our pricing and our profits and people respect where we are coming from. When a blue collar worker realizes that you work day in and day out for less than 2 dollars an hour your meat prices won’t look so expensive.
JaredNovember 25, 2012 at 10:06 am #75384Carl RussellModerator
@JaredWoodcock 37739 wrote:
…. We used holistic management planning to dial down our quality of life goals and it put our finances into perspective. We have basically adapted our farming and our financial goals to fit where we want to be……..
…..I realized that we are selling our family as much as we are selling our products …….
Lisa and I also used the Holistic Management process when we first decided to take this journey. We have referred to it many times, and it has been validating.
When making these types of decisions it helps to “dial down”(as Jared says) on the basic parameters of you desired changes. Another process that we use is dowsing, or intuitive decision making. Rather than searching hit-or-miss for something to come close to our basic needs we list what we want, then “ask” to decide where or when it can happen. For example we found our water source by setting basic goals of a year-round source, good quality, uphill from house, close enough to the surface to reach with an excavator. A friend used a map of our property dissected into quadrants, and using his dowsing skills found a spot that met the criteria. When we dug we got what we searched for.
This same process can be used when thinking about relocating your home. When the perfect property has been described a dowser, or yourself, can determine if such a property exists, and by using a map of the region where you want to live, that property may be found. We had some friends that used this method, drove up to the farm they located, which was not for sale, and approached the owner. It took a few years to work out the details, but eventually they worked out a deal.
Intuition can also be used to decide if a particular property will work out, if one catches your eye.
I have a strong personal belief in my own intuition, and do not rely on dowsing to validate that. I am not discounting number crunching, or the considerations of other people completely, but when I am trying to make a decision, I just let my internal compass direct me. When I was younger I caught a lot of grief from people who tried to get me to justify my choices, but as time has gone on, I have learned to just let that slide off. When I know a path is right, I take it. When it doesn’t feel right, I stop and turn….
CarlNovember 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm #75387Jim OstergardParticipant
Wow, this is an intriguing thread! It is wonderful, all the thought that you all have put out when making such a major decision. Carl and George, can you elaborate on holistic planning a bit? When I was at sea we had a saying, “my bag is on a swivel.” It was not unusual to jump from one boat or ship to another at the end of the first voyage. So for me either it was all intuitive or some divine guidance maybe. Thus my company name Peregrinator the old meaning of which is, “one who wanders from place to place,” or perhaps a gypsy. I really think that the discussion you all have put forward here is one of the gems of this website and a great service to all who are fortunate enough to come across it.
Cheers…jimbojimNovember 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm #75386Livewater FarmParticipant
George when making your choices keep in mind that your farm is a living /growing organism you needs and the farm needs will change over time ie makets change , family needs change and as your farm grows its needs will change. The perfect farm to purchase does not exits within our budgets or anyones for that matter. You need to have a good idea of where you want to go with this lifestyle and look for the piece of property that will best help fullfill these goals keeping in mind to stay flexable and look at each property as unigue in its own and how it might best contribute to your goals.Look for a property with enough flexability in its uses and resources so you can evovle and adapt as the situations arise. Grow slowly as the markets exspand but also keep in mind your own physical and finacial wellbeing.I have always operated on the principle every need I can provide foe myself and family is one less dollar that I have to make and one more dollar I can keep for myself.
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