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Local Alternative Farm Cash-Flow

February 27th, 2008 at 04:56 am

This morning, we woke to almost 3" of snow. It's so pretty when it's fresh! Just two days ago, the high temp was 52 degrees. Today's high is supposed to be 24 degrees! I grew up always hearing ' if you don't like the weather today, just wait until tomorrow'!

We had such a dry summer, I'm hoping all this wetness will help our rural farmers. It was very lean for some of them to try to harvest food for their livestock. Of course, if you had hay & no livestock, you did pretty well selling!

There are also so many farmers that have declared this will be their last year raising tobacco. No one wants to work in it anymore and the expenses have created a 'break-even' scenario. I can remember my paternal grandfather settling up with the grain mill and the bank with his tobacco check, then pretty much survive the rest of the year from what was left, plus keep the farm running.

We have a neighbor that invested in one semi-truck to haul his excess hay to other states. He now owns four semis and all his drivers are kept pretty busy. He hauls for himself and others. He also is a livestock broker. He had the foresight to see where the state legislature was taking the farmer and seized an opportunity.

One innovative idea is a festival that is held for two weekends in the spring & fall on a neighboring farm. The spring one is a 'planting celebration' and the fall is called the 'Pumpkinfest'. Both events are geared towards families with wagon rides, petting zoo, and various contests. The most entertaining is the 'Greased Pig' contest, especially in the younger kids categories! Anyway, they have grown these events over the past few years and the word is getting around. Another far does the ‘Corn Maze’. They have two – one easy (for kids) and one a tad more difficult. Kind of embarrassing when the owner’s 12-year-old son has to come and help you find the exit! But it does promote a good afternoon of family entertainment.

Others have invested in raising 'exotic' livestock, namely buffalo & ostrich. Now those are the farms you want to drive past with the kids & grandkids!

Another farm has taken the produce stand to a new level and now market their homemade salsa locally and on the Internet.

At our little neighborhood store yesterday, the topic was alternatives for creating cash flow from the farm. Of course the ever-changing weather got its fair share of attention! I'm just glad I was up early enough to see daybreak and the brightness of the morning even on a cloudy day!

I think I’ll plan my garden this morning. Nothing like looking at jars of food you’ve raised and preserved yourself!


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