Saturday, February 22, 2014
Saturday Update - The Plan, the Numbers, the Goal
We have had pretty good weather all week all though it has just barely been warm enough to allow the bees out a bit from time to time it certainly has been better than the sub-zero crap. The 40's and 50's are suppose to end tomorrow and we go back down into the lower 30's once again. Maybe at least this wind that has been hitting us will die down that would be a blessing.
I actually got out and worked in the shop some getting it ready for bee hive production and even began moving some of the mountains of wood chips I need to spread around. Things are getting back on track after the big freeze once again.
With the sale of the 18 lambs I have been running some numbers and to tell you the truth I am seeing some bright spots of possibility here. Keeping in mind that our property is completely paid off along with all our vehicles, tractors, equipment etc. and that we have a more than decent little nest egg of assets just in case things don't fall apart financially the small farm numbers are looking pretty good.
I have only been working on the actual goal of using the farm as a semi-retirement vehicle for the last four years and truthfully I have not been growing it fast either, at least not until this last year with any real eye for the numbers. There are still plenty of things I am not counting and plenty of useless expenditures that are being carried so I do not have an actual overall financial picture yet but some of the small chunks are coming together and looking workable.
The 18 lambs brought in about $2500.00 after a 10% commission fee which doesn't sound like a lot except I am only interested in the cost of the flock and I figure that amount covers the total expenses with a bit left over. However that is dividing the minor costs of things like overall property taxes, fuel for the tractor and vehicles and splitting the water bill. I am figuring the useless nags running around the place are at least half of those expenses and I know they are more in the grain and hay consumption. Our yearly grain bill is right about $4000.00 but the price of the hay contains only fuel costs and this years fertilizer bill since the property is all paid off.
Other miscellaneous expenditures might in fact take the total cost of the flock per year above that $2500.00 mark but overall that means I am approaching the break even point in numbers.
Honestly when I take out the total cost of those worthless horses and ancient donkey not to mention switching from the wasteful round bales to small square bales things look even better. I could in fact triple the size of the flock easily without increasing the hay field and still come out with extra hay to sell each year and excess pasture besides. Adding an additional planting of hay types that can give extra cuttings like I did last Summer hasn't even figured into the numbers yet but should pay off this year.
This season, God willing, I should get some decent numbers in honey production and farmer's market sales and I also plan on putting in a couple of acres of pumpkins as well. Last year I had so many demands for pumpkins I believe I can work that scheme out to another money maker. I easily could have unloaded wagon loads of pumpkins last year as I had people stopping by wanting to buy some and one inquiry for a couple of pickup loads as he put it.
Now a small bit of patting my own back because honestly these numbers would have in no way worked out like this four years ago. To this point my prediction of inflation and increased fuel costs is proving I was right. If the trend continues small local farms will be an entrepreneurial boom by 2020 easily I think. A few more upticks in food inflation and it will be cheaper to produce the stuff locally and that will only add to the demand over and above the "organic" craze.
The secret as I see it is to own the land debt free and limit the expenditures in equipment preferring to use smaller tractors and more sustainable practices overall.
Then again who knows what the future holds. Honestly it's going to take me years to get everything set up and real hard numbers calculated that include all expenditures and profits. But so far things are still progressing as I predicted.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!