Changes on the Farm

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Starting a small family farm with minimal experience leads to a whole lot of learning on the fly. After several years of challenges raising sheep, and pressures from tax regulations regarding the productivity of small farms, we’ve decided to sell the last of our beloved sheep. However, this opens up a new opportunity to expand our turkey production. Rather than keeping our pair of Bourbon Red and Narragansett turkeys in their respective tractors, the sheep field will now become the turkey field. Come spring 2016 we’ll have 40 new turkeys and with any luck, the increased numbers will improve breeding success.

This year we’ve also expanded our rabbit production and made HUGE progress in growing our own fodder for the rabbits and chickens. We’ve scheduled egg incubations so fresh chicken is available more regularly and we’ve learned to cull old chickens before their egg yolks become thinner.

2016 is going to be a big year for us. In order to continue to be considered more than a “hobby farm,” we must make money or break even. On top of the challenges of learning which animals make the most sense for achieving a monetarily productive farm, there are many regulations in place that make this more difficult. Thankfully we are starting to see some common-sense regulatory proposals in the works. Please consider emailing your representative and ask them to co-sponsor H.R.3187 known as the PRIME act. This will get us one step closer to updating 50-year-old meat processing rules which we hope will lead to allowing small farms to process meat without going to expensive USDA facilitates. This would open up our business to a whole new set of customers including local chefs or grocery stores, increasing our ability to do more than break even. We could also sell our meat to you already processed rather than selling live animals which you then ask us to butcher (if you so chose). With USDA meat processing plants becoming more unreliable due to the tens-of-thousands of animals processed (see Frontline’s report The Trouble with Chicken), you and your neighbors are turning to us small farmers. We love providing you with healthy product, processed under sanitary conditions and we hope to do so for years to come.

Read more about the PRIME act here.

 


 

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