Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pondering on Profitability

Ok well maybe not exactly profit but at least supplemental income to help support our farm efforts.  Obviously the hay business is not for us.  Our plan is to take 4-5 acres and fence it in for pasture.  So what after that?  I'm pretty sure I want to do pastured broilers and layers...those are pretty easy with low overhead.  I'm debating goat herd milk shares but I'm still not sure what I need to do to get started.  I mean obviously we need goats and milk jugs and grass but do I need any kind of licensing or special equipment?  What if we get a cow and do cow shares?  I know to sell our own cheese I pretty much am out of luck until we have the kind of money that will allow me to purchase full on dairy equipment.  I know I'd like to try to do a small CSA eventually but I need at least another year to work out the issues with nutrient deficiencies in the land first. 
An idea I'm considering for the spring farmer's market is selling baked goods.  So far my breads get raved reviews and at the church bake sale they sold pretty fast at $4/loaf.  I could also do jellies and pickles I believe without a special kitchen as long as its through the farm market.  I think if I tried it otherwise I'd have to set up a commercial kitchen.  Another idea would be to make soaps from the goat milk and also I've been making dishwasher and laundry detergent...maybe I could sell versions of that too?
So much spinning about in my head, I really hope something will clearly come through as the right path.  Might be a whole lot of trial and error next year...actually I can promise that!


  1. The sale of raw milk is illegal in Indiana. The laws and gov't red tape are huge hoops to jump through and the milking facilities and equipment have to undergo testing and inspections. The USDA can come in at any time without warning and do their thing. The Gov't is attacking small farms left and right and seizing property and destroying products all the time. Unless you have lots of money behind you trying to get into the dairy business will cost you much more than it produces. Also the health risks are daunting. You would need a great vet on call and a laboratory for testing all animals and milk to be assured nothing is being passed from your animals that can cause disease in humans. For instance many don't know that TB can be passed from milk animals to humans. Those are things that are too risky for me to even consider offering milk to the public. Goat milk soap is a great idea for use of milk instead of people drinking it. The coming winter is a great time to experiment with soaping and building a great stock for a spring soap extravaganza to introduce local shops to your product.

  2. Yeah, I know...they take all the fun out of it don't they! The only two work arounds for raw milk in Indiana are to get a pet food license (or something like it) and sell it as "pet" milk or to do animal shares. I'm still not sure I want to do either but soap is definitely on my list of things to try. Oh and I've been reading about those raids...yikes!

    Guess we'll have to keep all the cheese-makin' love to ourselves!

    Thanks :)