Wednesday, September 02, 2009

DDFJ_08-31-2009

Doud Dairy Farm Journal

Monday August 31, 2009

 

Well we didn't move the goat fence after all. We let the goats out to eat, drove the ducks to the pond and Arleta trimmed some of the goats hooves. Today I have to build at least a temporary shelter, because the weather is turning towards winter, and prospects are not panning out as fast as I would like. I will need more hay as well, and I don't think I can get any more from Mary at this time. As for today, I guess we will try to move the fence, but that depends on the weather, if it looks like rain, I would rather leave the fence, get a few bales of hay and build a temporary shelter with a tarp.

 

I need more fence, but our cost right now are such that they exceed my current income. I am trying to rectify that by getting some egg layers, but that is another out lay of cash. I could buy chickens from the auction cheap, but they most likely have some type of disease that I don't want my birds getting, so I pay a bit of a premium to get better quality birds. Like the Blue Swedish ducks, I would prefer to buy heritage breeds, but right now we need egg layers. If we just could save the cost of a dozen eggs a week, we would at least be ahead by that much, but that does mean buying more grain, as egg layers need layer mash.

 

I will check out the janitorial job that I saw on craigslist, as this is the type of work that Arleta and I can do together, as 1099, after we DBA the farm. I really need to DBA the farm this week, and get the tax number, because that would save us some cash, and establish the farm, even if it is divided. I would like to for now DBA as a sole proprietorship, as that is the cheapest form of operation and requires the least amount of paperwork. At some time in the future I would like to switch to a C Corporation, as that would allow us to take in cash as investments. I would also like to form the 503.1 foundation, as this would allow us to take donations, and be eligible for grants we would not otherwise qualify for.

 

I am moving the journal to the farm blog, so if you are following this then you will want to follow that one instead or in addition to this one. I will publish a notice on this blog as well with a link to the farm blog tomorrow. Not having access to internet all the time has made life less convenient, but that is not as much trouble as it might seem. I go to Denny's to access their wireless network, and it cost me all of a cup of coffee. When I go alone I sit at the counter and can get better speeds as well as it cost me less, but it certainly is more enjoyable when Arleta is there with me. I write the blog on the IBM using Open Office and Linux (Ubuntu), and then transfer it to my thumb drive, and then using the Macintosh I-book (thank you Mary) I post it to Google Docs, and then to Blogger.

 

I need batteries for the camera, so I can take some photos of the bike parts and list them on line so I can get rid of the bikes in the basement. I also need to list some other stuff either on craigslist, or on eBay, to get rid of them. I am not looking to get rich, just sell them, and get them out of my way.

 

Well otherwise the goats are in good shape, dam I wish I had some batteries for that camera, so I could post pictures of the animals.

We talked with the woman with the doe from craigslist, well I did anyway, and I am trying to get Arleta to call her, because I think she will get a better deal, as she is the resident goat expert. I want to go to the New York State Fair today, as it is dairy day and they have milking contest, among other things that would be cool to see. I would really like to see the dog demonstrations, and maybe talk with the trainers, because I would like to find a way to get Luke interested in his toys, especially the Frisbee and the ball. Plus all the other stuff I haven't seen in the past six years I haven't gone to the fair. I used to go every year, but it got so commercial, and at the time I was only moderately interested in farming with animals.

 

I really need to check on some of the farm properties that I found on craigslist yesterday, as some seem like they may be good prospects for lease with options. None of them are as large as I would like, or have the barns I would like, but they are in decent locations, although not where the city market is. I think if we could be farther south east we would do better, but the market is what you make it, at least that is what I believe.

 

If I could get milk flowing, I could process it on the farm, relatively inexpensive, and sell it direct to the customer (even deliver it), cutting out the middle men, and making a higher profit per cwt. The local market is depressed around the Oswego County market, but if we can make the milk cheap enough, and deliver it, we should be able to beat the competition. If I can sell at $4.00 a gallon and still make a profit, then I will have no problems making this work. I don't know if we will get certified, as the cost is to great, but just being able to show the people who buy our milk where it comes from, and where it is processed, should off-set the cost issue, plus delivery would put us over the top. We could build a creamery, and that would give us the edge we need to beat the bigger co-ops and dairy corporations. The trouble of course is the delivery, but I have that figured out too. I can buy foam coolers, not a perfect solution I admit, but would work for now, and pack the milk in freezer packs, in our own glass bottles. If I had the farm, I might consider building the forge and blowing my own glass bottles, but I need to many standards to meet the New York and USDA standards. So I will buy my glass from a local supplier, and have it screen printed with the farm logo and all the governmental jazz, so that it is in compliance with all the laws, and bottle it in our own plant. I will sell whole milk as whole milk, as it comes from the cow, pasteurized but not altered otherwise. I will sell skim milk as extracted milk, if there is a call for it, spun out in a separator and no cream added back in. I will not make all the percentage milks, unless there is a demand for it, otherwise I will sell cream as sweet cream, and butter as sweet cream unsalted and salted butter, all from raw, so they will need to be handled carefully, and instructions given to the customers. I will sell the butter in crocks, but will also offer table crocks, which are special water bath crocks that keep the butter fresher longer on the table. I will sell the milk in ½ gallons, quarts, and pints, as demands dictates. I will sell the cream in pints and quarts again as demand dictates. I may consider premium products like Ice Cream, but that is a ways down the road yet. I will make cheese, and fresh cheeses will be available right away as fresh young cheeses, but cured cheeses will take a while, and I will have to work to create the various conditions under which I can create the various types of cheeses. There will be three options for purchase, buy it at the local market (Mexico Big M, etc.), buy it on the farm, or have it delivered. Delivery is in the cost of the product, so it will be cheaper to buy it on the farm, but the market price and home delivery price will be almost the same as transportation is included in either method. The other method is to buy it at the local farmers markets, which we will do some of, but for the most part all you will be able to do is order the dairy products as it would require to much cost and work to bring it to the markets. I will consider local wholesale contracts to local commercial, institutional, and retail establishments, but they must be local, at least in principal.

 

Well that's my rant on the milk for today, if I can get the ball rolling, it will go well, and we will live a good life, maybe not rich by IT or Health Industry standards, but they got to eat too, so we will sell to the doctors and engineers, and they will tell their friends, and we will show the big agri-corps that yes Johnny it can be done without ribbons, without bows, without packages... well you know the rest.

 

Oh yea then there's the meat and potatoes, but I will save that for another day.

 

Peace


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