Monday, March 26, 2018

Two Small Livestock Farmers: Different Strategies

I follow a handful of farmers: a couple are gradually withdrawing from farming while two of the younger ones (i.e, maybe 45-50) are involved, but with different strategies:

Walt Jeffries at Sugar Mountain Farm (sadly no longer regularly blogging about his family) specializes in hogs, while Dan Macon at Foothill Agrarian does sheep.

Walt has expanded his operation, using vertical integration, by which I mean he raises hogs and markets the meat, both directly and to stores.  Over the years he's changed from using a commercial butcher to building and running his own butcher shop, just recently receiving his USDA certification so he can sell across state lines instead of just in Vermont.  When you follow him over the years, his determination and drive and the obstacles overcome are amazing, For that reason, I don't recommend his past blog posts for new farmers--they might well be intimidated.

Dan's most recent post, linked to above, explains the logic which leads him not to do marketing, but instead sell his lambs live.  He also notes the economic realities which mean he isn't a full-time farmer.

I recommend both.

[updated to expand on Walt]

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