How to grow a profitable livestock farm
Most farm animals are raised as food or for their fiber. Common livestock include cattle, goats, pigs, sheep and chickens. Cattle are raised for meat and milk, sheep for their wool, goats for milk, wool and meat; and chickens are raised for meat and their eggs.
It’s difficult for family farms to compete with larger farms but smaller farms can be profitable by offering specialized products and experiences that commercial farms don’t offer. Contact your local government to find out what permits and insurance you’ll need for your farm or bed and breakfast. Use local media to let neighbors and schools know your farm is open for wagon rides, birthday parties and educational tours.
* Set up a roadside stand next to your farm to sell seasonal flowers, fruits and vegetables. Be sure to use safe farming methods and educate groups and visitors about the importance of organic farming.
* Build additional pens for young farm animals. Use friendly livestock like young goats, rabbits and little chickens that don’t mind being brushed, held or touched. Have treats on hand, like carrots, apples and dried corn to feed the young animals.
* Start a livestock program with various breeds of goats, sheep and chicken to offer customers something they can’t get at their local grocery store like organic goat milk, fresh brown eggs, or sheep wool. Sell your products at several farmers markets.
* If you have specialty meats from cattle or sheep, contact gourmet restaurants and shops and sell fresh meat directly to them. Many people prefer grass-fed meat and don’t mind paying more for it.
* Consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group to sell memberships to your farm. Local residents pay early in the year for a bag or box of fresh vegetables, homemade bread, cheese, flowers, meat, eggs or other products during the growing season. Some farms also offer root vegetables like carrots, leeks, potatoes, beets that can be shared during the winter months. Early payment from subscribers helps with the farm’s cash flow.
- Anyway Project Update: Out Like a Lion [Casaubon’s Book] (scienceblogs.com)
- Extension office, 4-H offering classes in basics of keeping livestock (heraldnet.com)
- Study serves up burp-free fodder (bbc.co.uk)