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selling pigs

 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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I wanted to drop a note of encouragement to people who are thinking of selling what they raise. It's not hard to build a market.

Here's some suggestions...

1. If you buy feed (we buy for chickens and for the pigs in winter) don't buy your feed from a retail store. Find someone that will grind and mix it for you. Talk to them. Let them know that you sell. It's in their best interest to help you succeed. You'll buy more feed.
2. Be talkative. I apologized for entering my favorite coffee stop in my farm clothes. This led to a conversation about animals. I asked if the barrista knew of a good meat processor. She called her dad. Her dad want's a weaner pig and I have the name of his processor as well.
3. Talk about your place when people deliver to your home. We bought some plastic 55 gallon drums (10 for $200, delivered). The barrel guy got the tour and wants a weaner.

Notice that all of the above involve you talking. You're the only one that will spread your message initially. It's not hard though. Be diligent with your animals and you'll be proud to talk about them.
 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Jeremey, how true!!! 10 years ago I was too shy to talk much about my new life's mission -- creating a homestead farm. I was expecting criticism and naysaying. But along the way I discovered that I live in a neat community and began telling people about myself. To my total surprise I found out that my community was eager to buy my surplus and establish a trading network. Sure, there were naysayers along the way, but I've learned to shrug off the negativity. It's their problem, not mine. So after just a few years I've built up a network where I can sell or trade all my excess, plus have people looking for more.

Success, in my case, was all about connecting with my community. Not being a pushy salesman, just chatting about what I'm doing this coming week. And listening to what people said they wanted......more kale, less radishes, more broccoli, eggs, organic lamb, that sort of thing.

What surplus I have that I haven't been able to move otherwise goes into my freezer or gets donated to a community group (senior center, senior meals, local brown bag program, family help center, etc). Donating my surplus has even brought in more customers as more people learn about my farming effort.

I'm considering setting up a time, say Monday mornings from 8-12, where people can come right to the farm. I'm getting a number of requests for that. I'm not set up yet for it, but I'm considering it. Besides word of mouth, I'll put up pretty 3x5 card notices on the local bulletin boards when I decide to try it.
 
Milo Jones
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A big problem with on farm visits is that it is an infection vector.
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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It's something to consider. I think things are fine as long as the visitors don't handle the animals or feed.

I will say that I had an opportunity to get the cafeteria leftovers from a local school. I almost did it until I read something by Walter about pigs catching colds or whatever from people.
 
Su Ba
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Milo, that's true. But one needs to weigh the chances of introducing a problem and determine if it's worth the risk. I won't let fear paralyze me, and I'm willing to take risks. But I also will take reasonable steps and precautions.

There's not many problems here that a farm visitor could introduce that couldn't arrive via natural means or on my own vehicles. I've had noxious weeds show up and thus i must stay vigilant, pulling out any that I spy. Fireweed is a problem in my area. I've had coqui frogs arrive on lumber I purchased at Home Depot. Took us 20 minutes to find the buggah and dispatch it. I've had fowl pox every year most likely spread by the feral chickens, so I only add new pullets born in January so that they will mature enough to withstand the pox. The nasty insects I wish to keep off the farm are not apt to arrive via visitors, but rather on plants. So all new plants are isolated until I determine them to be safe. Plant diseases and garden pests are rampant here, so farm visitors won't be bringing anything not already on the island. Canine parvovirus is one disease that visitors could bring, but I already vaccinate my dogs for that. So no problem there.

It's a good thing to point out that visitors could introduce problems, but there are steps I can take rather than locking down my farm and hiding behind my lock gate in fear. I've come to a stage in my life where I no longer wish to live in a state of fear. I see too many people around me paralyzed by it. Friends and people I know are afraid to move to Hawaii (or pick some other destination), because it might not work out. Afraid to try a new adventure, because it might fail. Afraid to change their lifestyle, because they might not like it. My girlfriend is afraid to but a horse that she's always dreamed about because she might get hurt by it. Another friend is afraid to disconnect from the electric grid because he's afraid he won't be able to learn quickly enough about independent solar. A neighbor down the street is afraid to buy goats because a feral dog might come along and kill them. I could keep citing examples, but you get the gist. There are always fears in life but one has to decide if they will rule your life. Fear ruled my life for decades. I finally said enough is enough. I don't act recklessly, I just try to be sensible and realistic.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Yeah.
"The sun causes melanoma."
"The air is polluted."
"BBQ meats can lead to cancer."
"The rain is acidic."

Makes you want to lock yourself into your home, but..."Most accidents happen at home."

The stress caused by worrying about all of these things is probably more dangerous than the things themselves.

 
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