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Der Bauernhof- Help with our farm business plan? Newbie.  RSS feed

 
Alicia Winkler
Posts: 51
Location: Indiana
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bee chicken food preservation
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Hello friends. I am new here, so I am learning (I guess we are all always learning), and I could use some help.

For 5 years we looked for a farm( Great Story-https://derbauernhofsite.wordpress.com/about/ ), now we finally OWN it!!! In May we paid cash for 49 acres 30 min north of Louisville, KY in a small Indiana town called Charlestown. Right next-door, Matt's , my DH, dad got about almost 50 acres. We have just under a 100 acres to work with. The land is rolling, about a third wooded, and held cattle for the past 50+ years. The fences are falling down and there are some sink holes (sorta cave country), but it is ours and we couldn't be more PROUD!


When we started this journey, it was about a year after we lost our 16 mo old son to a careless driver. We got through the rockiest parts of our grieving process (we still grieve, loosing a child is not something that goes away) we began to question our life. Matt had been working so much before the accident that Levi, our son, barely knew him. What was wrong in our lives? Was this what it would be like? Working in a stinky plant that caused my husband to get environmental induced asthma, driving 2 hours a day for the commute, typically 7 days a week, working as many as 72 hrs, hardly ever less than 56?

Then another thing happened, we realized that a LOT of junk was being put in our bodies, and minds. We pulled our daughter out of public school and began homeschooling. We started gardening (on 2 acres of mostly woods). We slowly began changing our lifestyle.

Then, 5, almost 6, years ago, we asked ourselves what did we really want out of life? Was it possible? And research began. We knew we wanted to be as self-sufficient as we could, we wanted to work side-by-side as a family. So we searched for land. Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Idaho, Tennessee, even CHILE!! Most online, but we would take whole weekends, sometimes a week looking in an area. Everywhere seemed economically depressed, not ideal for a market garden or grassfed meats.

The farm we bought, we fell into, we were blessed. We never dreamed or even entertained the possibility of getting a place like this. Or that we would ever be able to buy part of my husband's great aunt and uncle's farm. We didn't get any super breaks (Aunt Edwina wanted to give it to us, but her POA wouldn't allow it), but we got a decent deal. And 30 minutes from a large market area. Also, the value of the lmd will rise due to a new bridge being built and opening soon very close! Right now it feels like it is the very edge of the suburban area, still very rural. Sadly (yet, yay market!), it will be building up like crazy.

About a year ago, I started on a business plan. I have never made one. I sort of hit a brick wall. I need to see other small farm plans, get help from those who have made a successful plan.

We want to be very diversified, we are pretty passionate about soil building, and learning to really work with nature. We are still learning. We met Joel Salatin a few weeks ago and really appreciate his Salad Bar Beef approach to grassfed beef.

Anyway, here is what we are wanting to do. Some of it will be further down the road, obviously. We have 49 - 95 acres to work with. About a third is woods. There aren't many hardwoods, as it was logged a few years ago. Also, we plan on having extra things just for us, not for business, like strawberries, and more fruit trees. We are also very passionate about teaching people, especially children about where food comes from.

-Market Garden (CSAs?)
-Small Orchard- Apples, Blueberries, Thornless Blackberries
-Asparagus
-Garlic
-Mushrooms
-Maple Syrup
-Honey
-Pumpkin Patch
-Pastured Poultry/ eggs
-Grassfed Beef
-Pastured Pork
-Value Added Products (we have pretty good cottage laws)
-Sewing products (I have a small sewing business)
-Handmade Soaps, Beard Balms, etc..
-Herbal Tinctures, Teas, Salves, etc..
- Classes on self- sufficiency- Canning/Preserving, Making Soap/ Candles, Gardening, Teaching new drivers basic car maintenance, etc...
- Homeschool/ Local School Field Trips- Gardening, Nature Study, etc...

FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD-
-Greenhouse started plants
-Greenhouse Winter Greens
-Summer Camp- Farm School!
--Agritourism--
-Cabin Based Family-Style B&B
-Farm-to-fork meals
-Fall event- Pumpkins, hayrides, crafts, flea market, local music
-Spring event- gardening demos, much the same as Fall.


Any guidance is appreciated!
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Alicia Winkler
Posts: 51
Location: Indiana
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bee chicken food preservation
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Also, we only have one building, currently, on our side, an 1830 4 room cabin that we plan to move into after  it has had a bit of work done. We do need a building/ barn, and it will come, but we spent most of our savings on the land, so fragility is key.
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Alicia Winkler
Posts: 51
Location: Indiana
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Also, I could email the Plan that I have started to anyone willing to look it over and give me some pointers. TIA!!!
 
Angelika Maier
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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A plan is a good thing but I would not invest too much time in it. Or rather write something, it is important to know what you really want to do, but don't really try to complete that plan. Then I would simply start small. Sell stuff  on farmers markets to shops, online, simply do it. You still can work on your plan but without gaining practical experience your plan is just a piece of paper. You really want to do everything on your list or just one or two things and be THE expert in this - you still would have an orchard but only for yourself. You don't want to work yourself to death that's not the sense, aim for 40 hours a week. I would not pick more thans say two or three things, more than one maybe because one might not work out and wither of you want something different which is a good thing.
 
Alicia Winkler
Posts: 51
Location: Indiana
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Thanks for the tips.

I really need the plan, though, for several reasons.
 
theresa tulsiak
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Location: Tampa, United States
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You do need a plan, as you know, but also do research on what others are (finally!) doing.https://thinkprogress.org/california-compost-c88bf5a523e8#.881blgtw3
 
Alicia Winkler
Posts: 51
Location: Indiana
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Thanks, Theresa. I have been doing some research. I really would like to look at more examples of plans others have done.

I am not real sure what the composting article in CA has to do with my plan, though?
 
theresa tulsiak
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Location: Tampa, United States
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Oh sorry- I thought you might be interested in the fact that composting is becoming more accepted and even monetized. Usually business plans have a variety of components as far as forward looking statements. I was going to forward info about some water harvesting tech, but I guess you have it all figured out. Best wishes.
 
Alicia Winkler
Posts: 51
Location: Indiana
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Not at all Theresa! I wasn't trying to be rude, either. I was just confused. Truly. I thought perhaps you linked the wrong article!!

Actually, my husband has talked about selling compost for several years! I assure you there will be a mountain of compost somewhere! HAHAA!!! I just don't suspect we will make as big of a business out of it! It certainly merits adding to my list, though!
 
Angelika Maier
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Of course you need a plan but in order to make a proper plan you have to start selling something. It goes hand in hand. After the first some markets your plant will maybe look very different maybe not.
The most important part of the plan are the figures. Some people plan for months and never start some start right away and never do a plan.
 
Alicia Winkler
Posts: 51
Location: Indiana
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Angelika Maier wrote:Of course you need a plan but in order to make a proper plan you have to start selling something. It goes hand in hand. After the first some markets your plant will maybe look very different maybe not.
The most important part of the plan are the figures. Some people plan for months and never start some start right away and never do a plan.


Thanks. I guess that is why I want to work on the plan so badly. I can't do much else. I live an hour and a half away, since I am not there full-time, there isn't much I can do. We put in a few blackberries last spring and planted 6# of garlic this fall.

All that said, however, I am working on plans to long-term camp there starting in April. It will just be my kids and I, as my husband's job is here and we have not found anything comparable, yet, near the farm. I have been inspired by Justin Rhodes' 100 days of growing food. That is my plan! April- Mid July. It will REALLY be a test.

I will be blogging about it.
https://derbauernhofsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/100-days-of-abundance-challenge-part-2-and-a-happy-birthday/
 
Cob is sand, clay and sometimes straw. This tiny ad is made of cob:
permaculture bootcamp - boots-to-roots
https://permies.com/t/59706/permaculture-bootcamp-boots-roots
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