Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wanted: Your Thinking Cap!


 Hey guys, I need a wee bit of help in the thinking department; care to give me a hand? I'm working on a project, and need some unique enterprise ideas that can be done on a small farm (example: quail, chevre cheese truffles, barn dances, etc.). I've already got quite a few of these ideas, but as I near the end of my needed quota, it's starting to get harder to think up these creative enterprises!

 So here's where you come in: What's the most unusual/creative business you've heard of someone implementing on their farm? Put your answer in the comments below!

 And to sweeten the deal, here's what I'll do: If I get enough answers that I haven't used yet, I'll give you guys a sneak peek on what the project is!


Sherry said...

SO glad you are back- blogging AND farming. God is GOOD! If the barn is good enough for barn dances, during the fall you could open it up and have booths for a fee and do craft shows. Petting zoo- but that would probably involve a lot of liability insurance. Quail (which you mentioned)- both for meat and for eggs.

Prairie Kari said...

I am so glad to hear you are coming back to farming - you can take the girl off the farm but you can't take the farm outa the girl! ** Warning - The most unusual enterprise I have heard of on a farm is kinda gross - I think you are well past the morning sickness stage but if not be warned! I think as you have experiencing butchering and processing animals I am pretty sure you can take this comment. It is of a Pet Crematory. When my pets die I bury them out back on the farm but as we all know pets are really family members to many people and for primarily those that live urban and don’t bury their pet in the small or non existent back yard, they want their pet cremated and keep their ashes or spread them. My brother in law partnered with a retiring farm couple and he built them their first gas-fired incinerator, they have been in business now about 10 yrs and graduated to a larger one – still only doing small animals like cats and dogs (ie no horses). They deal with the customers, often picking up the animal from the vet or their home, cremating the animals one at a time, and collecting the ashes into the urns they sell that the customers chose. I think this service costs a few hundred dollars depending on the urn they pick. In my area none of the vets provide this service to customers and there is a growing need for this via their clinics as people bring their aging pets to them to be put down. It is a harder business to cash flow as you cannot predict how many pets will die next mth, but you do not have too many costs – the incinerator is the bigger one and the gas to fire it up is as needed, licence, advertising can just be pamphlets to the local vets and pet stores, a CL ad and web page and sympathy cards to the customer, a small urn inventory then the rest is mostly just your time. I bet this was not on your list of ideas! ~ Kari

Goat Song said...

Sherry, I hadn't thought of the idea of hosting craft show space! Perfect! The petting zoo idea has come up a few times in my head, but I think - like you mentioned - the liability insurance is what's shooting the idea down from going on my "project list". Which is kind of a bummer, since I know those are pretty popular. I may use a different version of it though; something along the lines of keeping a couple common/exotic animals to rent out for events (my church rents 3 goats and a camel every December for a "Live Nativity" that they host. They have to pay $3,000 just for the camel (a baby one at that!) alone!

Thanks for the ideas!

Goat Song said...

Kari! Good to hear from you! And yes, I think your idea probably wins for the most unusual enterprise. LOL. It's an intriguing idea though, and one I hadn't thought of! I'm personally not grossed out by the idea, as we cremated pets at the vet clinic I used to work at, plus I've had my share of livestock carcasses that needed to be burned. I've heard of a couple people doing pet cemeteries/crematories, and supposedly it's good money if you're in the right area (i.e. close to a large city).

Prairie Kari said...

Glad I didn’t gross you out with the crematory! How far away are you from a large City? I know Joel says to live within a close distance to your market (does he say 45 minutes??) but I know people who do well despite their distance so don’t let that hinder you. You just need to plan accordingly in setting up your business. One farm that grows grass fed beef, chicken, eggs, turkeys, sheep, pasture pigs and they live about 2 ½ hrs from my City. They have everyone pre-order online and they stop in a church parking lot on Sat afternoons once a mth for customer pickup and do our other major city about 1 ½ hr from them on a different wknd. They are doing so well they setup their own butcher shop in the little town they live in, brought over a butcher from Europe and despite things slowing way down in our Cdn winters they still do very well even having other Salatin minded growers they contract from – to work within the eggs quotas for small farmers. Another place I know of about 50 minutes from the City bought an old horse stables and turned it into a boarding dog kennel, splitting the horse stalls in two and the indoor arena is for the dogs to run around in. They pick up and delivery your dog right at your door first thing in the morning. You confirm your holiday return with a ph call and they return your dog on their next 8 am run to the City. I know you enjoy teaching so likely teaching some basic homestead courses is already on your list for budding homesteaders that bought an acreage and want to have a milk cow and don't know how to milk, or raise a few free range chickens, etc. The saying you have to go 100 miles from your home to be an expert could work in reverse if urbanites come out to learn at your farm.

Not sure if you are old fangled enough to watch vintage TV but coincidentally my daily dose of that today was Petticoat Junction an episode where Uncle Joe is sure he can make a Million $ (back in the 60’s) selling Goat Milk – check it out for a chuckle about his hairbrained idea!