Haystack Farm

Your Local Farm

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For Whom the Farmer Farms

The mental mulling of this issue of planning seems endless. It would be simple to set stock numbers and profit targets for the next three years, at least seemingly more simple.  Where our machine has become mired is the balance between principles and profits.  Our production methods are not up for negotiation. To farm fairly our practices must be fair to the planet, the animals, our customers, and ourselves.  Though we assess and adjust our methods constantly the basic prinicples of fairness can't be compromised.  Three years ago when the farm was just a barn on the horizon my heart told me our Haystack had to strive to produce food people like ourselves could afford. Everyone should have access to healthy food of course!  Farming has since been a harsh mistress when it comes to reality checks. Farming livestock is neither low cost nor low risk in a small setting. How do we keep the food affordable and still get paid?  Though I appreciate the money I save on gym memberships and hobby class registration fees I'm not sure that this is sufficient compensation for my hours of toil, sweat, driving, and even enduring the extra whining certain farm activities seem to draw out of my kids.  So for whom do I farm? For my own self/financial satisfaction? For society in general as a statement against that which I do not support? For the families of our customers so they can have good food? For the planet and this beautiful land we live on? For our kids so they can grow up in this lifestyle and appreciate the basics in life? For our kids' future so we can pass on to them a sustainable livelihood and land upon which to make their way and living?  Some of these audiences favour profit, others focus on principles.

Now a seasoned entrepreneur might shake their head at us and say these details should have been worked out in our business plan stage, like that pre-marriage discussion about whether or not both parties in a relationship want to have kids. To that sagely business owner I would say good gravey we thought we had.  But really trying to plan for starting up this farm the way we did (which could fill a book about how not to start a farm) was like trying to bake a cake when you didn't even know what a cake was.  All our research and figuring went out the window faster than a barn swallow in attack mode.  If learning new things truly does improve one's mental accuity we should be reaching the genius level sometime in the middle of next year. I just wish some of it could be a little less experiential and a little more preventative.

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