The problem that has plagued farmers since...well probably since the beginning of commercial agriculture-or agriculture for profit rather than sustenance- has come to haunt Barnyard Organics, or at least the livestock side of it.
Farmers want to farm and those who do it well, do it very well. It takes all of yourself and requires a lot of love and attention to produce whatever it is you produce. So farmers who want to farm, don't want to market. It has become somewhat of an understanding with this 'new generation of farmers' that farming is now a "BUSINESS" and not just a simple farm. We're all supposed to have degrees in something or other and have a deep understanding of commodity pricing and international policies and always finding "NEW MARKETS", because hasn't that been the demise of old farms? Well, no actually it isn't, but if we keep telling everyone that that's the case, then we'll keep making up crazy new markets that last just long enough to get to the next one.
But that's a different post.
This one is supposed to be about me not being able to sell lamb. I can raise lamb. I have a pasture full of some of the healthiest, organic ewes you've ever seen. I have another barn with my lambs that are finishing and because they did so well I shipped four this week. They really should have been shipped a month or two ago, but I hadn't heard from anyone wanting lamb, so I held off. I realized that I was feeding them for nothing and they were only costing me at this point, so I shipped them. And now I have a butcher asking me how I want them cut and no one to buy them. So I'm making my best guess at how most people might want them cut and hoping I can find a customer or two (or four, or eight ideally). I've contacted all my customers from last year, to no avail.
This is not productive, or profitable farming. It's backwards, discouraging and awful. I just want to raise sheep. I want to take care of little lambs and manage a healthy pasture and look out at my flock as they graze happily on the lushest clover around. I don't want to pester people to buy. It makes me want to get out of sheep altogether, which I've never wanted to do before.
I actually believe I'm pretty good at it. It's been nearly four years of 'shepherding' on my own and I'm pretty proud of how well I've done. Mark is mostly to thank, but I think we produce a good product and I think we're good sheep farmers.
And nobody likes to quit something they're good at.
So what's next?
I guess I bring home a truck full of lamb, cut to my specifications and start the sell. Thankfully we have lots of freezer space, until the next chicken shipment (September 1).
Don't even start on the chickens.
People will buy chicken.
But when they have the option they like to buy 1 at a time. and "come back for more later".
But every sale counts and chicken sells better than lamb, so we'll stick with that for now.
Ugh. Not a very uplifting entry in all this glorious late August weather is it?
Apologies all around.
I'd probably feel better if you'd buy some lamb though. :)