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Old 12-23-2014, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,237 times
Reputation: 217

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I actually had to rewrite this. I was going to comment on your wall of text but I decided to simply post some facts and statistics instead, with a few questions at the end.

All following data is posted from the USDA website. Linked posted below.

"Mohair production during 2013 totaled 790 thousand pounds. Goats and kids clipped, at 141 thousand head, were up 3 percent from 2012. Average weight per clip at 5.6 pounds, was down 2 percent from 2012. Value of mohair production was 3.36 million, 12 percent above 2012."

" Texas Goat Inventory
Texas Field Office
January 2014
2 NASS, USDA Texas Angora Goats and Mohair:
The Angora goat inventory as of January 1, 2014 was 3 thousand head higher than the previous year.
During 2013, 80 thousand goats and kids were clipped, 5 thousand head higher than the year before. Mohair production increased 20 thousand pounds to 490 thousand pounds. The average clip weight for 2013 was 6.1 pounds. The price per pound of mohair increased 70 cents in 2013 to $5.50. This brought the total value of the state's mohair production to 2.7 million dollars for 2013, 439 thousand dollars higher than 2012."


Link= http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_...ns/pr10814.pdf


Mohair Production, Price, and value- states and united states:2012and 2013
goats clipped: 2012=136,000. 2013=140,500

Average clip per goat: 2012=5.7 2013=5.6

Production: 2012:770,000 pounds. 2013=790,000

Price per pound: 2012=$3.89 2013=$4.25

Value: 2012=$2,992,000 2013=$3,361,000


Source: http://www.usda.gov/nass/PUBS/TODAYRPT/shep0114.pdf


The market did drop at one point. In 1999. That was over 15 years ago.
DATA:
Mohair 9.23lbp 1991
Mohair 9.48 1992
Mohair 9.85 1993
Mohair 9.8 1994
Mohair 10.10 1995
Mohair 10.60 1996
Mohair 10.90 1997
Mohair 10.90 1998
Mohair 3.61 1999
Mohair 3.88 2000
Mohair 4.377 2001
Mohair 4.37 2002
Mohair 5.25 2003
from here it stays about concurrent until this year which is posted above.
Source:

http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/AgriPric/AgriPric-11-26-2014.pdf
http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda...12-30-2013.pdf

http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do;jsessionid=F154BA78C7C50C021C8 CA924EDB72FD5?documentID=1002




Wool on the other hand, followed the same drastic drop in 1999 but is priced thus:
2008 $0.99 per pound-2009$ 0.79 per pound-2010 $1.15per pound-2011$1.67per pound-20121.52per pound
The above posted ratios follow the same mohair trend.

Source:
http://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Todays_Reports/reports/shgtsb14.pdf



So that means for 15 years you have continued in this pattern with these prices? So if it has been so bad for 15 years why are you only now, stopping mohair fiber production? That seems a bit late doesn't it?.
And if this type of work is so impossible, why did the US alone produce 790,000 pounds of mohair which generated over 3 million dollars?
If this is a poor business strategy who out there could possibly still be farming mohair at this rate for this for this value (which you say is a loss) for 15 years?
Again if it is a poor business idea, why has the production and cost of mohair increased since last year?
If you have never used the wool tax act,(which according to the USDA 97% of wool/fiber farmers did) that means you really started around or after 1995 right?
And if some people are doing it (approx. 6000 operations in the country are farming Mohair, according to the USDA) then why cant others find a way to profit?
I am not saying (nor have i ever said) a small time operator needs to base his entire income off of this, but they can and (obviously) do supplement their income with it successfully, otherwise the extra labor of actually producing mohair from the goats (Sheering, testing, washing, dyeing) would cost more than just feeding them as pets and put the farmers more in the red right?
There are approx. 2million farms in the US. over 1/3 generate value over the national median wage. So that is approx. 670,000 farms. Non commercial small farms equate to approx. 800,000 farms. nearly half of the total number of farms in the US. Which means that (USDA definition of very small is 1 to 9 acres) small and very small farms must be a somewhat successful business strategy right?
sources
http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Preliminary_Report/Highlights.pdf
http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda...05-28-2014.pdf
http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/147003...summary_1_.pdf
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,147 posts, read 50,318,661 times
Reputation: 19849
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westcoastnavy View Post
Sir, this is completely and not backed by any data whatsoever.
You do not need to be a major scale farm to make a living. There are countless small farms (not hobby farms) that do very well.
Many specialty farms and niche farms are tiny, operated by a single family or individuals with not much in the way heavy equipment that survive just fine.

A few examples
http://californiaagriculture.ucanr.o...d=ca.v053n06p6

Several other examples are the new and booming small coffee farms in Napa valley California.
As well as many lavender farms that produce around $60K per acre. Some are sitting on as few as 3 acres.
Besides this, there are four small time mushroom growers (primarily ****ake and oyster) in California that use less than a single acre and no heavy equipment at all.

USDA data that backs and supports my statement.
https://attra.ncat.org/calendar/br_n...-acreage-farms


What oldtrader said was: "If you can afford to farm on a large scale, you can make money"

We all know that in reality, you do not need large scale to earn a living, to support a family. He was saying to 'make money'.

There is a big difference.

Supporting yourself and your family is one thing. Competing with Wall Street tycoons is another thing entirely.
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,237 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by historyfan View Post
Fyi--
The wool incentive funded by tariffs on imported wool was discontinued in the 1990s.
The tariff dollars now go into the general fund.
It worked like this-
Depending on the amount in tariff account & formula for each year, a fiber producer received an incentive check from the program of X times the price they sold wool/fiber. So if mohair was sold at $4 a pound; producers received additional check from program for $4 x 2.17 x how many pound they sold. The number of fine wool sheep and hair fiber goats dropped dramatically in US when this program discontinued.
You are absolutely correct. I was asking him to see if he had used it, in an attempt to gauge how long he had been involved with fiber production.
It ended in 1995 and the values of fiber dropped (about 40% give or take) in 1999.

I read about a guy here in California who grew only organic sprouts and ginger who was raking in some insane money.

I posted a few pages back about a the pumpkinstien guy and a coffee farmer in Hawaii as well as one of California's first organic & CSA farm.

All of which started pretty small scale and now are very large with gross annual sales of close to a million per year.

I just cannot understand why there is sooo much negativity in the thread. Half of the posts offer no viable advice except "dont try" or "you wont make it".

I mean restaurants have what a 90% fail rate in the first year? Which last I checked was the highest of any business in the US, and those forums are not as negative as this one is.
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,237 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
What oldtrader said was: "If you can afford to farm on a large scale, you can make money"

We all know that in reality, you do not need large scale to earn a living, to support a family. He was saying to 'make money'.

There is a big difference.

Supporting yourself and your family is one thing. Competing with Wall Street tycoons is another thing entirely.

Hey submariner!
Loved that at death time vs Clinton statement, I rofled.:P

I agree with him, big farms CAN make big money.
But there are hundreds of examples of hobby farms that have "made money" and not just "oh look, timmy gets a new bike", but serious "retired at 30" money. I am not saying it is easy by any stretch, and sure you need a spot of luck, but to discount a small scale farm simply on the concept that more land=more money is simply inaccurate. Sure there are tons of very large commercial farms that rake in really big bucks, but look at the mini coffee farms, or specialized mushroom farms or the lavender or decorative flower farms averaging 60k an acre! All I am saying is that niche farming should not be ignored, some people are making a killing.
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,147 posts, read 50,318,661 times
Reputation: 19849
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westcoastnavy View Post
Hey submariner!
Loved that at death time vs Clinton statement, I rofled.:P

I agree with him, big farms CAN make big money.
But there are hundreds of examples of hobby farms that have "made money" and not just "oh look, timmy gets a new bike", but serious "retired at 30" money. I am not saying it is easy by any stretch, and sure you need a spot of luck, but to discount a small scale farm simply on the concept that more land=more money is simply inaccurate. Sure there are tons of very large commercial farms that rake in really big bucks, but look at the mini coffee farms, or specialized mushroom farms or the lavender or decorative flower farms averaging 60k an acre! All I am saying is that niche farming should not be ignored, some people are making a killing.
I know.

Sitting in a state where the number of farms is growing each year, I know.



Many people have set images in their minds of what a 'farm' looks like, everything else is hobby.

I prefer to use the IRS definitions instead.

If an activity is not making a taxable profit, and you have no intention of ever making a taxable profit; then the activity is a hobby.

If an activity is making a taxable profit, and you intend make taxable profits; then it is a business. [not a hobby]
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,237 times
Reputation: 217
Couldn't agree with you more!
I have seen first hand many of the typical stuff doing poorly out here on small time farms like chickens, pigs, meat goats, ducks, geese and cattle. But I also have seen friggin coffee farms and winery's as well as mushrooms or flower fields popping up all over the bay area here.

While I do not have a pension, I do have disability (70% service connected). In addition to that I am selling my company off for an annual percentage of net profits. Ill net approx $3880 a month between the two.
I was raised on a pig farm, and while I hated it then, between the sandbox and the city, I am ready to get back to get back to the trees.
So im selling my house and condo here in cali and the ol' lady and I plan to start a Hobby farm in SC.
I thought about trying bonsai, oyster mushrooms and Japanese maples to start with. We have goats already (pets that do my yard work) but ill add in a few flemish rabbits for the "no mulch needed" droppings and about 10 chickens for the eggs and maybe the chics (depending on the market).

Ive already priced out everything ill need to start which is about $1500 to $3000. Coop, greenhouse. (the house we bought has a fence and 1400sqft barn.
Then from there every year ill add something new (like bees or maybe a dexter cow or tomatoes or herbs) and see how much workload i can tolerate (11 pounds of titanium says "not much" sometimes, lol) and get to know the various vendors and see what sells and what doesn't, try to learn the market ya know? From there I might try to go hobby to small time for profit. But I havnt done this kind of work in 14 years, so I figure slow and steady!

But seein as you have several years experience, any advice you send my way is much appreciated!
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,147 posts, read 50,318,661 times
Reputation: 19849
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westcoastnavy View Post
... While I do not have a pension, I do have disability (70% service connected). In addition to that I am selling my company off for an annual percentage of net profits. Ill net approx $3880 a month between the two.
Your projected net is a whole lot more than my pension



Quote:
... I thought about trying bonsai, oyster mushrooms and Japanese maples to start with. We have goats already (pets that do my yard work) but ill add in a few flemish rabbits for the "no mulch needed" droppings and about 10 chickens for the eggs and maybe the chics (depending on the market).
Japanese maples and bonsai; are you familiar with SC' landscaping culture? Is there a big demand among landscapers?

I know an organic mushroom producer in this area; he produces oysters, portabellos and something else. I tried but I was not successful with it. He has a warehouse that is temperature and humidity controlled, and he treats it a lot like a clean-room. He has a degree in mushrooms and he makes it look easy.

In the 80's we were milking goats for a while, marketing their milk. Then it seemed that we were losing a lot of money in the effort. That was when I decided to re-enlist and get the pension. After I retired and we started with this farm, we were asked to join a cheese-makers guild. After touring their facilities, doing the math, and seriously looking at how much time it takes to go into that business. We decided not to. It requires a lot of commitment, to turn goats into profit.

I have a niece in Central California who raises meat chickens. She has a Law degree, but decided to raise chickens instead. She found a ready market among an ethnic group that only wants to purchase living chickens for home slaughter. She says that she does better with that, than what she was doing as a lawyer.



Quote:
... Ive already priced out everything ill need to start which is about $1500 to $3000. Coop, greenhouse. (the house we bought has a fence and 1400sqft barn. Then from there every year ill add something new (like bees or maybe a dexter cow or tomatoes or herbs) and see how much workload i can tolerate (11 pounds of titanium says "not much" sometimes, lol) and get to know the various vendors and see what sells and what doesn't, try to learn the market ya know? From there I might try to go hobby to small time for profit. But I havnt done this kind of work in 14 years, so I figure slow and steady!

But seein as you have several years experience, any advice you send my way is much appreciated!
For bees, consider joining a local bee club. There you will meet the local breeders and state bee inspector. They are always willing to help beginners. I am fairly active with the bee club here.

I have done very well with perennial veggies and herbs. It takes a lot to build up your production to fill a truck bed every week. But the experience gained from being a vendor in a Farmer's Market is great.

I sell honey, maple, fiddleheads, eggs and herbs.

We have been butchering 1 or 2 pigs every fall, just free-ranging on the forest, they only needed supplemental feed during winter. It was okay, it gave us plenty of meat and we were able to share with friends.

But circumstances have changed, now we are getting free pig-feed from the school district [15 5-gallon buckets of waste-food every school day]. It is far too much food for our boar and 3 sows. So we are raising a dozen of last summer's piglets for butcher at the end of the school year. There is no way we can eat this much pork, so we are forced to begin marketing cut/wrapped/inspected pork.

Now my sows are about ready to farrow again in the next few days. Here soon I should have another 30 piglets, I plan to market them as soon as they wean.

Along with planning what you want to produce, you also need a ready market.

Last edited by Submariner; 12-23-2014 at 05:23 PM..
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,237 times
Reputation: 217
But your pension is ever increasing and steady. $2500 of the $3800 it subject to the whims of the economy as it is based on net income of a larger business. So this year I may average $3800 and next year $1.50 over my disability, lol. And dont you get free medical for your spouse with a pension?

Greenville area seems to have one of everything. A huge herb farm, that even has saffron and cardamom. A number of large fruit stands and vegetable producers, lots of people doing honey, various flowers, nursery's, goat/sheep/cow/chicken/eggs/other game bird meat, being sold as well.
So i have been trying to find a unique niche.

They have a big time mushroom producer who has it all and a constant vendor in Greenville (sounds like your gentleman). My thought was to apprentice to him for a bit, and focus on a dried product sold online to a retailer. But food based production has me a bit leery with the multitude of regulations, and it is a pretty big gamble if i can find a retailer for organic dried mushrooms.

I thought of milk, but decided against it. There is already a few vendors in that area doing that, and I have no experience with it.

The bee thing sounds fun, and finding a local group would be a very good idea, but I just do not see how i could really make any money in the local area with it, but I am still looking for new ideas.

Meat is not an option. 1. tons and tons of people selling it in that area and 2. My fiance simply will not eat or kill anything that was a pet. And her definition of a pet is anything we have ever fed. XD

Flowers are done here in abundance as well.

So thats why i am thinking about bonzai and japanese maple trees. South Carolina, specifically the Greenville area seems to have a ton of horticulturists and lots of interest in gardening. But there doesn't seem to but available in terms of *** maples or bonsai. So I know the market is not saturated but if there is simply is no market, i figure I can stack quite a bit up (because they are small) in a box truck and drive them to a larger retail garden store further away.

It really is a tough market down there, a lot of these people survived one of the worst hit economies in the country and they are tough tenacious folk who seem to have covered every angle!

Which is what brought me to this website in the first place. It seems to be a lot easier to find a niche in California, because there are just so many suburbanites, than many other places.

That great your niece is doing well! That is what I was talking about in previous posts. I got a Nuke buddy who left the navy and took up lavender farming in Oregon. He makes more doing that now than he would as a Nuke civvie, which im sure you can appreciate. All about the niche farms!

That is great you found a slop source. When I was a kid we had something similar. The local hospital (mark twain) was also a home for the elderly (small town) and we got all their leavings. and anything that went out of date from the town grocery store.
Is there a market in your area for piglets/pigs? Or is meat the best bet?

Personally I still have bad dreams about my mom making me de-ball piglets when i was 11. Maybe it was my age, but I remember the screams in my dreams from those pigs more than anything from Afgan!
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,147 posts, read 50,318,661 times
Reputation: 19849
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westcoastnavy View Post
But your pension is ever increasing and steady. $2500 of the $3800 it subject to the whims of the economy as it is based on net income of a larger business. So this year I may average $3800 and next year $1.50 over my disability, lol.
I do not get paid for any disabilities, I served as long as I could and I was forced onto pension due to High-Year-Tenure. Last year my $1492 pension went up to $1495.



Quote:
... And dont you get free medical for your spouse with a pension?
Yes, it is 'free': I pay $600/year enrollment, and $12.50 co-pays for office visits.



Quote:
... The bee thing sounds fun, and finding a local group would be a very good idea, but I just do not see how i could really make any money in the local area with it, but I am still looking for new ideas.
Most local beekeepers around here are losing money.

The only guy I know who is holding even has 1800 hives. They winter-over in Georgia, and summer here. His losses tend to be about average nation-wide, he looses around 60% of his hives every year. He actively re-queens every hive every year, he rears his own queens, he forces his hives to split often enough so after the losses his total number of hives holds kind of steady every fall.



Quote:
... It really is a tough market down there, a lot of these people survived one of the worst hit economies in the country and they are tough tenacious folk who seem to have covered every angle!
Ouch. Nothing in recent years has hit this region's economy; home prices, wages, jobs have held fairly steady [low] for many decades.

I cashed-out my investments right before the crash and migrated here, but these folks did not see the crash other than as a news item.



Quote:
.... That great your niece is doing well! That is what I was talking about in previous posts. I got a Nuke buddy who left the navy and took up lavender farming in Oregon. He makes more doing that now than he would as a Nuke civvie, which im sure you can appreciate. All about the niche farms!
Wow, that is saying a lot.



Quote:
... Is there a market in your area for piglets/pigs? Or is meat the best bet?

Personally I still have bad dreams about my mom making me de-ball piglets when i was 11. Maybe it was my age, but I remember the screams in my dreams from those pigs more than anything from Afgan!
Piglets here go for $40 to $100 depending on exactly how high demand is. I have not been able to work out the cycle to predict when the demand is going to be at it's peak.

It can cost $75/head plus $2/pound for butchering/inspecting. Subtract the bone, hide and offal, and your looking at over $3/pound before you leave the meat processor. Grocery stores offer sausage on sale for $1.50/pound. Farmer's Markets here common sell sausage for $8/pound.

Piglets do not like having their junk cut open and removed. They do squeal and fight the process.

After cutting a dozen, my ears ring for the rest of the day.
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,237 times
Reputation: 217
Ouch. How long have you been out?
Every sub guy I know at least claims tinnitus, which is 5% to 10% and automatic free VA with co pays for meds.
I have been out for 3 years, but they were tossing everyone out after Obama cut funding. Average advancement rates for most aviation guys was less than1% a year. So out of lets say 2000 AD3s, 1 or less would pick up rank per year. So people hit walls like crazy. And now, my cousin is a AE2 in 2 years because they are undermanned.

But I would go back over your medical record, find everything you saw a doctor about during your career and have the VA check you out. It is extremely common for something small, to turn into a chronic condition and most vets get nothing for it, but the system was designed to pay for that. The US budget for vets is 5% of total military spending. You did the time, you deserve the pay. Like I tell many of my noncom buddies when they got out, You might not think something is worth getting looked at, but if you were qualified to make that decision, you wouldn't have been enlisted :P


I have seen some people make money at Bee keeping, but they produce honey, chap stick, various wax products, sell hives ect, ect, ect and have been at it for along time.
Id like to do it, but I don't want to make money at it, I just want to break even. Bee numbers have drastically decreased so in my opinion, it I can afford it, its one small thing I can do to help out the environment as well as the gross total food production of the US.

That is great the economy crash didn't effect ya'll. California was (and in many parts still is) way underwater. I have about 14 or 15 neighbors who paid over 800k for a home that is now worth less than 400k. It is getting better, but it was bad for awhile.

Are you able to do the butchering yourself (I know just how labor intensive that can be)? Or work out a deal and give up a % of the meat in trade?

Also, you grow herbs, have you ever tried to dry them and sell them? or do you sell your fresh?
I ask because here in Cali, I find stuff like ground cardamom for up to $7.50 an ounce at safeway (local chain grocery).
So my idea was to research what herbs sell for the most per ounce dried around there and try to bottle and sell that.
But I have never tried to grow the expensive (but I have read it can be very difficult) stuff nor dry and ground it either. Stuff like saffron, cardamom, cloves or vanilla beans (all sell over $7 per ounce).
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