Holy cow has it been a year of personal growth in this house. We have seemingly accomplished a lot yet at the same time I feel like I have been treading water.
SO what was accomplished?
I quit my job- Well I pretty much started out the year in limbo. Feeling a little lost. I enjoyed my job, don't get me wrong but I just felt like I could be doing more. My baby girl was (IS!) growing like a weed and I also felt like I was missing out.
After some talks, some tears and a lot of prayers, we decided I could quit the hog farm.
Talk about hard. Between not wanting to let down my boss and his family and being worried about the financial side of things it wasn't easy.
My husband signed a contract- We have been SO fortunate! Matt was able to land a job a year and a half in advance. A HUGE blessing! He signed his contract the end of January and that also put our minds at ease. Knowing where he will be practicing after residency was a load off the mind. No moving. We'll be here for awhile!
The LLC was born- Part of the idea of me quitting was that I was jumping in with both feet on getting a business up and going. So shortly after, I was in contact with a lawyer and we got the paperwork rolling for Shamrock Meats LLC. I was so nervous and excited all at the same time. I remember my hand shaking as I wrote my check for the lawyer fees. Ridiculous.
Input Costs- I feel like the first few months of the year all I did was shell out cash! Buying livestock, feed, insurance, permits, licences, freezers, farmer's market spots... I wanted to do it all on the up and up. The right way! Just because I sell animals we raise on the farm doesn't mean they are gifted to me. Ha. I have a whole ledger that I have been working on this year...
Celebrating the highs- It's so easy for me to get discouraged with the meat business. When I opened I had high expectations for how I "thought" this was going to go. More like unrealistic expectations. I have to celebrate the sales that I have and not get discouraged if I go a week without selling a thing.
Farm Growth- Because I am a crazy person, aside from the sheep we already had... my brother and I decided why not buy some more? I mean what's one, two, or five more. Mind you these are not Katahdins that go to our freezers. These are Suffolk/Hampshire sheep. Twice the size of the Katahdins, need to be sheared, and are generally not as smart at life. Ha. These ewes were purchased so that we can raise our own 4H lambs for county fairs.
We doubled the wooly sheep flock since last year. Lambing will start February 1st! Katahdins should start lambing in January. The cattle herd is at its largest point right now too! We calved out 34 this year with a couple more left. We preg checked just north of 40 for this coming year.
Personal growth- Farmer's markets are not for the faint of heart! Talking with public, educating, standing up for your ideals (not hard for this girl), late nights packing, the early mornings... and just plain trying to feel comfortable in your own skin. Selling a product that you have literally put all your faith in and hoping that others see the value like you do.
Comfort zone- In the last week or so that comfort zone has been really stretched. Last weekend I was the guest on a podcast! While it was super cool to be asked, I was still nervous about it. I mean it was definitely something I've never done before. The "That Dexter Cow Guy" podcast featured me and the business. In reality, I don't know if I answered all the questions like should have? But nonetheless it happened. Brendan Farren made it pretty painless. I mean he provided the coffee and made it super easy to talk. Take a listen! There's a special surprise in there for someone!
I generally shoot from the hip when it comes to talking with someone. However, I had to run a meeting last night. Agenda and all. I don't know why but the formality of it gave me more anxiety than it really should have. I survived. Was it my best showing? Absolutely not. It'll get better.
Those are the general high points. With the business itself?
Here's some stats:
Number of beef in retail freezer: 3 1/4
Total Beef sold off farm since May: 10-12
Hogs Bought and Raised: 11
Hogs Bought at County Fair: 2
Hogs in retail freezer: 5
Lambs in retail freezer: 6
Lambs sold off farm: too many to count!
I cannot complain about how the last 7 months have gone. Not in the least bit. Looking ahead to 2020, I am hoping we do at least this amount. I would like to grow by 50% if we can do it. But I wouldn't be here today without the customers that have trusted us over the last few months. Thank you for looking to us for purchase meat for your family.
~Until Next Time