August 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm #16994Member: IA luckygeorgefarmParticipant
This has been a topic for MANY discussions I have with people in Iowa. “Oh how nice that you have a hobby farm”, “I want to have a hobby farm someday too”, “So you raise endangered livestock? It is rather quaint to have a little hobby farm”, and my favorite “You don’t have a REAL farm”.
Our family are not hobby farmers. While a labor of love what we do is not a hobby. We are transitioning into a full time economically profitable family farm. Our focus is conservancy of heritage breeds. My husband farms full time and I still have to work off farm while we establish local and national markets for our meats and breeding stock.
We have a 5 year plan to have me work on the farm full time without the off farm job. This is what we want to do all of the time, full time, both my husband and I working together creating a growing financial opportunity for our children during their childhood and possibly through their adulthood. Our pinnacle achievement would be to teach our future grandchildren and great grandchildren how to steward the land, conserve heritage breeds, and share with them the work we’ve done with Large Blacks.
I have spoken with a number of you over the phone and understand some of your personal situations, plans and dreams for your farms. Will you share with the others in the membership how you identify your agricultural life? Are you a market farmer, commodity farmer, conservancy farmer, hobby farmer, non-farmer, breeder, commercial farm, and the list goes on. Please don’t let my examples pen you in. Really looking for you to identify yourself with your own words not mine.
I would just love the LBHA membership to take a moment and please tell us about YOU. We are all here because we own Large Blacks but I really think we miss out on another level of connection without really knowing who our members are, what they do, want, and dream for the future. Once we get to know each other a little better we might see some common ground and grow our personal relationships 😀August 23, 2014 at 12:10 pm #20163Member: WI jmcs_3Participant
Great post Angela! I hate to admit it, but I get a little offended with the term “Hobby Farm.” Just because it is small, doesn’t mean it will always be, and it doesn’t mean that this isn’t a lot of back-breaking work. When I think of hobbies, I think of reading, not fixing fence for a whole weekend! One statement that about did me in, was “I bet doing this is like having another part-time job!” Wow!
Like you, this is a labor of love. We love the hogs, we love being outside with them, we love knowing what we are doing is making a difference with our land. We love the challenge of keeping our hogs on grass during the growing season, and how this year for the first time, our pigs haven’t had a need to root hardly at all. That to us is a HUGE accomplishment. The fact that our sows are meeting our challenge of what we want out of them, and that if not, we have the strength to cull. This is something I didn’t think I could ever do.
Probably the most important part of this, is our two boys are learning work ethic. I talk about this all the time, because most kids today don’t have it. I want them to know, to get things done you need to get involved and “get dirty,” and I want them to feel that sense of accomplishment of a job well-done. Life isn’t a video game or a TV show, you have to make things happen for yourself! By working hard, and figuring things out for yourself! I could go on for days…
For us, our goal of breeding and raising the Large Black is to focus on the traits that make them unique. Turning pasture into protein. Raising large litters and doing it well, being great mothers and having the temperament that makes us all fall in love with them. To Jason and I, they have to meet our demands or they don’t stay. i.e. I had a beautiful sow I loved very much, I did a blog about it, her babies were always beautiful, she had a missed heat (we noted that)(and forgave) sometime down the road she loses her entire litter. Not sure why, but very costly, she was gone. It was incredibly heart-breaking, but necessary.
This isn’t a cushy job!