|Posted by sycamorevalleyfarm on September 27, 2012 at 9:25 PM|
My website has suffered from much neglect. Farming just doesn't leave much time for computer work, beyond book keeping. So, here is a brief update:
I am finally farming full time. I quit my part time job in January of 2012. I could not be happier. Farming is hard, and the weather never seems to cooperate, but I have enjoyed these past 8 months more than any other time than I can remember.
The past two summers were awful. The hottest on record, no rain, and we still find ourselves in a drought. Thankfully, it is fall and we are getting some much needed rain, though we are still a foot, I believe, below average rainfall. Summer of 2011 caused too many casualties, one horrible day we got up to 109 degrees in the shade and the humidity was very high. This summer was better, it was very, very hot, but it was so dry and windy.
Between weather and some family issues, expansion plans had been derailed for about a year. I am starting to catch up on many projects that had to be neglected. We have added 31 new ducklings to our farm last month. They will be coming into lay about the time the farmers' market starts next spring.
Getting our egg hadling permit is held up still with construction of the room. I would much prefer to get the regulations changed than to spend more money on finishing this room. The inspector could not tell me why the state decided 200 laying hens is the limit. That is not enough to make a living, even selling the eggs at $4.50 a dozen. Other states have the cut off at 3,000 laying hens before requiring an egg handling permit. I want no more than 400 because that is all I can handle.
On the plus side, last year the Cottage Food Bill passed in Arkansas and we can now legally sell jams and jellies without having a certified kitchen. I wish the livestock and poultry commission would take notes from this on the egg handling permit...
We had our Great Pyrenees, Maggie, bred this spring. She had 9 puppies. They are fantastic guard dogs. Three are being trained to protect our ducks so we can untilize more pasture, in spite of our resident red tailed hawks. The other puppies are still for sale. One has found a great home on another local pastured poultry farm.
I look forward to farming for years to come.