Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year End 2011: How are we doing? & Lamb Chops

I get this question all the time: How are you doing? And I don't mean psychologically or health-wise (although people are usually courteous enough to ask that too); I mean our business. So I feel close enough to all of you (and know most of you personally since that seems to be who reads this blog) that I'm going to share a little. 
It's been a rough year this year, as some of you know. We had 100% losses in our first two batches of broiler chickens and only about 5 layers survived from the 50 or so we started with. We also had TINY turkeys with an average weight of 8.2 lbs.
This is a picture of our milk crate hospital pen, there is a chicken in there in the middle of the shot, halfway into a cup holding feed. That's about as big as they got from that first batch. 
I know it sounds like I'm a little grim, sorry about that! I'm trying to be hopeful and look forward to this year when our brooder will be in our new chicken building!
This should help with the disease problems, which were a large portion of our losses. 

Ok, so now for some numbers. If numbers want to make you want to hurl, just scroll down a little for pictures of my first lamb chops and Hazel! 
2011 is the first year I was in charge of record-keeping and it's also the first year we're following the Schedule F form for taxes in our expense calculations. This is a HUGE improvement, so before this year's numbers I don't guarantee any of it (and I'm not really guaranteeing this year's either).
In 2008, our first year on this farm, we had $7800 in sales and $6500 in direct expenses for those sales. Then there's a bunch of supplies and fencing and capital stuff and all that rot for a net loss of $820. 
In 2009 we had $10800 in sales and $8000 in direct expenses. After all the other stuff including a $9000 fencing and water system (of which about half was reimbursed by Uncle Sam) we had a net loss of $8000. Actually, that's not too bad considering the capital expense.
In 2010 we had $17000 in sales and $13700 in direct expenses. After all the miscellany including $1200 for a tractor swap and $3000 in cows we come to a net loss of $4200. 
In 2011 we had $13300 in sales and $9500 in direct expenses. After all the other stuff including $5000 for the new building we have a net loss of $3000. 

So how are we doing? I'm not sure. I've never done this new business thing before. I know you're not really supposed to make money until at least year 5 if not year 7 or 8, but I certainly would like to be closer to breaking even than we are. Of course, this is without taking out truck mileage or accounting for labor (that's free, right?). This year I think we would have made money even with the building expense if our turkeys had been "normal" and our chickens hadn't died in droves. In the spirit of the end-of-the-year wrap ups, I'm going to try to put 2011 behind us and look forward to 2012!

Are you interested in this info? Or is it just TMI and everyone scrolled past it?

Now, as promised, here is a picture of the lamb chops I cooked up!
They were rubbed with a mint sauce/rub, and served with some golden potatoes. Totally completely awesome. They practically melted in our mouths. Ryan suggested I cook some because until now we've just sold them without ever having made them! He's right, of course. Here's the whole rack, in a less presentation conscious arrangement:
We may not be making money yet with our business, but I tell you the perks are un-freaking-believable!

And now for the Hazel pics of the day. We were folding laundry and tossed a Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) T-shirt on her. Ryan wears these constantly and has 4 or 5 of them. So here's our future practical farmer:
We're going to the PFI conference in a couple of weeks, I'll try to remember to report in on it. 
I think you are probably aware we just had Christmas. Therefore, we need an obligatory opening presents pic of the munchkin. 
Lucky you, we even got Nermal in the shot!

1 comment:

Edie said...

Interesting, Janice. More power to you and Ryan on the sustainable farming. Is that what you call it? Anyway,
I do like the quilt and don't think it strange. I didn't hang it where my small group measured and thought I would. I put it in my "office" instead because, I spend more time there in general or my sewing room and that is a total mess. Besides it looks good against the wall in my office. Thanks so much. Edie