South Field Pigs and Sheep Grazing
As I mentioned in my Sunday post we are building a USDA/State inspected on-farm slaughterhouse and butcher shop – our Big Project. We need approximately
- a small tightly focused family farm,
- just doing one species,
- an on-farm facility,
- already own the land,
- started with an existing foundation,
- had some construction materials on-hand to begin with and
- providing all of the labor.
Still, there are costs for concrete, insulation, plumbing pipes, electrical, equipment, etc. It takes many wallets to fund a project like this. Here are some of the ways that we are funding the butcher shop project:
Walter Lecturing the Pigs on Economic Systems
We have been paying out of pocket for expenses to the tune of about $26,000 so far. This works but does slow things down a bit as sometimes we’ve had to delay parts of the project while we find cash to pay for concrete and other materials. The irony is that while we take livestock to hired processors we pay out more than it will cost to build the butcher shop. Catch-22.
Pigs in the Turnip Patch
In any construction project, labor is generally the highest cost. Since our family is doing all of the work this means the labor doesn’t cost us any cash out of pocket, just our time. We also have collected over the years a lot of materials such as insulation I’ve been saving, concrete forms used in our cottage and greenhouse foundation projects and rebar left over from other projects.
Pigs Coming Hither on Upper South Pasture
Business Supplier Extended Terms:
Materials are the next big cost with concrete and insulation being the two biggest costs followed by wood for building more concrete forms, electrical and plumbing. Several local merchants have given us extended terms for materials we are buying from them for construction. A local excavator has offered to do the digging to put our septic system in place with delayed payment. I am talking with two more vendors about this right now. We still need good sources of:
- PEX plumbing supplies,
- Floor drains and related plumbing supplies,
- Electrical supplies like wire and conduit,
- Wall covering Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP),
- Wire (stock panels) for roof vault forms,
- Epoxy for floor sealing,
- Lairage gates,
and some other things. When we get to the outfitting stage we’ll need rail, a rail scale, scalder, meat saw and other tools of the trade so lots of opportunities there for working with other businesses. In exchange for extended terms we’re offering free pork plus free processing. As one business owner put it, “Its exciting to see anyone building in this economic climate.” Our project is helping raise our local economy a little bit.
Sow, Boar and Chickens Grazing
Community Supported Agriculture is a way that consumers help farmers with expenses in exchange for a discount on the harvest or first picking. What we’re offering is free processing once we get our butcher shop up and running for customers who order and pay for their pork now. Since the cost to us of the processing is primarily our labor and we do the work ourselves this makes economic sense. It gives customers a great deal while providing us with funds we need now for construction. We already had some CSA Pre-Buys rolling in before I officially announced this back on the butcher shop post.
Sugar Mountain Farm, LLC
252 Riddle Pond Road
West Topsham, VT 05086
A local farmer has given us a loan of $6,800 which we have been able to put towards buying materials we need. This was greatly appreciated and gave us cash to purchase concrete. Several people have suggested donations. I have received generous support in the past to for NoNAIS.org to pay for the web server. We will subsequently pay it forward to help other people in the future in addition to sharing what we are learning on this journey in the hope that other farmers will be able to build their own on-farm facilities. We need many nano-scale butcher shops spread across the country and around the world so that small farmers can get their meat to consumers plates. Another good way is to do a CSA Pre-Share buy and indicate that you would like it donated to a food bank within our delivery range of centeral Vermont.
Kia and Pigs Laugh it Up
Outdoors: 50°F/26°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/55°F
Legal thingy: Our farm is not a charitable organization so donations are not tax deductable and this is not an investment or stock purchase. The CSA Pre-Buy is a purchase of product, not a loan or an investment. If you ever want a refund of your original purchase amount prior to your taking delivery of your pork, just ask and allow 90 days for us to get the money to you – we appreciate the help. In the hopefully never to occur event of litigation regarding this, any disagreement is to be resolved by binding arbitration in Orange county, Vermont under Vermont law with each party responsible for their own expenses and half the arbitration costs. Lets keep everything friendly and personal.