Byron Palmer, Ranch Manager!

Jan 2, 2012
Notes from Your Farmer

Doing it right the first time-ish.

The question you fashion farrowing pens for the pregnant pig mamas out of a hodge-podge of straw bales, recycled fencing and bailing twine...or do you go to Friedman's Home Improvement and spend $1500 to do it right the first time? Or the second or third time, but really, who's counting [Insert cough sound effect here]. At first glance the answer could be simple in either direction. When you're running a business, minimizing unnecessary expenses is at the top of your list of things to do, but where do you draw the line between making due, and incurring cost to improve infrastructure?

If we lose a few baby pigs in the first week because their shelters are not dry or warm enough, well that would be more in opportunity cost then the price of the materials. However...couldn't we jerry-rig a situation together that could be adequate to keep them warm and dry enough? But wait, last breeding round we spent a whole lot of time chasing baby pigs and mamas hours. How much did that cost? But what if we decide to try a different breed of pig in a few months that is more low maintenance when it comes to farrowing and we don't need the newly built permanent pens anymore because they are out in the woods? Where do you draw the line?

These are the types of decisions we make out here day to day. Tradeoffs, potentialities, workflows and possibilities. How do we do what is right for the animal? How do we do what is right for our customer? How do we do what is right for the land? How do we do what is right for our bottom line so we can keep providing our community food? Every time we are making decisions out here we are asking those questions, whether it be 103 degrees in July on the side of a hill with a 45 degree slope or 29 degrees in the dark with one knee in a puddle of water fixing a spigot at 6:30 this morning, we're thinking of you. And we are sure that no matter how you make your living, you’re asking similar questions about when to make do and when to improve, as we all have limited time, money and resources and improving processes is a never ending game. Hope you had a wonderful holiday season.

Your farmer, Ranch Manager Byron Palmer