Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Markets, Deliveries and other stuff

I finally have internet back!!! Our NBN has been on the blink for the last month and it has been a challenge. There are two parts to a business like ours - the farm and the marketing/admin. Marketing these days is basically all done online. We use this blog, an online email service (mail chimp) and facebook. Facebook can be managed using the mobile network but the other two require a reasonable internet service.  Our finance administration is also online. We use an online accounting program and of course all bills and other banking get done online. Hot spotting to a phone that has dodgy reception just doesn't cut it! So I apologise to anyone who may have commented or emailed and I missed it! I can now update the various tabs on the web that need updating - for example our dates for markets and deliveries on this Link.

Bundaberg, Agnes Waters and 1770
We have recently cancelled the Shalom Market at Bundaberg due to it not being profitable enough for us to travel there. There are also two other meat suppliers there so we thought we'd leave it to them. They don't have a free range pork product though, so if you are in Bundie and would like to be able to still buy our pork, please email me and we may be able to sort something. I have also had some interest from Agnes Waters/1770 so once again if you are from there and would be interested in getting a delivery, please send me an email. I prefer email as a communication tool as I can keep better track of orders as well as this, I can get one message out and know that the intended people will get it. I can't rely on facebook as not everyone sees every post. While it may not be profitable to actually travel for a market, a delivery once per month or every second month is certainly something we would consider.

Emerald, Blackwater and Bluff
Emerald (and area) delivery has been working out really well and we will be going out there again on the last weekend in September. If you aren't on my Emerald email list, please email me.

My email is: dawsonvalleyfr@bigpond.com

Capricorn Food and Wine Festival
We have decided to be involved in the Capricorn Food and Wine Festival this year, however we won't be selling fresh meat. We are doing a collaboration with That Wholefood Place and selling ready to eat food. We will be selling Pulled Pork and Pulled Beef Tortillas, Pork Ribs, Vegan Dip Platters, Healthy and Yummy Dessert Platters and various other bits and pieces. Keep an eye out on facebook over the coming weeks for some free passes. The festival is 20-23 September.

Soap is back, as we have a new local soap maker. This soap is made from milk from my dairy cows and Lard from our pigs, and other good stuff - no baddies in this soap! It will be $6/cake or 2 for $10, and will be available for sale from this weekend.

Markets this weekend:
Yeppoon Community Markets - Saturday 1st September
Rockhampton Kern Arcade Carpark Markets - Sunday 2nd September

Bacon - we now have a new butcher processing our pigs so our bacon has changed a bit. I'm really enjoying the nitrate free version, although the regular is pretty good too. The ham is tasty too! Barritt's Butchery in Bundaberg are doing it and they have recently come first in the state for their Bacon. This award was using conventional pork, so imagine how good it is using our pork! Salami is almost finished, but we are hoping to have more available soon and then have it as a regular item. We will have some pet food available this weekend too.

If you would like any information on anything, please just ask.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What got us here, won't get us there......

Almost 20 years ago, Kim and I started a journey – a regenerative farming journey. It has been a journey that has seen us change our farming systems, our life style and most importantly gave us the tools to find a way to support ourselves with our farm. One of us always had to work off farm but when we made the move to begin a freerange pig farm, it was with the sole purpose of making the farm support us. We work incredibly hard and by hard I really mean that we just don’t have down time. It’s constant. We love the work but there’s just a little too much at times. 

Recently Chloe and Edmund – our two adult children that love the land as much as we do, have started going through the same process we did back then. It started with a Grazing for Profit School run by Resource Consulting Services. It is a week of light bulb moments! RCS supports you through a change in thinking processes, but more importantly they teach the financial skills necessary to assist in management change. Kim and I have been pretty switched on with the farming changes that we’ve made over the last 20 years but have probably been a little remiss in some of the financial management needed. Along come the young brains and with them wanting to be involved so that they can build a farming life of their own, we’ve had to look very closely at what we are doing.

The four of us have spent most of the last 3 days going over our business and analysing the cost of production, cost of selling and the return on assets managed. We are putting in place steps to monitor this better and to hopefully make improvements in the overall management of the business.

Like most of the east coast of Australia, we are suffering from the current drought. Due to our regenerative farming practices, we have been able to limit the on-farm impacts, however grain for our pig feed is all sourced locally and grain farmers have been greatly affected and not able to plant. Grain prices are at an all-time high due to lack of supply and strong demand. This is having a huge impact on our costs of production.

For us to remain in this business, we have to increase our bottom line. Unfortunately, to gain all the appropriate approvals from Council and Safefood Qld, a certain level of packaging is required which is costly. As I have mentioned previously, we are changing butchers who process our meat. This alone will result in quite a substantial increase in packaging costs, which we will need to pass on. It’s either that or stop going to the markets. Recently I’ve been going to markets three weeks of every month and a fourth delivery every second month. This is costly – both in travel and time. Time is one of life’s most valuable commodities. I lose 3 days every weekend we go to a market. I love the markets, I love meeting with our community, I love being able to provide a high quality, ethically farmed and tasty meat product. We want to keep doing this for a long time, however we may need to keep evolving our business in order to stay in business.

We have reviewed all our pricing and changes are able to be viewed on the web, at this link.  

We really value the support of all our customers and the community that we’ve built throughout our journey. We are going to continue to work out a way to provide you with quality meat produced with minimal impact on the environment.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supports.  You are why we are still here and we are grateful for that.

Thank you
Lucy