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Sheep and Goat Producers Meeting

Written by: Bobbie
January 19, 2013


Everyone is listening closelyThe meeting was a big hit.

This was a good start for us to network with like-minded people. I just finished listing everyone attending. Sixty folks. While most were from within 50 miles of us, there were Florida people from Jacksonville, Gainesville and places in-between. Others traveled from areas of Georgia and Alabama. There is a growing interest in finding ways to develop  small acreage property and produce a product for profit.

Am I in the business of farming?

It turns out many people can successfully raise goats, sheep, cattle, hogs, poultry and vegetable or fruit gardens, however, they don’t think of themselves as entrepreneurs. Our goal is to challenge that level of thinking. Folks make jewelery, bake goodies, become caterers or bookkeepers. They get their license and advertise. They are “in business”. Growing vegetables, fruits or animals – we all are business people too.

What can I do to make a living at this? Can it be part time? Can I start small and grow to full time? Where and how do I reach my market? Is there really a demand for my product? Is there a benefit from being an agriculture business? How do I prove that I’m in business and it is not just a hobby?

There are positive answers to all these questions. The conversation has just begun.

Oh, by the way, the food was great and gone by the end of the meeting. No storing left-overs for us. Lesia Andrews, Director of Marketing and Legislative Affairs from Farm Credit of Northwest Florida was the sponsor of the lunch. Lesia made a presentation about How to keep records for your lender. Crucial information for anyone in a farming or ranching business. Helps with schedule F (Farm Return) on your tax return and the local tax appraiser too.

Jed Dillard, the Livestock and Natural Resources Agent of Jefferson County Extension Service informed and entertained with his knowledge and presentation of Forages and Pasture Management.  Tell me again, Jed. What was that forage growing in the back of your truck?

Every county in Florida has an IFAS Extension Agent. Actually there are Extension Agencies all over the United States. They assist with commercial and homeowner / hobbyist agriculture and agribusiness. If you have a weed or bug in your garden that you can’t identify, you can get help. Contact your local agent.