Master Goat Farmer Class in Puyallup
you are interested in hearing more about this event or what we do, please
(Click Here) and we will provide you with a schedule of
events that we will be presenting at.
To all of our current customers, we appreciate your loyalty
and recommendations for our farm fresh milk and delicious
blueberries! If you new to our
farm website and are interested in becoming a customer, please
farm to be placed on our e-mail alert list.
Just a reminder....
as much as we enjoy visitors,
this is a working farm and we ask that you please contact the
farm prior to dropping by and please remember that the farm is
closed for business on Sunday!
Other Farm News
We are slowly building our
Facebook following at
and we would love to have you get
more snippets of news through our posts. Please check it out and
consider 'liking' Conway Family Farms!
if you would like more information on anything you find on our
site you may contact the
on the Farm
I always whine and complain this time of the year about how we
aren’t ready for winter and how I despise the slow decline into
the season of cold and darkness, but this year I am going to try
to stay positive. We have had some fabulous weather! As I sit
here on the front porch soaking up the sunshine in 70+ degree
weather, I really don’t have much to complain about. Are we as
ready for winter as we want to be? Of course not, but we are
getting there. We have some of our wood in and the haylofts are
not empty, so that is progress! Winter will come, and we will
manage, so no complaining this month. It is simply too lovely to
complain about the changing seasons.
anyone who follows our Facebook page already knows that our big
news that we have been waiting to share finally arrived on
September 22nd. We were honored to be featured in
our favorite magazine, Farm & Ranch Living, as the
October/November 2014 Prettiest Place in the Country. The
stunning photo that was featured was taken by our very talented
neighbor Dennis Connor. When you look at that photo, you can’t
help but think that autumn isn’t all bad! :) If you would like
to read the article, we have included it
here on our website, but
we do hope that people will take the time to read the ‘real
story’ behind this feature in our Facebook post
Our winter garden is coming along nicely. We have pea vines
making baby peas, corn-salad up, fava
beans growing like crazy and onions and leeks coming along
nicely. I think the winter garden has helped us be a little
less somber about the seasonal change. Along with the winter
garden, the cheese cave landscaping is getting nicely
established before winter. It is nice to see things still
growing and flourishing this time of the year…oh, and our
dahlias….still spectacular! The plants are a little worse for
the wear but the flowers are still stunning!
Breeding season is in full swing, although we still haven’t made
arrangements for the appropriate boy for our wooly girls. We do
have our first 10 does bred for January and February kiddings.
It has been interesting, though, with the warmer weather we
certainly aren’t seeing the heat cycles like we normally do.
Funny how that cold weather is what
gets the breeding season off and going. It will happen. Not to
worry; our plan never seems to work out the way we think is
should anyway, so no harm. Ten does bred for now is a good
start to spring milk and the rest will follow. I think we
decided that we will be breeding only 4 does purebred again this
year. The smaller number of Nubian breedings really helps us
control our herd size. Of the 4 does that we have decided to
breed Nubian, three of them will be A.I. That is always very
exciting. We shall see how it turns out.
We managed to slip in a couple
farm tours in September and enjoyed visiting with enthusiastic
is fabulous to hear about what people aspire to do. As I am
gearing up to present at a Master Goat Farmer class I couldn’t
help thinking about how many times Shaun and I have heard, “We
want to have a small farm like yours.” It is such a
compliment to us, but the reality is, this life isn’t for
everyone. We recently learned that one of the (what we
call) ‘new’ dairies in our area has closed up shop. Not
even three years in! This is hard work!!!! It requires
dedication and determination. It requires a good plan and
a whole lot of sacrifice. We certainly aren’t experts, but
when we willingly provide seasoned experiences to folks wanting
to go into business, it is because we recognize how difficult
this is and we want people to go in with their eyes wide-open.
Here are some sobering statistics: (All) businesses with fewer
than 20 employees have only a 37% chance of surviving four
years, and only a 9% chance of surviving 10 years---we made it!
Of those failed business, 90% close because the business was not
successful, did not provide the level of income desired,
or was too much work for their efforts (Agricultural
Development Center. ADC Info #24, October 1998. Agricultural
Extension Service, University of Tennessee).
Small-scale farming is much more
difficult to succeed in financially than most other small
businesses. According to the US Farm census 94% of all U.S.
farms (1,945,190 out of a total of 2,068,000) are “small farms”
(defined by sales of less than $250,000). Of those small farms
74% (1,531,760) have sales of less than $50,000/year, resulting
an average net cash farm income of negative $1,702.
Most of these farming operations rely heavily on non-farm income
(e.g., off-farm jobs, retirement, etc.) 20% (413,431) of U.S.
farms have sales of $50,000–$250,000/year with an average net
cash income of $23,159. This is NOT a get rich quick
scheme friends and if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
That is why we admire the tradition of farming and the
dedication to this profession so very much. Making food doesn’t
necessarily mean you are making a lot of money, but without
those dedicated farmers that have survived and continue to
produce food for us to eat, we would all starve!
As we move into the winter months
and the effort to do the work becomes harder, we are profoundly
aware of how we need to help people know what this is
really all about before they start so that they are certain they
want this kind of life. A little depressing? Not if you are
one of the lucky and determined few who are still farming after
the 10 year mark of doom! Just a little reality check for all
the dreamers and an ‘atta-boy’ for those that are actively
farming despite the hard work.
To all our virtual visitors, get
your wool socks ready, stock the woodpile and prepare to hunker
down for winter.
Shaun & Lorrie