Conway Family Farm

 

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 Upcoming Events

Master Goat Farmer Class in Puyallup

If you are interested in hearing more about this event or what we do, please contact us (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 contact the 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  https://www.facebook.com/ConwayFamilyFarms 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! 

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This Month on the Farm

October 2014

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.

Well, 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 here

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 really 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 people.  It 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.

Peace,                                                                 

Shaun & Lorrie

Our commitment to agriculture is your connection to a healthier lifestyle.

 

 

Conway Family Farms

360-834-0315    

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Last modified: October, 2014

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