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Raising Beef
02-24-2016, 03:16 PM
Post: #11
RE: Raising Beef
One of the things I did between shipping trios was peddle shrimp, fish etc out of a truck. It was a blast. I sat off the Biddeford toll exit where the Irving is now. I sold 4lbs shrimp in the shell for $5, I would start Thurs. I would take orders for fish etc on Thurs and have it on the truck Friday, all for a peddlers permit that cost $15.
i am pretty sure our farmers mkt here is a closed operation, most likely with what you are describing WC. My sister in law sells cut flowers at the one in Bangor, no veggies etc just flowers.
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02-24-2016, 03:59 PM
Post: #12
RE: Raising Beef
I never have had anything to do with them and I think you don't need them. Natural grass fed beef is in high demand and once people know about you, they will beat a path to your door. The trick is eliminating your headaches. You pointed out earlier that most people can't come up with the money for a side all at once. I was thinking about taking orders in the spring, getting a down payment, a midsummer payment and a final payment just before they go to the butcher. Then the customer would own the critter, pay the butchering costs directly to the butcher and pick up their own meat. If they didn't pay you or the butcher by a certain day, they would forfeit what they had paid you or the meat to the butcher. If I can't do that, I am just going to sell wholesale critters.

I used to work with Wolf's Neck Farm when I first got this farm. They are now Pineland Natural Meats. http://www.pinelandnaturalmeats.com/our-story.html You may want to check them out, they used to pay very well, but have strict requirements. All animals use to require an affidavit that they meet the standard. No antibiotic ever, and if they got treated for pink eye, they wouldn’t qualify. Sometimes they would own the cattle I raised or I would own them. They were good to work with. They wanted the cattle to weigh around 850-950 in the fall. They had a manager named Kevin that I don't know if he is still there because I haven't done any business with them for years. He was so knowledgeable of cattle it was unbelievable. He would go to the feeder auctions and always pick out the best for health and potential. He didn’t mind out bidding everyone else for the right animals.

He taught me a thing or two about handling cattle. One time we had about 20 head in a knot in the back of my old manure pit that we wanted to cut out two specific animals for moving. The animals were all circling each other and he just looked at the two he wanted and they turned around, came to the front and we put them on the trailer. I assumed he was thinking instructions to the cows. It turns out that what’s in your head is just as important as what you are doing when handling cows. I learned slowly, but one day I was trying to move three cows into the pit for catching and they weren’t having any part of it. I got mad and thought “now you cows know what I want, now do it.” They turned around and walked single file right into the pit where I wanted them to. I advanced a grade that day.
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02-24-2016, 10:41 PM
Post: #13
RE: Raising Beef
MD, thanks very much for all of that info especially the link to Pineland Natural Meats. I am going to write to Kevin and tell him of my situation and see what comes of it.

I have grass enough to run about 60 head in the warm part of the year. This leaves me with almost no hay off the farm so hay has to be bought. I have a winter shelter that will hold about 40 head comfortably. I have 30 cows on the place right now. There were 12 older ones, 24 mos or maybe just a bit more that the boss wants sold asap. He is talking .90-$1/lb. These are top quality grass fed animals that he wants to sell at fire sale prices. I think he is nuts! I have sold 4 of them to a close friend for the $1/lb price. Those are all heifers that he wants to breed and build up his beef herd with. I wish I had the money as I would have bought them.

We have 5 more left in that lot to sell and I am looking for anything over the $1 price. They are all ready for the slaughter house and would dress around 500lbs each. That is a steal in anyone's book. There are about ten more that are slightly younger that will probably go for about the same money. Then there are 11 "feeders" that are 700-850 lbs or so that he is trying to get $1.40 for if he can. He has told me that I only have a job until the end of March or early April. We have just lost about 1/4 of our income from a real estate venture that is being foreclosed upon next week, and now I am faced with losing this job with no real explanation of WHY!

Sorry but I am stressed a bit. The farm has vast potential. It can be certified "organic" if one wanted to as it has had nothing put on the fields since 1996 other than the 3 tons/acre lime that is certified for use on organic fields that I put on two and a half years ago. The animals are fed nothing but green grass and hay and have never seen an antibiotic, GMO's, growth hormones, or any sort of grain! They are extremely high quality animals that he is going to throw away, along with me.

The only saving grace to this whole thing is that I asked him that if he was going to get out of the business would he be willing to let me run the farm and use the barn and he said YES. But we have no money so that is a big problem right out of the chute. The place is entirely fenced up, I have over 3000 ft of water line laid out all over the place and two big tanks that I was going to rig up to fill off the roof drains so I can put automatic valves in the water tubs and not risk running the well dry.

It is a double tragedy as not only am I going to be out of a job but the farm is all set up and it is all set to work fairly well, but we don't know if we are going to able to do much with it or not.

Guess life wouldn't be much fun if we didn't have these upheavals now and then.

In any case I truly appreciate all the info you have given me here.

Do you have your "private message" system sorted out yet?

Let me know when you do as there are some things I would like to ask you.

WC
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02-25-2016, 07:37 AM (This post was last modified: 02-25-2016 07:54 AM by Maine Democrat.)
Post: #14
RE: Raising Beef
WC, I would try calling Kevin also. They have an application process to become one of their meat suppliers, but they may very likely want to buy some of your animals now. The price they pay for qualified animals always was above market. The last two years, the market price was so high, I couldn't buy any animals. I can't imagine that anything is different now, but there may be a bit of a selloff going on due to the hay shortage.

It would be too bad to have your operation end. If you could become an approved supplier to Pineland, they could take all the natural beef you could raise. They have a huge operation. With 20 cows, you could have 20 yearlings and 20 at two years and keep within your 60 head limit. You may be able to run more breeding stock than that as you would sell 20 head each fall and would have that vacancy over the winter. They like spring born calves so that they are around 850 on their second fall, so breed accordingly. That is where they pay their top price. They will buy lighter or heavier, but they pay less for those on a sliding scale. It sounds like you have a great operation, maybe Pineland can help you keep it.

I will check with Bob about what I am doing wrong with PM.

I hope you can come up with a plan, but if you can't, I would be interested in buying up to 5 head to start a herd.
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02-25-2016, 07:51 PM
Post: #15
RE: Raising Beef
When you say that you might like to buy 5 head are you looking for just heifers? I have 4 heifers going Sunday morning and 5 other animals going early next week....for $1/lb. I think there are a few more steers that he would take that for too. They are all ready for slaughter and will dress around 525 or so I think. Let me know what you need. There are 11 feeders that are 650 to 750 lbs that he would like to get $1.40/lb for. At least two of them are heifers too that could be bred this year. Delivery could be arranged, what part of Maine do you live in?

I have communicated with Kevin today and he tells me he can't buy the cows due to the short notice and the need to move them quickly. I imagine that he has his deliveries pretty well scheduled well in advance.

He did say however that he is willing to come and visit the farm to see if it could fit in some how with what he is doing and give me some ideas for the future. I sent him the farm website link and he liked what he read quite a bit.

So perhaps there is a small bit of hope for the future.

Again, thanks very much for that link to his operation.

WC
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02-25-2016, 08:29 PM
Post: #16
RE: Raising Beef
I could take 5 heifers or 4 heifers and 1 steer, but not until May when i will have some grass. I am in the mid-coast.

It is great that you were able to connect with Kevin. I don't think you will regret it.
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02-25-2016, 09:58 PM
Post: #17
RE: Raising Beef
I have another idea for something that I might do in the barn at the farm.If I can generate some money doing that, and will be over there anyway I may volunteer to tend the rest of his animals until they can be sold this summer for a better profit in a more organized way.

I would like to keep a few head of beef on the place anyway just to keep using it so I keep everything in good operating condition.

But I can't do that if I have to go off someplace else for a job. So a lot depends upon what I can put together in the next few weeks.

Kevin seemed very interested in the way these cattle were raised, and the kind of farm they were raised on, and expressed some delight about coming to look at the place. So I will keep my fingers crossed that some good may come from that.

Do you know if he sometimes gets other farms to raise cattle that belong to him, or not? We don't have much financial wherewithal right now but could rent out the grass and the care of animals pretty easily if it was worth our while. Our main interest is to keep it operating at some level while we hope for better days.

WC
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02-26-2016, 03:55 AM
Post: #18
RE: Raising Beef
I think he has a lot of latitude to do whatever helps his company. He did for awhile pay me to raise his feeders. I got so much a pound based on weight gain. They made need pasture space which you could provide. They are a top notch operation.
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02-26-2016, 09:17 PM
Post: #19
RE: Raising Beef
I would like very much for them to see the place as it would be nice to get an "expert" opinion on what we have been doing.

WC
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02-27-2016, 02:06 AM
Post: #20
RE: Raising Beef
(02-26-2016 09:17 PM)woodcanoe Wrote:  I would like very much for them to see the place as it would be nice to get an "expert" opinion on what we have been doing.

WC

If he said he is coming to take a look, he will be there soon. You can count on Kevin to do what he says.
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