Here on our little farm, we are lucky to have full time jobs to pay the bills (though on nice days we sometimes regret it) while we experiment with what makes sense for our space and our family. While we have a legal obligation to use several acres of our property for ‘farm’ use, our particular county in Oregon is relatively relaxed about what that means financially. And since it’s farming, after all, there’s no requirement that we actually make a profit.. but it would be nice to get there someday!!
In the meantime, 2015 was a year where we were very busy as a family, and our farm business suffered for it. 2015 was the second year we kept careful records of our sales and expenses. Here on the farm we have five separate lines of production: Eggs, Veggies, Turkeys, Sheep, and Laying Hens. In 2015, we didn’t actually make a profit selling to customers in any one of those lines! But, our own family ate eggs, veggies, turkeys for Thanksgiving, and lamb, too. Thanks to us, the business made a small profit in 2015.
We knew at the start of 2015 that we should probably raise our price for egg dozens, but resisted because it felt like a lot to ask. Then feed prices went up nearly $1/bag, and the heat and age of our hens meant we actually had fewer eggs to sell during the year (we made more money selling eggs in 2014 than in 2015). Comparative dozens in the store cost $7, and at least one well respected local farm (using the same feed that we do) is charging $9.50/dozen.
Although we charged our customers $5/dozen in 2015, after our costs, the price for the remaining dozens would have worked out to $15/dozen: obviously something needs to change with the eggs. We’re making several changes in 2016, including thinning and updating our flock, setting aside space to plant chicken food to supplement their commercial (expensive) feed, and, raising prices for dozens to $6/dozen.
We are honored to be able to provide food to our customers, family, and friends, and we look forward to continuing to learn and grow our farm business!