I wanted to share my latest chicken success. We decided to go for a late year production run of 50 birds to test the water on late year production in Idaho. Kyle made an incredible large brooder that was flexible enough to adjust and hold birds to full growth. We were not able to pasture them, however, they had a large space and were able to get outside into a large 12 x 12 area for scratching and bugs. I fed them extra greens from my fall garden also to make up for lack of pasture.
We took a 100% live production run to processing this week. I was so excited because we had zero losses beyond the two that did not make it live in shipping. We processed 8 weeks to the day and our average size was 5.5 pounds. We had some 4.5 pounders and a large number of 6 pound birds.
All our birds are sold and delivered except the few we are keeping for our own use. All sales are going into the farm fund to purchase more cattle and purchase the next chicken run.
I am researching farmers markets for next season and putting plans together for product offerings beyond chicken. Started conversations with our local health department and the rural business development group. Found a processor that can do chicken parts for farmers markets and a commercial kitchen to process artisan breads and other products for my stand.
Your class and materials have really been such a great resource to get up and running. I referenced your information on the chickens to help me manage this batch and credit your suggestions with the 100% live success.
Debra and Kyle B.
Little Cow Mountain
Before starting my pasture-based farm I wanted to consult with a few successful farmers to get a second opinion. I spent seven hours on Darby’s farm and the experience was excellent. Darby opened his farm to me and we discussed his best practices, the site design for my farm, marketing strategy, and expected revenue/costs. The consultation was great; Darby’s advice saved me from wasting time and money.
One of the most informative blocks of the consultation with Darby was when he reviewed his farm finances and gave me a realistic breakdown of what it costs to raise livestock using a pasture based model. Darby’s advice on how to market and price my products was thorough and well thought out. He sent me home with a folder of information that detailed everything we talked about.
Consulting with Darby was great and I would recommend that anyone who is serious about starting a new farm spend a few hours with Darby. The benefit of his knowledge, time, and information is certainly money well spent.
If you are reading this testimonial it is because you are considering contacting Darby either about your homestead or on a fee-based consultation basis. That is good, I encourage you to do your homework and ask around about Darby and his capabilities. After all it is your homestead or your farm and no one cares for it more than you. From one a farm owner/operator/homesteader to another, Darby is someone that has a passion for sharing his knowledge, he operates from an ethical perspective and gives more than he receives. He will help you make wise decisions about your ventures. In my dealings with Darby he is a good listener as well as communicator and he uses his engineering background to quickly think through challenges with a technicians detail.
I came to farming in my late 40’s and have been farming since 2007. No matter what, you have to have an understanding of how to farm and then spend time doing it. There is no getting around the time, commitment, energy, passion, knowledge and treasure it takes to be successful. Additionally, no matter how much knowledge you have you will always have successes and failures. You learn by doing, sharing, reading, thinking, and applying your energy and growing your skill level. If you want a head start that will help you reduce your risk of failure and increase your odds of success, than you will want to work with someone that can help you. Darby is capable of giving you the head start you need as long as you are willing to learn.
For me, I wanted to transition our farm from a GMO grain production model to a Beyond Organic farming model. Darby helped me connect the missing pieces and confirm that yes I am on the right track. He is encouraging to talk to and has a depth of knowledge of many areas and will help you understand not only the how to, but more importantly the why from a business owners perspective.
I highly recommend Darby. His fees are more than fair and I believe you will recoup your investment many times over. I look forward to continue working with Darby as my farm develops.
Whitesel Family Farms
I worked with Darby on a project where he introduced me to other farmers in the market who were just as passionate as he was. He helped me understand the farmers market, the marketing and sales of products from the farm, how products sell at the market, the difference in chemical free, organic, beyond organic, etc. His knowledge was invaluable as he was able to relate farm speak to suburbanite speak as he was once in my shoes. While it may be a 7th generation farm, he wasn’t always a farmer. What I gained from him would have taken me months if not years to uncover myself. While many farmers love what they do, some are not “people” persons. Darby loves his job, and loves to educate people about his passion. Darby was able to help me navigate and potentially avoid some huge mistakes with my new venture and made me think of options I hadn’t even considered. He connected me with some people to help bring my idea to a reality and go from vision to action. Many people I encounter “waking up” say they want to start growing more of their own food or get it sourced locally. But, where to start? What are the pitfalls? What mistakes to avoid? What insider tips should you listen to? What are good investments vs marketing hype?
I know many people move to the country to start a “farm”, then get down because it is too much all at once and they fail for lack of direction and education. Darby was able to take a step back and ask critical questions and help guide me in the right direction. Had I not heeded his advice, my venture may have failed, and the loss of income would have been detrimental to my family. Sometimes you only get one shot at something, why not hone your aim, get some good advice, and start with the best possible foot forward.
Rick in Indiana
“I am a suburbanite that has moved to the country so my knowledge of animal husbandry is quite limited. We raised broiler chickens for the first time this year, and were pretty successful, so we wanted to expand our offerings for next year. In order to take that next step I needed advice on how to best do that, and help making wise choices about where to invest with limited funds. I decided to reach out to Darby Simpson and take advantage of his consulting services.
My wife and I ended up speaking to Darby for a couple of hours, and it was money well spent. We not only got advice on how to raise pastured pigs and turkeys, but we also got great advice on the marketing and business side of small farming. It was that advice that really helped make us confident that we were not going to lose our shirt as we grow our business. He showed us how to start the next enterprise without a lot of personal capitol and provided links with more resources and information.
It was my first time speaking with Darby, but it was like talking to an old friend as the call progressed. I will be using his services again and can recommend them highly.”
Patrick at Coyote Rock Farm