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View Diary: Cartoon: Tips and tricks for new college students (38 comments)

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  •  The farmer's life is tough (13+ / 0-)

    I'm the sixth generation to grow up on our family farm, and mine was the first generation to go to college on Mom or Dad's side of the family  

    My degrees were worth it, and I made it through a BS & and MS with zero debt, but it required:

    The GI Bill - and 5 month deployment in 1st Gulf War.
    Help with tuition from Mom & Dad,
    Working full time every summer and saving
    Washing dishes 4 days a week while going to college
    Attending Land Grant Colleges, which are better investments than For Profit Schools.

    Two decades later, I am going to give the farming life a shot again, but probably not with goats.  

    A County Extension Agent once told me, "If you can walk up to a fence and throw a bucket of water through it - a goat can get through, around, or over it."  

    I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

    by mHainds on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:26:40 AM PDT

    •  The key part is the price tag on the fancy cheese (17+ / 0-)

      This is something Vermont dairy farmers spent the last 20 years learning the hard way. When your average dairy farm has 80 cows, you can't make a living selling milk.

      You've got to turn the raw ingredients into something with a brand name and a fancy label. You can't let the distributors take all the profit.

      I haven't looked at the math in 10 years or so, but here's how it used to go around here:

      Regular milk: $12 per hundredweight, farmer pays delivery.
      Organic milk: $24 per hundredweight, buyer pays delivery.
      Fancy cheese: 10lbs of cheese per hundredweight, $10 to $20 per pound of cheese = at least $100 per hundredweight.

      It's still not an easy life, and you've got to learn about sales, distribution, etc. Other the other hand, there was a farm where a women was making a living off 8 goats, which is a miracle.

      Vermont organic farmers are actually pretty hilarious. They look and sound like hippies, until they start talking business. Then they sound like really hardcore entrepreneurs: branding, distribution channels, cash flow, restaurant deals. Turns out that a lot of them burned out really badly in New York City, and they decided that they wanted go make cheese. It's still not an easy life. But they work hard, they make excellent cheese, and they bring money to the local economy.

    •  funny quote about the goats (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CWinebrinner, mHainds

      getting through the fence.
      I don't like goats much, they can be mean.

    •  Congratulations (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mHainds, xaxnar, doingbusinessas, Creosote

      You did a pretty amazing thing, getting your degrees with no debt.

      A farm family here in Kansas was trying to come up with a way to pay for their kids college.  They started growing sweet corn and selling it at stands all over within their area.  The kids assembled the stands, picked the corn, packaged it and moved it to the various stands as needed.

      Anytime during the summer, you could walk up to their stand and buy a bakers' dozen ears for about the going price at the grocery store, but it was fresher and sweeter, and if you wanted a bunch, you could place an order a couple days in advance and get ten dozen.

      They easily paid tuition for the first year, and then things skyrocketed on them.  They are still selling corn a decade or more later; they stagger their plantings to have fresh corn all summer long, even into the fall.  It went from being a few extra bucks for college to making their fortune for them.  And as far as I know, that isn't their only crop.  I think they still do the full range of commodities.

      To the left, to the left....

      by CWinebrinner on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:08:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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