Today I am going to walk you through seven sources of income that I generate on my sheep farm for profit. A lot of people talk about the concept of having multiple income streams, and it’s usually presented in a very abstract way. Today I’m going to take you through these seven sources of income and how I generate them without leaving the farm.
“Most successful family economies over history involved a mix of trades rather than just one. The village blacksmith also farmed his own land. Our first president was also a distinguished orchardist. Ben Franklin was a courier, author, publisher, statesman, and inventor. So it will be today successful enduring family economies will most likely need to be diversified and cross a range of durable trades.” (Durable Trades, Pg. 41)
Number one source of income is livestock. I run both sheep and a cow herd. The cow herd is a break-even enterprise. I sell the grass fed beef on a local level and it really allows me to satisfy my desire to produce a local food source for my community. The sheep are a profit center on my farm.
My sheep are purebred Dorper sheep. The demand for my sheep is such that all of my sheep are selling on the hoof. They are selling as breeding stock to other small farms. Managing the livestock end of my farm takes about two hours per day. I know a lot of you probably have a job that you need to keep as your primary income source and wonder if it’s possible to run a farm on the side. It is definitely possible.
Being able to finish my farm work in just 1-2 hours per day came down to having the right tools for both my grazing system and my watering system. Here is a free P D F download that lists all of those tools I use.
The second source of income for me is a result of the fact that I have more demand for my sheep than I’m able to supply with my own farm.
I launched a pasture-based breeder directory at shepherdess.com. Pasture-based sheep farmers can join this directory and I will do the marketing for them. You can check this out at shepherdess.com/breeders.
Income source number three is not tied to farming at all. It is a line of leather work and creative products that I produce myself.
This was the bulk of my income before my work in agriculture really got off the ground and started generating income. I have not completely phased the leather work business out. I understand that what I’m experiencing right now with the ability to generate enough income to support myself through agriculturally related means may not last forever.
So I have put the leatherwork/craft business on a side hustle basis. In the case that things slow down on the farm I can expand my capacity for taking orders.
The fourth source of income is Sheep Care supplies kits at Shepherdess.com. What has really made this popular is that I actually assemble kits for beginner sheep farmers.
What I found as a beginner shepherd was that there were just a few supplies that kept situations from becoming emergencies. I sell those products in kits at shepherdess.com. I run Shepherdess.com out of my garage. It is something that I’m able to do right from the farm.
Income source number five is podcasting and videos. Now, this is a very, very small income source. YouTube ad revenue is very small for me, surprisingly enough. I guess the farming niche that is a very low ad revenue generating niche, but the sheep farming videos I create for youtube generate a lot of traffic to shepherdess.com where I sell products for profit.
Income source number six really ties back to my time in the apparel industry. I really have a love for creating unique and beautiful things to wear, and so periodically I will update shepherdess.com with merch and apparel that has an agricultural theme. The neat thing about this apparel also is that my sister is an amazing artist and she’ll actually collaborate with me to create a lot of the designs that are applied to this merchandising: whether it’s shirts or note cards or stickers. This is a really fun project that we can mutually collaborate on here at the farm, and you guys have been so generous to support that.
Income source number seven is something I’m so excited to tell you guys about, and it is the launch of my very own book, the Basics of Raising Sheep on Pasture. As beginner sheep, farmers going into Sheep Farming with no previous experience in four-footed livestock. Our first few years was really rough.
But we adapted management principles, which I outline in this book, and death rate went from above industry average on our sheep farm to one third of industry average within just two seasons. Pre-order opens on August 15th, 2023, and I would so appreciate your support for the launch at Shepherdess.com.