Livestock farming is one of the oldest economic activities in the world. Livestock farming is when you raise animals in an agricultural setting to provide labor and products. From cattle to snails, any animal can be used for this activity. There are more than a million active livestock farms in the US covering 27% of the land in the country, making up a 258.8 billion dollar industry. Just one farm can feed 166 people a year. Most of the world's meat supply, over 68%, originates from here. If you ever want to start your own livestock farm, here’s how.
A Plot Of Land
You’ll need a lot of land to house and feed your animals. Livestock eats 41 million tons of food each year. You’ll need a place to store feed in case natural food becomes unavailable. They need protection from the elements like rain and extreme cold. It’ll need to be 30 feet above a nearby water source to prevent them from getting flooded out. You’ll want your land away from noise and pollution. Your animals need space to roam since overcrowding can lead to diseases that could greatly affect a consumer’s health.
Livestock farming equipment isn’t cheap, so here are the major necessities that you can’t live without. Hauling equipment will be your largest upfront expense. You’ll need a pickup truck, a utility vehicle, and a livestock trailer. A couple of farm wagons are good to have on hand to haul feed and other supplies around the property. Your equipment will be put through a lot, so have tools available to fix them. You’ll also need tools to repair fences. Stock up on batteries and flashlights to be ready for an outdoor emergency at night.
Picking An Animal
There is no single best animal to choose for beginners. Pick whatever animal drew you into livestock farming, to begin with. If you are unsure about which animal to choose, here are the most commonly picked options. Pigs are the most popular choice for livestock farming since they eat pretty much everything. They may be large animals, but they don’t need a lot of space. Sheep can provide you with a variety of products to sell on the side. They require good pastures, but round-the-clock watching as they have many natural predictors. Goats are hardy, useful creatures that are very adaptable to new surroundings.
Purchasing The Animals
With the land purchased, tools bought, and pens/stalls for the animals constructed, it’s time to buy the livestock. There are a couple of places you can go to purchase them. Contact larger farms about purchasing their extra animals. Local farms love supporting each other, and many will even be willing to give you advice. Livestock doesn’t do well alone, so if possible, buy 2 to 3 at a time. In the beginning, you should purchase gelded (castrated) males. This can provide you an opportunity to get your feet wet, without getting overwhelmed in the beginning. You should also avoid Livestock Markets as they often take advantage of first-time farmers.
Selling Your Wares
The ultimate goal of starting a livestock farm is to make a profit from the animals on it. Here are some ways to do just that. Set up a small roadside stand or shop near the farm. This is because everyone loves fresh from the farm food. Get a booth at your local Farmers Market. Talk to your local grocery stores and restaurants about supplying them with your product to sell or serve. Maintain a good public image by keeping your animals looking well-fed and healthy. Offer samples at the local grocery store to give those in your area a taste of what you are making.
For more information on Livestock Farming visit https://www.farmers.gov/