Costing us WAY more than it needs to,

for a variety of reasons, and our first attempts to cut costs really needs to be amped up a lot. Earnings improved dramatically in 2012 over previous years, but they are still dismally low compared to where they could and should be. So if we have a single overall goal for 2013, it’s to really get the farm firing on all cylinders and producing a lot more, in cost-effective ways.

Towards that end, we’ve had two Millie-Moments almost back to back. The first I’ve already described – the chance to purchase a small used combine that would dramatically change the crops we can grow, the markets we can access and the amount of feed we can raise for our own use. Since the feed bill is our #1 line item cost, that’s a huge step forward. But it’s also a huge new beast with a lot of pro’s and con’s. I’ve been working the last week on a series of spreadsheets that provide detail on what we’d be able to grow, how much we’d be able to grow, how much of those same crops we already use as feed, what we pay currently for that feed, and what we’d pay to produce that feed (as a direct comparison to what we’re paying to buy it). I’m on my fourth spreadsheet and I’m starting to think it would take less planning to put a man on the moon. BUT, it’s all really important information so that we can make this really big decision, in a well-informed way.

The second Millie Moment came three days ago, when a good friend of ours announced that she was quitting her job in retail sales, which has really run her into the ground with very little $$$ to show for it. Furthermore, she proposed that she come back to work for us on the farm. Wow. Now, we’ve hired her in the past off and on to help us with spot jobs when we needed extra help and DH had to work. But the thought of having steady help, even PT help, has been another game-changer for us. Like with the combine, there are a lot of pro’s and con’s to consider. But it would open up some huge opportunities for us that we’ve been wrestling with for a long time now.

So, our single goal for 2013 is to get this farm beast pulling more weight and making more money, in intelligent ways. The two Millie-Moments above will no doubt figure in some way, but there are lots of others that I won’t bore you with. Bottom line, more money in, less money out, bigger and bigger snowballs wiping out our debt. That’s the goal.

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