About me...I'm one generation removed from the farm but have spent a lot of time on the family farm which is now operated by my uncle. It's been said "farming as a business is a good lifestyle, farming as a lifestyle is bad business." I'm attracted to the business and lifestyle of farming because I enjoy working outdoors, working with machinery, and facing the opportunities and challenges stemming from being an entrepreneur.
My wife, Alicia, and I can't afford hundreds or thousands of acres of land to get started in conventional grain farming in Saskatchewan which is why our business plan is centered around growing berries, specifically Haskap, Raspberries, Saskatoons and Dwarf Sour Cherries, for wholesale. The aforementioned berries are all high value, can be harvested mechanically and have lots of market opportunity. Most berry growers are also processors. Focusing solely on production will enable us to produce large quantities of berries to sell to Canadian processors. In 2016 we started beekeeping to prepare for berry farming. We'd also like to diversify into beef production and possibly conventional grain farming if the opportunities present themselves.
Alicia and I both have professional off-farm jobs and have used all spare income to build up equity which we'll use to operate the farm. We're looking for land, 10 acres to a home quarter, around Outlook (where we live now) or possibly near Weyburn or Kenosee (if we could find jobs in these places). In our spare time we enjoy playing sports, hiking, camping and walking our fur babies Frankie and Marlie.
I work as an Irrigation Engineer. I love logistics, record keeping, and improving process efficiency. At work I'm surrounded by experts from the agriculture industry and I also have family who farm. These resources have enlightened me with valuable information and helped me gain practical farming experience. Having direct access to these experts will be a huge benefit as our farming operation expands.
I'm mechanically inclined and often feel like there is no task I can't learn or teach myself how to do. I also have most of the tools required to complete the majority of standard farm repairs.
Lastly, we're frugal and have a knack for finding good deals and stretching our money. We like having a budget and a plan before making major purchases. Keeping budgets, records and improving on farm processes using innovative ideas and analysis is how we plan on gaining our competitive edge.
As the business plan sits now we're planning to farm alone. Alicia and I are both able to contribute labour to the farm and will hire friends and family if needed. We're not opposed to partnering with someone though if the right opportunity came up. My goal is to grow large enough to be able to farm full time in 10 years.
Our beef, bees and berry farm would be on land well suited to berries. Good air and water drainage. Irrigation. There would be 100+ acres of berries with an onsite freezing and packaging facility. It would be recognized as a leader in berry production on the prairies. Ideally the farm could eventually provide all of its own power through biomass boilers, solar panels and possibly even bio diesel. The farm would donate money back to the community by supporting local groups, organizations and facilities.
Relationship with farm owner
At the most basic level our farm needs land. 10 to 160 acres, close to our jobs, and land we can own.
Any storage facilities, livestock facilities or equipment is a bonus. If we had a mentor, we could work out an arrangement whereby I provide labour to their farm in exchange for the use of equipment and facilities. We prefer open and honest communication and feedback in order to improve myself and the farm. Berry experience would be awesome although there is a limited number of people in Saskatchewan who can satisfy this requirement. Experience in marketing and cattle would be very beneficial to our farm. Overall we'd like to find someone who is hard working, caring, compassionate and enjoys having fun at work.