Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Homestead Economics

Sometimes new homesteaders forget about the economics of homesteading. In their excitement they rush out and buy material, buy livestock, and buy feed for the livestock. Then they pay someone to butcher that livestock. By the time all is said and done those cuts of meat in their freezer cost them more than those bought in the grocery. The economics of the homestead has been blown out of the water. What are homesteading economics? Well, reducing the cost of living, being self sufficient, being more sustainable, and for many environmentalism. So let's look at the economics of two homesteads from these perspectives. We will take raising a couple of pigs for fall butchering and look at it from two perspectives.

Homesteader 1:
1. Purchases 1 feeder pig in the spring for 30.00.
2. Purchases material for hog pen 200.00
3. Purchases feed for 6-8 months feeding 120.00-140.00
4. butchering cost in the fall 75.00
5. Supplement with kitchen scraps- Free
Total cost for about 150 lbs. of meat 425.00-445.00 or 2.83/lb-2.96/lb. Lately in the grocery store I have been paying less than 2.00 per pound for pork.

Homesteader 2:
1. Purchases two feeder pigs to breed later 60.00
2. Fences in small pasture for pigs to free range using purchased fence and cut your own fence post 200.00
3. Plants extra garden plot for hog feed (seed cost) 5.00
4. no butchering year 1
5. Supplement with kitchen scraps- Free
6. Year 2 8 piglets born- sell 4 (120.00 back into pig budget)
7. Again plant garden plot for hog feed using seeds from previous year's crop and allow free range- Free
8. Feed kitchen scraps- Free
9. Self butcher 4 remaining piglets- 600lbs. meat free
Total cost for 600.00 of meat 145.00 or 24cents/lb. Now that is a bargain

These scenarios are meant to be examples of how to plan and manage a homestead. A homestead is not meant to be cost consuming, but cost efficient. In order for it to be cost efficient means sometimes that proper planning should be thought out and done ahead of time. It also means that there may be more work involved such as growing your own feed. However, this is what the original concept of homesteading was a self- sufficient ecological environment. Having to re-purchase livestock each year and feed is not self- sufficient because you are still dependant on outside supplies. So when planning your homestead really think about how your homestead is going to support not only you, but the livestock that you have. Work towards making the homestead a closed ecological environment, meaning that it needs no outside sources for its support. God bless

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