Bootstrap @ The Golden Yoke – Looking Ahead at Capital and Equipment

This past month has been a big decision-making month for The Golden Yoke. Unlike the other Bootstrap farmers, we are not currently milking any cows, do not have any facilities, and do not have any real equipment to speak of.  And having just finished grad school, we do not have much cash on hand to put into these things. The next issue we have been tackling is that I (Laura) received a Fulbright and will be gone for most of 2014, the year we are... Read More

Bootstrap @ Corse Family Farm – Equipment & Capital

It takes a lot of equipment to farm here. And therefore, a decent amount of incoming capital. Enter here yet another of the reasons why we are a organic dairy and even further, with Organic Valley, where quality is rewarded with premiums. I have toyed with the idea many a time of raising grass fed beef, mainly in weak moments when I doubt my ability to manage everything that goes into a dairy and I am not the Superman that is my dad. The problem then... Read More

Bootstrap @ Chaseholm Farm – Reflecting on Equipment and Capital

Chaseholm Farm – Cow and calf posing by the fence I stepped into a nearly complete farm infrastructure on my first day of farming.  Around here that is how most people start.  It seems only recently have I noticed micro-dairies doing innovative parlor designs  (my favorite, a hoop house coving two shipping containers for milk house and milk parlor) I guess my point is that I stepped into a lucky arrangement and I can’t really imagine starting... Read More

Bootstrap @ North Country Creamery – Equipment to Get the Dairy Started

Much to my surprise, my first investment when landing on this farm in the spring was stainless steel. Since I highly valued keeping the milk from my herd on the farm, I threw down for the high-dollar equipment that the previous owner (and fabulous cheesemaker) Sam Hendren had installed and used in his hay day (cheese day). I bought Sam’s previous set-up: 300-gallon bulk tank, milk pails and cans, 200-gallon vat pasteurizer (also the cheese vat),... Read More

Bootstrap @ Blue Sage Farm – On Capital and Equipment

One of the most difficult things I had to do to get the dairy up and running was finding capital.  “You want to milk what??!!” was the standard response from bankers.  Even with a full business plan and financial statements along with a $160,000 grant from USDA, I had to finance the dairy with a home equity loan.  It was frustrating but totally understandable.  I hate being in debt but if I hadn’t borrowed so much money, I might have quit... Read More

Bootstrap @ Hartwood Farm – the New, the Old, and the Ugly (Equipment)

Equipment at Hartwood Farm: The New, the Old, and the Ugly With enough rain falling that the fields are too wet to work for the first time all year, we found ourselves in a reflective season’s ending sort of mood after Matt drove our tractor down to the shop for hydraulics repair. While we are waiting for the (hopefully not too) bad news, we’ve (read: Matt has) been struck by a strong case of equipment envy watching all the sweet combines hauling... Read More