Bootstrap @ Blue Sage Farm – Reflections on Policy and Regulation

I have to say I feel really lucky that I have a great dairy inspector.  I’ve heard horror stories about how an inspector can make your life miserable but I haven’t experienced that.  I think it helps that we built our facility new and didn’t try to retrofit an old barn.  Read More  Read More

Bootstrap @ Blue Sage Farm – developing a marketing plan

Farmer’s markets have been the mainstay of my marketing plan for the past 9 years. They are a great way to get a small farm up and running with some cash flow but there are downsides to farmer’s markets. For one, they are usually only open in the summer but farm expenses come all year long. Read More  Read More

Bootstrap @ Blue Sage Farm – Pasture Management

Pasture Management.  It should be the easiest subject to write about because it’s my favorite, but for some reason, it’s the hardest subject for me to put into words.  How do I explain in 800 words, what really can be summed up in just two, “It depends”!  There are so many variables in pasture management from plant and animal species to temperature to day length.  Add in animal nutrition requirements, walking distance to the parlor and... 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 @ Blue Sage Farm – Animals and Breeds

Since my main interest is sheep, I’m going to concentrate most of this blog post to them but I will mention in passing that I have Alpine dairy goats and have started getting some Nubians for their higher milk components.  I sort of inherited the goats, they really aren’t my passion, and the biggest reason I keep them around is for raising the bum lambs.  The cheese I make from the extra milk they produce is easy to sell.  People are really... Read More

Bootstrap @ Blue Sage Farm: Welcome!

Me (Laura) discing with Pam, Ben, Lorna (and Flint) Hi, I’m Laura Sluder and I run Blue Sage Farm. Blue Sage Farm is a small sheep and goat dairy located in southern Idaho. The farm philosophy is to let the animals do as much as the work as possible. While I have been farming since 2001, I didn’t start dairying until 2009. It has been a huge learning curve even though I had a background in farming and ranching. As with most farms today, one... Read More

GIPSA Begins Investigation of Sheep Price Manipulation

Sheep farmers: have you seen problems with lamb prices recently? The USDA’s Grain Inspection Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) has opened an investigation of the U.S. sheep market in response to a recent dramatic price decreases.  The investigation aims to reveal whether there is market manipulation by processors that is affecting prices. At the heart of the issue is the fact that the processing sector for lamb is highly concentrated... Read More

Introducing Firefly Meadows of Fairfield, NE

Mike and Rita Brhel’s just over five acres might be small in size but it’s big in dreams. Firefly Meadows features a farm-fresh chicken and duck egg business, a pasture-based sheep operation, and a vegetable garden with spring, summer, and fall plantings. There are plans to add meat goats, pigeons, and an orchard. Both Mike and Rita grew up on farms – Mike on a diversified livestock and crop operation southwest of Lincoln, NE, and Rita on a... Read More

Introducing NYFC’s Newest Advisory Committee Members – Adam Stofsky

 Adam is a human rights lawyer, social entrepreneur, and part-time farmer.  Adam currently works as the founder and executive director of the New Media Advocacy Project and a co-founder of Ticketyboo Farm, with his wife Anna.  Adam is a graduate of Amherst College (1998) and Harvard Law School (2004). After finishing law school, he served as a law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and then received a Skadden Fellowship... Read More