Development Corner continued from page seventeen
Example: I saw 20 people come up to the cash registers at Johnson’s Backyard Gardens in a ten minute period. Average purchase was $7. 6*10= 60 minutes, so 20*6=120 people in an hour, 120*7 = $840 in one hour, $840*4 hours = $3360. This is what the farm stand would make for the day. As a side note, this was the busiest booth at the market. They also had an extremely well-designed layout where there was easy customer flow, and I counted about 18 different crops for sale, so their booth exuded abundance and diversity. They also had 4 people working the market and 2 cash registers. Later I talked to Brent (the owner), told him about what we were doing and asked him if that estimate was accurate. He said that actually, it was pretty much right on. He also told me that he’s growing on 80 acres, has 80 people who work for him (I’m sure some are part time and just for markets), that he does 13 markets a week (6 on Saturdays) and that they are grossing $3 million a year. That’s unheard of in the vegetable world. He also has a huge
Cows and Mule Deer
CSA, and I would guess that they are selling to some wholesale accounts as well. • Location: What was the impetus for this market? Why did it start? Is the community that it’s in “bought in” to the market? Will they attend? Can they afford this food? Are they interested? If there isn’t the potential for a strong local customer base, the market will fail. 2) How do you evaluate a market manager? • Ask them why they started this market, what was the motivation? Is it community driven or did the idea come from outside the community? (one is a good sign, the other not such a good sign) • Did they do a pilot study? (this will help determine the need and desire for a market in the community) • Do they have a sense of how many customers are coming through the market? • Ask how they are advertising the market. What (if any) organizations are they working with to support the market in the community? (A market has a much better chance of sticking around if the community supports it) • Do they have a goal for the size and impact of the market?
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which can overcount mule deer. Increased efficiency of hunters using vehicles, telescopic sights and better rifles with more time increases hunter success. Any deer removal, especially “culling” of “management” bucks and does, leaves fewer deer for predators, increasing pressure on does and fawns. As a general statement, mule deer must be harvested sparingly. Human Tampering: High fences and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) are related. High-fencing appears imminent in far-West Texas mule deer country. Here is what we know about it from experience elsewhere. CWD, already in New Mexico mule deer herds, was recently found in far-West Texas. CWD is invariably fatal and highly contagious to all of the deer (cervid) family High-fenced areas accelerate the spread of CWD, because the disease-transmitting agents (prions) remain in the soil for many years and infect animals that are confined on infected feces and urine, or are bumping noses with other animals at feed and water points. CWD-infected mule deer can live for years and spread the disease. Swift removal by natural process is the best way to suppress CWD. In open ranges with widely-dispersed deer populations, mountain lions are the best tool. Sick mule deer are vulnerable, and lions seem immune to CWD (based on failed brainto-brain experimental transfers). Generally, high-fence game farming is economically unsustainable, and as usually practiced is damaging to wildlife and habitat. The set stocking of unnaturally high numbers of deer devastates the habitat inside the fences, as does set stocking of
18 IN PRACTICE
January / February 2013
Golden Rules of Marketing • Start as small as you can learn the markets • Diversify to manage risk • Know your story and tell it! • Direct markets and wholesale markets take different skills and different strategies, and bring different benefits • Remember to keep your financial and personal goals in mind • Remember to calculate the COSTS of your markets • Sell it before you sow it • Build your customer base through personal relationships and networking 3) Questions to ask yourself about entering a farmers market: • What are the nearest markets and how much will it cost (fuel, labor—yours too!— energy) to work them? • Are there enough customers to make it profitable? • What’s my niche? • Do I enjoy working with the public? (This is important!) • How much time will I spend, and how early will my day start and end?
cattle at any density inside any fence. A primary high-fence objective is genetic manipulation. Animals are bred for one characteristic: big racks. Eventually, these find their way back into the wild population with unknown effects on native gene pools. Captive fawn survival compared to free-range deer is reported in Texas to be as low as 14%: In my opinion, this is probably because does are not giving fawns their natural antibodies including “medicine” coming through weeds and other natural food, and, is a result of genetic-tinkering. The answer to this mystery of mule deer disappearance is rather simple, at least in concept: We must restore our native plants through animal impact by mimicking nature, encouraging biodiversity and ceasing single species management. The fact is that 80% of native animals on this continent disappeared when early humans arrived. Consequently there are many empty niches in the ecological system which will benefit from having some animal species in them; plants don’t care where animal impact comes from, so long as they get what they need. Cattle merely replace bison but many other animals might work. Cows are just easier, pay for themselves, and can be vaccinated against wildlife diseases. Let us approach this issue with common sense and pragmatism. In this spirit HMI is presenting a series of classes based on the use of cattle to help wildlife. Cows and Quail is the only wildlife and habitat class based on the recognition that plants need animals as much as animals need plants. Watch for one near you. Chris Gill and his family own the Circle Ranch near Van Horn, Texas where they are, using cattle to improve wildlife habitat. www.circleranchtx.com.