Small Organic Livestock Farm in NJ?

Mattdohn

New member
Messages
1
Hello! I am completely new to the world of agro and was looking for some advice on a dream of mine. I graduated college two years ago and have been working a good paying job but I know it’s work that I don’t want to do forever. Me and my fiancé planned on having a hobby farm when we do get a home so I got a part time job on a dairy farm to learn. Seeing how it is this families full time job working on their land really inspired me to look deeper into this and maybe create my own full time farmstead.

Can I own a profitable full time livestock farm in NJ with Goats, Pigs and Chicken? From the research I’ve done (no first hand knowledge) those are the most profitable livestock that require the least amount of land. From my research I can sustain 12-16 goat, 50-70 pig, and whole lot of chicken on 5 acres? I am open to have more but I would be the only person maintaining it so its important not to overwhelm myself, also NJ land is not cheap.

I would love to produce organic meat from animals who I can ensure were raised ethically and even educate a suburban community on livestock. Responses I’m really looking for are all based on income and property size, can I make a living (50K year) raising and selling wholesale (or by cut) organic livestock with those numbers?
 

Ben

Farm Hand
Messages
35
I can't say either way as I don't live in your area and to be honest, the coronavirus has thrown the industry for a loop. There are some factors to consider that might help you see whether it will be profitable enough for you. One big issue is determining who your buyer is going to be. It costs more to raise livestock organically and humanely. You need to make sure there are enough buyers who will be able and willing to pay more for ethically raised, organic meat. Organic certification can be pricey, so keep that in mind. NJ has high property taxes (that's based on watching HGTV with my wife). The general public will picture animals that they're turned out to pasture to graze. Animals that have enough room to move around. The legal definition for these labels might not be as strict, but your competition or an animal rights group could out you if that's not what you're really doing. Goat meat isn't popular, goat milk isn't popular in my area, but it might be where you are. They are escape artists. Pigs are destructive and they quickly tear up the land. They're also smart and good at escaping their fence. Depending on what type you get, You could raise around 25 pigs per acre maybe. They'll need rotated often. Vet care can become expensive. Plus there's tons of maintenance expenses that most people don't think about. There will be lots of manure to deal with as well. If the demand is there, you can charge quite a bit for your ethically raised, organic meat. There are ways to mitigate some of the issues I mentioned too.

Will 50K really be enough? If you're planning to do this full time you'll need to pay for your own health insurance and to save up enough for your retirement someday. I wouldn't go all in at first. Keep your job while you get your homestead started and begin with just a few animals. Until you've lived it, you can't really be sure that this is what you want to do and it's a huge lifestyle change and investment.
 

Almost Eden

Farm Hand
Messages
56
I don't think five acres will be enough for a home, some crops, pasture land, and all those animals. Have you decided on which type of goat, chicken, and pig you're most likely to go with? Does the dairy farmer think you have a good plan? Raising livestock means daily chores. It's hard to take a vacation or even to take a single day off. I wasn't willing to sacrifice that much at your age, but I know everyone is different.

@RichZ raised goats in NY, so hopefully he'll chime in as he's bound to have a better handle on the market than some of us.
 

RichZ

Golden Chicken
Messages
159
Well,,,,it all depends. I had a goat dairy farm on 10 acres, and I also raised chickens for eggs and sheep for wool. However, I never raised any animals for meat. Five acres really isn't enough to have much pasture. Even at 10 acres, my pastures were very limited, and I ended up spending a ton of money on hay. If you keep your operation VERY SMALL, it might be doable.

First, if you plan on raising goats for meat, you have to know if you have a market first. Goat meat is not all that popular in the USA, unless you have a good ethnic market, which is possible in New Jersey. You are close enough to New York City to market your meat there. I live in upstate New York, about 200 miles from NYC and I had my eggs shipped to a couple of restaurants in NYC.

Learn where your market is and how much it will cost you to sheep your products to it, before you get too deep into your farm. If your market is local, you will stand a much better chance. Eggs and chicken always have a local market, everyone eats eggs. Maybe you should start out raising chickens for eggs and meat and possibly move on from there.

In my case, I could never raise animals for slaughter, so my products were goat milk, eggs and wool.
 
 
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