Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Wal-Mart sweet-spot of corn farming

Here's the dope: if you spend less in making corn, even though the yield is less, you get way more profit. Now, I plan to feed a great deal of this corn to cattle - but it is all going to be ornamental/Indian corn, so I can sell it also during the fall for decorations. If I pick the right types, I can also sell it at the Farmer's Market for use as flour. Were I to invest in a cooler, I could sell the flour and/or grits - particularly if they were organically raised (means I'd have to raise organic-only crops on that land for three years - or just say that they were raised with organic methods meanwhile).

Wal-Mart sells a great deal more for slightly less. I can grow organic corn for a great deal less (read: a few hundred rather than a few thousand) and make the same price (provided I grow yellow corn) as the others. However, were I to sell this at local farmers' markets, having the organic label would double the price I could get - so under-producing by one-third, with 10 times less outlay gets me double price. When some insensitive farmer tells me how much more he makes with commodity corn, I cry all the way to the bank.

Oh, yes - by making organic corn, I can feed it to my cattle and enable these to be converted to organic beeves - doubling their price over commodity beef. I just have worries, worries, worries about what to do with all the money I can make. Means this little farm is going to get sustainable without having to have a day job to pay for itself...

"OP corn varieties selected for flavor taste better, cost less, need less fertilizer and are less likely to have been bred to carry GM transgenes. And by saving the seeds from your own crops you can develop a variety well adapted to your climate, site and soil. Some agricultural researchers point out that the money saved on seed and fertilizer with OP varieties can offset the productivity edge offered by hybrids."

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