Sunday, February 9, 2014



Yep, I have sold just over half of my 2013 crop so far.  All the lentils are gone and half of the wheat.  It's good to finally get a pay check!

Lentils being loaded for delivery
The lentils were contracted just prior to harvesting them.  It took a few days to get a deal done because the elevator's buyer backed out at the last minute.  But after a bit they found another buyer and I signed a contract.  I wasn't sure exactly how much to contract because the crop hadn't been cut yet, so I was conservative on my estimate.  In the end, I had contracted 70% of the crop pre-harvest.

About a month after they were in the bin, I was able to get them hauled to the elevator.  The contracted lentils sold at $18.00 per hundred-weight and the excess lentils sold at $17.50.  The samples collected by the elevator were sent to the state USDA lab, where they graded out as No. 1 quality lentils.  Good news!  Dockage was 1.7%, while defects & foreign material were 0.9%.  Overall I was very happy with the results.

Wheat on the way to the elevator
I contracted the wheat crop after it was in the bin.  Half of the crop sampled out at 12.5% protein, so I contracted those bushels on a 12-protein bid at $6.47 that a local elevator just happened to have out.  Delivery was due in November, but due to rail issues the elevator couldn't take them until December.  Just like the lentils, samples were sent for analysis.  Weight was just under 62 lbs, protein was 12.36%, and dockage just over 0.3%.  Again, I was very happy.

The last half of the wheat crop is contracted for delivery this month.  I'm looking forward to getting it hauled off, so I can have the 2013 crop gone and be ready to fill the bins again in 2014.

It's great to have a Payday!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What Do I Do About This?

Uh...what do I do about this?

I found myself asking this question a million times once I started farming.  As I wrote in an earlier post, I sought out any training I could find as I began to transition from the Air Force to the farm.  One of the best programs I found is through the National Farmers Union and it's called the Beginning Farmer Institute.

 This is the third year for their program and I was lucky to get to participate.  It's an absolutely outstanding program, run by the NFU Director of Education who loves to help beginning farmers.

One of the many great education sessions
I can't tell you enough how great this program is.  The other participants are all beginning farmers and we bounce ideas and questions off of each other all the time.  The participants are also very diverse, which I think is great.  We have a dairy operator, organic and conventional grain farmers, bee keepers, and farmers market & CSA producers.  Some have been farming 4-5 years, some are just starting, others will be starting soon.

Touring Whistling Well Farm in MN
The agenda centers around developing leadership and farm management skills, but it is tailored to meet the needs and desires of each group of participants.  The group has had excellent access to a great group of experts, professional speakers, ag and small business professionals, government officials, and others.  The program includes three sessions where we met as a group.  Ours were held in Washington DC, Minneapolis, and soon in Santa Fe.

If you are a beginning farmer or if you know one, I encourage you to take a look at NFU's Beginning Farmer Institute.  But you need to hurry, applications for the 2014 participants are due on February 20th.

Now that I figured that out...what do I do about this?