2019 in a [premature] nutshell

Hey everyone,

So I’m patiently awaiting the publishing at work of what the deployments will look like this summer. They should be coming out later today.

Ok, explanation: Farming is not my main career, yet. I am an airline pilot by trade, and the company I work for sends half of our fleet to help our sister companies in Europe during summer. Last year we sent 10 planes and over 150 pilots to Europe. This year the number is 11 planes and 160+. Usually there are enough volunteers that cover all the spots, that those who decide not to deploy can avoid it. What’s this got to do with Black Duck Farm?

Last year I ordered my 2nd batch of chicks on July 18th, and on July 21st my company announced that some pilots were going to be involuntarily. Naturally, this caused some concern, as the highest seniority pilot being sent was 3 spots below me. And this year, we are sending an extra plane.

This means, Black Duck Farm is going on the defense. I placed a request to go voluntarily for half of the summer, as those who go voluntarily cannot be forced to go at another date involuntarily. This would allow me to spend time with my family, do at least 1 batch of chickens, and plant a large number of trees this spring. The confirmation dates, is what we are awaiting.

If my requested dates and locations come through in my favour, I will be doing ONE batch of organic chickens, ready in late June-very early July. If they don’t, we might be looking at one batch of chickens ready in October, or maybe even no time to do any chickens. That would be very unfortunate.

All this aside, here are the guarantees for the 2019 growing season:

1) Demand for organic chickens being so high, the batch of chickens I will be raising will be fed 100% organic feed. As soon as I know my dates, pre-sales will start.

2) There will be no turkeys raised this year. I absolutely loved raising them, and they were profitable for us, but I cannot guarantee being home all summer. As such, their place among our products will take a pause. Same with ducks, which I had hoped to add this year – they will have to wait.

3)Website optimization will come through in the next few weeks. There was some confusion for a few people when, by entering blackduckfarm.ca, they were redirected to bdfarm.co. That should be fixed very soon. And I am working on getting an online order form set up soon, to make pre-orders easier.

4) 2019 will be the year of infrastructure investment into the farm. I just attended Eco Farm Day this past weekend, and the keynote speaker was Ben Hartman, a champion of lean, efficient, and profitable farms. Armed with his book and more ideas than I can put my head around, I will be finding ways to improve my product value for you, and to spend even more time at home.

In addition, since the orchard was started in 2018, I won’t be adding fruit trees this year, but rather expand our plantings of small fruits and nuts (200+ trees ordered from the RRCA!), and preparing ground for further expansion of the orchard in 2020. The vision here, is to have about 100 trees in total and 250+ small fruits producing for a u-pick farm in the near future. I will be continuing to dabble in flower plantings for diversity both of ecosystem, and of potential products. Let me know what you think!

So that’s it. Hopefully good news come our way this afternoon. At least, with the conference this past weekend, I feel as motivated as ever to make this farm work. We achieved profitability in 2019. Now I am working on sustainability.

A.

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