In Episode 32 of Chris Blanchard’s “Farmer to Farmer” podcast, Chris talks with Rebecca Thistlethwaite, author of “The New Livestock Farmer,” about her experiences raising livestock and direct marketing it in California. It’s a great look at how to solve the logistics of raising animals and direct marketing on leased land. Even if you don’t plan to farm at the scale that Rebecca and her husband did, you’ll get some valuable tips for managing your livestock and selling your products.
Rebecca has a lot of experience to share. She and her husband started raising broilers. Customers raved about the flavor of the chickens saying, “It tastes just like the chicken my grandmother used to make!” They thought it was funny that their chicken “tasted like chicken” and thus the name of the ranch: TLC (Tastes Like Chicken). Over time, as they added pigs, a few sheep and some cows to the mix, the name translated to “Tender, Loving, Care.”
As Rebecca says, “There’s a certain scale to making money from farming.” They also had incredible demand in the San Francisco Bay area. So they scaled up until they hit what they thought was their sweet spot, raising 10,000 broilers, 5,000 laying hens, and 300 hogs, farrow to finish. They direct marketed 80% of their product to consumers where they found the best profitability.
In this podcast, Rebecca shares the animal management logistics, including the kinds of chicken housing and watering systems that worked best, as well as how they sold their product. She also gives a lot of great tips for getting started and growing. You can see some quotes from the podcast here to get an idea of what Rebecca and Chris cover. Then listen to the podcast on line or head over to iTunes and download the podcast to your tablet or phone and listen while you drive or work.