• Small farms finding new ways to stay successful

    By Jake Godin, Marissa McEntire and Austin Nichols

    MEXICO — Robert Worstell is a Missouri farm owner with big ideas on how to successfully run a small farm.

    “First thing, you have to kick over conventional wisdom,“ Worstell said concerning the difference between small and large farms.

    Worstell is moving away from conventional methods used by larger farms and looking for ways to cut costs.

    Worstell inherited the farm from his father who used to concentrate on growing row crops, such as corn and beans. His father would then use a portion of the crops to feed his cattle. While that works for larger farms, Worstell said it simply doesn’t make sense to do on a farm like his.

    “I’ve got so many acres, and I’ve got so much grass, so that means I can raise so many cattle,” Worstell said. “So I gotta be smart with what I’m doing.”

    Here are some other things that Worstell is doing to make his small farm profitable. He’s saving money by buying his own hay instead of growing it. He is rotating his cattle so they will always have good grass to eat and changing the type of bull that he purchases. He said that by getting the smaller and more docile Galloway bull, he can fit more animals on any given acre of land and get more beef per acre.

    By finding unconventional ways to work his farm, Worstell has been seeing better returns. He says he plans to continue tweaking his methods as time goes on as well, whether that means fattening the calves he sells for a bit more cash or selling Indian corn stalks as decorations.

    Marketing is also an important part of Worstell’s strategy to increase profits. By designing his own website, he’s been able to sell directly to customers and even offer information about what goes into raising his cattle.

     

    ----------Posted on November 29, 2012 by in Student Work

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