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dirtdog

Looking to get a farm tax break.

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J.M.

Hi Jay, a friend of mine has about 70 acres and gets a tax break by some state reg for leaving it as open land. Just have to be careful if you sell it as there are some strings attached to back taxes.

Another friend of mine raised goats for about 10 to 15 years. He used to crossbreed milk goats and pygmy goats. He claimed they were the most efficient at putting on weight for amount of feed used and were very hardy. He kept one buck and about 6-7 does. All the kids were butchered in the Fall or sold off to various ethnicities who paid a pretty good price, and mostly did their own butchering. I do recall that he had to watch the fences pretty good and also kept an eye out for coyotes, although he claimed he had more trouble with stray dogs.

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bobman
raise some cattle atleast they are edible, goat tastes like ...well you know

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John
Goat meat or chevon is popular. When we first moved to Maine we use to go to farm auctions. We found it strange they sold lots of goat kids figuring who would want so many. Then we found they were being sold for meat.

We had a goat named Mark Henry-named after my ornery older brother. He was a Toggenburg-handsome brown and white goats. He wasn't castrated or dehorned and was an incredibly powerful animal and could drag 100's of pounds of chained together concrete blocks while grazing. We had to tether him because an electric fence didn't phase him. He was a character, not mean just rambunctious and was to unruly around the young kids so we gave him away with the promise he wouldn't be eaten.

Sorry to divert the theme of Topic but goats have personalities where most sheep I have met don't. This may be anthropomorphic but I'd have a hard time eating or butchering goats after owning one.

ah...the real brad seeps out...lol  bet your out there in woods sterlilzing grouse with a custom birth controll shot and deer too....LOL

ah...what an image.

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dirtdog

Sheepeagle

Thanks for the info. Why the caution with a border collie? I have always wanted one and plan to do agility with it, and if I have sheep or goats or both I can use the dog for them as well. Herding training a dog is one aspect of dog training I have never delved into and certainly would like to learn.

My farm is small, 10-acres, and was a horse farm previously. I have 4 fenced fields and would be moving the sheep regularly from field to field and to the barn when needed. My neighbor has a large field also and would love for me to bring the sheep across the road to his place. A dog sounds like it would be necessary to move the sheep around efficiently.

All my exterior fences are wood fence with 2x2 woven wire fencing under the boards, so predators shouldn’t be too much of an issue. I also would probably get a donkey again, as a protector. I had and bred donkeys in the past and just love them.

I would start small with a few sheep at first and then enlarge as I see how things go, the market and the profit margin compared to the work and investment/maintenance. Any suggestions and or advice is appreciated. Ultimately, I would like to have about 20 head of sheep and then some goats.

Bruce,

I will give you a call. I have been meaning to anyway.

Sxsneubaum,

I do not have any equipment left after my divorce to farm like that. Besides I want to keep my fields as pasture as I train birddogs in them. The chicken idea was considered, but I think my Jack Russell and my birddogs would harass and kill them.

Bob,

I don’t want cattle as they are big and challenge fences too much. I want to keep things in as good as shape as I can, with the knowledge of my retirement and possibly selling the place then. It will bring much more money when sold as what I built it for, which was a horse training/breeding/boarding facility.

Jay

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brymoore
Can you raise sheep to sell 4H lambs?  Suffolk are the popular breed.

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dirtdog

I am clueless on breeds and such. I am in the initial phases of research. I like to thoroughly exhaust my research, gain some practical experience and weigh all factors before I make any decisions.

I don’t know much about the 4-H program, but would be willing to look into it.

Jay

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rosies dad

I would see a CPA, give him your layout and ideas. Let him tell you what the IRS will pass if you get an audit.

Hobby farming is under scrutiny, so proceed with caution and with direction.

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Mntngoat

Have a good friend raises a steer every couple years. The kids knew from the start that max was going to be dinner, But the vegan across the way didn't until the butcher came out popped Max in the head and hoisted Ole Max up to butcher.  

The last they saw of her she was running into the house screaming "Mom They Killed Max"

ML

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Sheepeagle

If you're committed to agility/trialing, I'll modify the plea re the dog. Over the years it's one of those things that stick out as generally a bad idea with folks new to livestock.

Bored/neglected/unused dogs are a huge source of trouble with livestock. A small number of sheep on a small place respond favorably to a feed can or your voice.

Your bird dogs are just as risky for the sheep, if not supervised.

But agility training is fun and a great way to use border collie energy.

Google Pipestone sheep project. There's an online course that is the real deal about how to raise sheep. (Not the only way, but a good way and a good resource)

We've made plenty of mistakes in the last 30 years, and are happy to try to help others keep from making the same ones!

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KCShlly
The farm tax break of choice in my neck of the woods is Christmas trees, not livestock.

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dirtdog

I do need to talk to my CPA about what is truly required as well as the County and State, before I start spending money.

Sheepeagle,

I enjoyed agility a lot. I used to do some competing in agility with a few of my Jack Russell Terriers years ago. Additionally my girlfriend is interested in a dog to do agility with. As a matter of fact, I competed in the JRTCA Nationals in agility in Harve De Grace, MD in 2000. I have no intentions in herding trials.

I intend to use the dog to take the sheep from field to field as well as across the road to a neighbor’s property as well as my adjoining 2 ½ acre wood lot to forage from time to time. To me it seems that a dog would be almost necessary to do so, especially outside of my fenced property.

My birddogs will not be in the same field or have access with the sheep at any time.

My concern is the introduction of a young dog to the sheep, learning commands and getting an understanding of herding dog training and all that goes with it. I have given serious thought to purchasing a trained working boarder collie as my first one. Do you use a dog for herding? What breed? What do you know about herding with dogs, which you can pass along? I will look up the Pipestone sheep project. I have already read numerous websites in reference to sheep and Boer meat goats. Apparently, per this site http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/sheep/410-025/410-025.html

Virginia is one of the best suited States, geographically, to raise goats. Also I am not sure if it was the listed site or another that I read, but Virginia has a large market for sheep and goat meat. From what I have read it seems doable for me. Once I learn all I can about the subject, I will begin to visit sheep and goat farms to talk with the owners and see what it is really like. If you have any tips or information to pass along to me I would be greatly appreciative.

KCShlly,

If I grow trees, it would make it difficult if I decide to sell my property as a “horse farm” when I retire.

Jay

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Sheepeagle

If you buy a dog, you need to get one from working stock, and green broke would be worth paying for. If there aren't sheep where you go to buy, the dog isn't a working dog, no matter what is said.(It may not be, even if there are!) A dog from working stock can be used for agility fun. We never had more than 150 ewes in smallish (3-4 acre) fenced irrigated pastures, so we only had a herding dog for a short time. We didn't have enough work. The problem is that, in general, with a small bunch of sheep, you don't use the dog enough to  train the sheep (which raises the sheep comfort level). Throw a new dog with a green handler into the breeding pasture, you'll have fewer lambs conceived. Throw it in late term in pregnancy, you'll have an abortion/miscarriage. The sheep need to acclimate to the dog, and that needs to happen in plenty of time before lambing-- or you'll have panicked moms stepping on brand new lambs and breaking limbs.

Herding dogs are controlled predators. Sheep will adapt, but they need time to do that.

You won't need a dog to move the sheep from pasture to pasture, though a well trained dog will make that easier. A good loading pen and a trailer would be just as good to get to your neighbor's. A dog might be more fun and satisfying, and certainly a better companion than a stock trailer, but you'll need access to a trailer at some points anyway, and if you think at the start about coming and going---that means no mickey mouse loading and unloading plans--you'll be much happier. (Even with your dog)

My very best suggestion is this: find someone (a single owner) where after you visit a few places and read a few things you don't cringe about the conditions or the stock, and buy a small number of wether lambs or even ewe lambs you won't keep. (That is, buy some healthy feeder lambs). You can test your husbandry skills, get around some of the problems of small flocks--rams, separation of different ages/sexes/breeding, lambing groups---yet get a good feel for you, sheep, a dog and your facilities. You'll be in the ag business, and get a chance to work out the kinks of breeds and operation type at a better pace.

You could buy lambs at an auction, but you WILL (at least in part) be buying some fraction of some one else's problems that they aren't keeping. (So find someone with some experience to help you look at any auction situation)

Every single time you move any sheep to your place from any other place, it's just like having young kids in first grade with colds, flu, headlice, worms being a possibility!

email me or PM and I'll gladly try to help.

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dirtdog

Thanks for the info. Makes sense and will be taken a followed by me.

I will send you a PM when I am not at work and can write one up.

A question I will ask now is how many sheep can a person keep, per acre, without over grazing that land? This would be with no supplemented feed or hay.

Jay

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Sheepeagle

The greatest livestock man I have met so far used to answer a lot of my sheep questions with "It depends", which used to make me very cranky.

It depends.

On the quality of the grass, the time of year, the grazing pattern you impose, the age and size and point in the production cycle, and to some extent, breed and sex.

Currently the two best breeders I know think of themselves as grass farmers first and foremost who happen to harvest high quality grass with (high quality) sheep.

On my 500 acres of range ground I need 1000 sheep in the mid spring, and 10-20 after that.....

Generally 5 sheep to a cow, and on really excellent grass 5-6 sheep to the acre is possible. But at first, without perhaps knowing what excellent grass is, I doubt any sheep could be raised without some supplementation, given nutritional needs and things like the seasons of the year.

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