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Looking to get a farm tax break.


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Now that I got my farm back and I do not have or want horses again and due to the County being outrageous on their kennel license and Commercial Kennel is out, I am wandering what to do with the place. In particular to get the tax break of being a farm. I have been thinking of breeding sheep and or meat goats.

It would also take me into a new realm of dog training as I would get a Boarder Collie to move the herd around. I figured I could have a heard and sell the lambs to market and meat goats are a fairly high commodity in my area, with a growing Middle Eastern and Hispanic community.

I am not looking to go big a small herd and sell a few a year. I want it more for the tax break. Nevertheless it would ultimately have to pay for itself to be worth wile.

Anyone out there with any experience with either? I had two Nubian goats about ten years ago so I know a little about goats but nothing about sheep. Any advice would be appreciated.  

Jay

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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.

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... I'd have a hard time eating or butchering goats after owning one.

You don't have to butcher it, or eat 'em.  Just raise them.

Around here the Middle Eastern people come out to the farm and buy the goat live and butcher it themselves.

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This may be anthropomorphic but I'd have a hard time eating or butchering goats after owning one.

City boy, you just needed to grow up on a working farm where after they're pets they're dinner. But about sheep.. We never had sheep as livestock per se, but a local guy that Dad rented farm ground from had a herd and if he had a lamb or two that got into trouble and didn't look like it was going to make it he'd give them to us to try to nurse through. Sometimes we could, and sometimes they died anyways. But.... there was one young ram that we had when my brother, 7 years my junior, was still in diapers. I can still remember Mom, Dad and I rolling with laughter as this young ram would look at the white of randy's diaper, stamp his little hooves and paw a couple of times, then take aim and chase Randy 'til he smacked him in the butt and knocked him down. The sheep was about the same size as 'bro, funny as sin.

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Hey, hey now, I've raised and kilt lotsa turkeys and broiler chickens and can gut a deya in 3 minutes as the sun dips below the horizon. I just could never eat ole Mark Henry!

Oh yeah we once had one broiler chicken that had a personality. While the rest of flock got fat and sat in its own diarrhea, this one chicken would waddle out and stand on your foot. We didn't butcher it and let it join the laying hens. It only lived a few more weeks anyhow. Them broilers werent meant to live long.

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Brad - We lived on only 9 acres but had a pasture and raised a steer a year for beef.

Pet today, hamburger tomorrow.  Sentiment went away when it was dinner time at our place.

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I worked for an outfit that had sheep. No experience with goats though. Sheep are OK to work with if you can handle the smell of wet lanolin soaked wool. they are seasonally a bit of work ( shearing, castrating, etc.) and need to be kept safe from predators with tight fences.

Lambing season might find you short on sleep if you get into large numbers.

State schools in the west usually have some sheep raising info on their websitews; Utah, WY, CO and NV have large sheep outfits.

And I recall books / pamphlets for small homesteads about bees ( done that too) sheep, cows and goats at your local ag. extension office

I'd bet your library has books.

Note: hand spinners buy raw wool sometimes.

Bottom line; your buddies are going to be telling you a lot of lonely sheepherder jokes.

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Goats in general have more personality. They also test fences and enclosures every day. No exceptions. They are probably more profitable on a small scale at the moment. There's a huge ethnic market for kids that is likely to grow greatly in the near to mid future.

Sheep are animals with the reputation of constantly trying to die, and succeeding too often. In reality, they are very strong animals that don't show early stages of disease. Many sheep marriages have been ended when the first words of the argument were "Well you know, she looked a little funny to me a few days ago...."

Sheep are more social, and are stimulus response marvels. You train them without knowing, and many people get frustrated when they want the routine changed. Sheep are creatures of habit.

Please don't get a border collie for a few sheep, unless you know the farm routine will require a dog every day. It's  not fair to the dog.

The way we raise sheep here is not the only way, but we have been doing it for 30 plus years, and if sheep suit your temperment and resources, they are marvelous animals, very honest, provide meat and wool (and milk and cheese if you get into it beyond reasonableness....) and are a living history of trade and commerce, genetics and science, agriculture and husbandry.

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Sheep, UGH!  A little history - I made my first "real" money with a pitch fork and scoop shovel filling manure spreaders.  Sheep are by far the stinkiest damn things on the farm.  Lambing and you got them bedded down in the barn, got to clean that straw out eventually....

Now I have been waist deep in hog poo, cow flop, chicken stuff, and I have been known to fling some BS around, but that's another story.  Cleaning those lambing beds out was the only thig that ever put me off MY feed.

Guys around here tell me sheep are the way to go though.  Subsidies.  According to a couple of acquaintances, unless yopu are a complete buffoon, you CANNOT lose money on sheep.

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My stepdaughter works for a high end yarn shop in Williamsburg.

For the last few years we've gone to the Maryland Sheep and Wool  festival at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship MD.

I don't know the specifics but can tell you wool these days sells for big bucks. Merino is especially high, and Alpaca is out of sight.

I'm totally amazed at the crowds at this event and every year the crowds get bigger.

Just a thought.

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You need critters to be a “farm” and get the real estate tax break?  Around here, all you need is enough land (exclusive of where the house sits) and a filing requesting “clean and green” status.  Saves big bux on real estate taxes.

The downside is that if you are in the “clean and green” program and you sell off a lot or something, you lose “clean and green” status retroactively for seven years and all of that tax, plus interest, lands on your head.

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Almost Heaven GSP's

Jay,

If you need info on Sheep, Alpacas or Goats; give me a call. There is a lady just up the road from me that raises and sells all three I could put you in touch with and is doing pretty dang good. She started with a handful of them about 5 years ago and now has a herd that is probably in excess of 500-600 and expanding.

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Does it have to be livestock?  Can't you plant some alfalfa and sell that and call yourself a farm?  

If you need stock what about poultry?  organic eggs and sell them for like $5.00 a dozen.  

Is the livestock a local ordinance or state?  Illinois is full of farms that are only crops.

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