here is a just suppose situation...need opinions! (Apprenticeships)greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
We are considering a move...and one of the thign to consider is what we will dofor income. we hope to continue doing what we are doing (leanring hands on growing and raising what we eat and need) and also myhusband will bbuild a business (slwoly on the side). but in the mean time we need something to help us get started.
In the area we are considering, there are lots of dairy farmers who need someone to take over miling for them. The situations vary, but many even include training on how to run the entire farm over a period of years-the farmers don't have family interested in dairying and don't want to sell their farms. (there seem to be some rules about the amount of land you can sell as well-government doesn't want land gobbled up and made into subdivisions I think.)
If you wre given the opportunity and it was something that you wanted to learn anyway, wpould you take someones offer to work for htem-do theri milking, the deal would include housing, and either some sort of split on the income (whihc is supposed to be good)or a decent salary, plus the training needed, would you do it? Why or why not?
-- sarah (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 13, 2001
Please, PLEASE be careful and interview the farmer as well. We also have a farm and we try to work with our hired hand because he does an excellent job, we are fortunate and blessed. I would be very careful because i ahve seen so many deals with housing go sour, then when you need to leave employment for one reason or another you are stuck because your rent was free. unless you can save money, however, if they supply housing, etc it isn't much to write home about as thsaying goes. ALWASY get your agreement in writing. We ventured into expanding our cow dairy several yrs ago, my husband had a partner, however, his partner wanted to advance what we were doing too quickly and talked hubby into adding on another partner, a financial backer. the deal went sour and we lsot a lot, i joke now and tell hubby he lsot his underware in the deal.
Then on the other hand we decided to raise dairy goats while we lived in VA. All was moving well when the state tightened up their milk regs, so unless w ehad csh to advance we were out of business.
So we went to GA to check out an offer that proposed a partnership, when we got there w erealized w ewated time and money. Wasn't going to work from either end. So please think carefully.
-- Bernice (email@example.com), September 13, 2001.
Sarah, what you have in mind reminds me of the 'share milker' system in New Zealand. These are contractors with the owner of the land.
I am not familiar with all the details, and no doubt there are variations, but at least inn some agreements the other party own part or all of the herd which provides a basis for sharing the income. I understand young couples have used this system to get to eventually own their own dairy farms.
You ask if were given the opportunity? Well yes I would certainly do it if I was quite a bit younger and if I could have jersey cows!
Have a look at http://www.wisc.edu/cias/pubs/briefs/034.html which describes the scheme in a US situation.
-- john hill (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 13, 2001.
Sarah, sounds to me like a very common arrangement in the industry. Like Bernice said, interview the farmer well. If you intend to do this for quite some time, and the farmer is older, make sure you have something that protects you in the event of the farmer's death. That is, if you don't have a signed contract to take over the farm and start paying for it at some point, make sure you have something like a six month severance deal, where you can stay in the house at least. The farmer may be nice, but her heirs might want the farm sold immediately and you out of the place. Just make sure you are protected from this.
-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (email@example.com), September 14, 2001.
Something else you might consider until you find a permanent situation is becoming a "sustitute" milker. I know many dairy farmers who would love to have someone reliable who could come in and milk when they want to take a vacation or in case of illness or other family emergency. You would probably have more business than you could do once the word got out. This way you would not be tied down 2 times a day, every day, 365 days a year. Also you could see people's methods, see if this lifestyle is really for you and gain valuable experience if you decide to make this a permanent lifestyle.
-- Melissa (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 14, 2001.
Be sure you want to be tied down that much. I onced worked on a dairy farm and it is a twice a day, everyday job. I would start milking at 4 a.m., finish at 8 a.m. and then start again at 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and then their was other farm jobs in between those hours. Mending fences, spreading manure, bucket feeding calves, etc. Of course if you make it a family business the work can be spread out evenly. Be prepared to miss out on a lot of weekend functions and vacations.
-- r.h. in okla. (email@example.com), September 14, 2001.
In Maine, the extension office ran a program where they organized a list of substitute milkers for dairy farms in different areas of the state. Contact the extension office in the area and see if they've done anything similar. Experience was not necessary, although preferred.
-- Sheryl in Me (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 14, 2001.
Sarah, I know around here, farmers are always looking for some help. Just be aware that dairy farming is a 24 hour/7 days a week job. (The cows don't go on vacation, so why should you?!?) I'm sure you can find a farmer willing to let you learn the trade, but having housing included would be doubtful. As for the income which is supposed to be good, I don't think you are going to find that either. Alot of dairy farmers in our area have quit because while taxes, feed, medicine, housing, etc. have all gone up, their income has not. If you want to learn it and be paid while doing it, go ahead. But don't be too surprised if you only get minimum wage or slightly above. Good luck!
-- Michael W. Smith in North-West Pennsylvania (email@example.com), September 16, 2001.