Before we started in this endeavor, we had decided that the first year would be a trial and error year. Where we would try a bunch of different things and see what worked and what didn't. We are starting to compare and evaluate those "things" but it's not as cut and dry as I had hoped.
Currently, we are both working full-time and with a baby on the way, we will be spread too thin. So we either need to develop a new system that takes less time or we need to eliminate/consolidate some of our individual enterprises. Sounds simple enough, right? I'm not so sure. We are also hoping that someday in the near future we will be able to work on the farm full-time and only work off the farm part-time. Having established enterprises in place when we are ready to make that transition will likely be the key to our success. So now what? To cure the time issue, we could do away with all the poultry and the pigs. Allowing us to focus on the cattle, fixing up the farm and spending time with the family. Which sounds quite nice actually, but it has to be for the right reasons. I don't want to do it just because it makes my life easier, I want to do it because it makes the most sense for us and for our farm as a whole. Holistic Management was a big part of our Farm Beginnings class. It can be applied to everything we do in our lives and it is extremely handy when making decisions related to the farm. Here are the "testing questions" from Holistic Management International to ask yourself when you are trying to decide whether to do something:
- Cause and effect: Does this action address the root cause of the problem, or merely a symptom?
- Sustainability: If you take this action, will it lead toward or away from the future resource base described in your holistic goal?
- Weak link:
- Social: If you take this action, will you encounter or create a blockage to progress?
- Biological: Does this action address the weakest point in the life cycle of the organism you're trying to control or promote?
- Financial: Does this action strengthen the weakest link in the chain of production?
- Energy/money source & use
- Is the energy or money to be used in this action derived from the most appropriate source in terms of your holistic goal?
- Will the way in which energy or money is to be used lead toward your holistic goal?
- Society & culture:
- How do you feel about this action now?
- Will it lead to the quality of life you desire?
- Will it adversely affect the lives of others?
- Marginal reaction: Is there another action that could provide greater return, in terms of your holistic goal, for the time and money spent?
- Gross profit analysis: Which enterprise contributes more to covering the overheads of the business? (Use this test when comparing two or more enterprises.)