Well it's official, after 100+ years, the Fletcher family will no longer be in the pork business. This has been a long, hard decision. Actually one that's been about 4 years in the making. Why are we getting out? Short answer is we are tired of bleeding money and having to borrow 10's of thousands of dollars every year to make up the income shortfall. There was a time when the pork market followed a cycle. You knew that after a couple of years of no profit things would turn around for a few years and everything evens out. Colin and I have been married 10 years, not once during that decade have we had a profitable year -oh we've had break-even years but you can't pay bills with just breaking even. Also, Colin's barns are really old and in need of a lot of repair. It would be more economical to tear down the barns and build new, but that's an easy $1 million. Hard to make mortgage payments on a million dollars when you are only breaking even -on the good years.
We have been selling our pork locally for 7 years. We have loved getting to know all our customers and have even made some new friends. Although we DO make a profit on our local sales, it's only about 20% of Colin's pork production. Local market just isn't big enough nor can it support higher prices.
Also, since Colin's Mom died last December his Dad has really been slowing down and not doing so much around the farm. This leaves Colin with so much more work. We have 400 acres of cash crops too. People don't realize that pork farming is a full-time job. On top of all that Colin's mobile seed cleaner business has been growing by leaps and bounds. If he doesn't have to be tied down with the pigs, he will be able to go further afield with the cleaner.
So basically, things came to a head and something had to give. It was pretty much a 'no brainer' for what had to go -the sector of our farm that requires the most work (hard, dirty, dangerous work) and loses the most money.
What are we going to do now?? Well, I will still have my laying hens (new ones are starting to lay). Our 400 acres of corn, wheat, and soybeans will now be sold on the open market instead of being fed to the pigs. And like I mentioned Colin hopes to expand his cleaner business into the counties south of Ottawa.
And you know what? Colin now has time to spend with us, his family! Now that he isn't overworked and frustrated he has more patience with Ella too. Colin even had time to take Ella to Star Wars Identities when Belinda and Stefan were up last. I look forward to this new chapter in our life.