At the 2011 New York Farm Show, 231 farmers answered American Agriculturist's poll question: "What's the best value-added or money-making/saving change made on your farm in the last two years?" Boy, did they!
More than 100 different responses and a host of ideas were offered. We've grouped and posted them here in hope that they'll spark ideas of your own. So read on.
Most commonly mentioned new machine purchase
Bigger tractor – 6
Bale bagger – 4
Baler – 4 (round baler was most mentioned)
Miscellaneous haying equipment – 6
Most commonly mentioned practices
Less labor, bigger equipment – 6
More equipment maintenance – 6
Going organic – 5 (dairy, feed crops, food crops)
Hiring custom work – 4
Doing custom work – 4
More grazing – 3
Grass-fed beef – 3
Increasing berry production – 2
More on-farm sales – 2
Packing own fruit – 1
New delivery vehicle – 1
New milking parlor – 3
Variable-speed drives – 2
Steam Away evaporator – 2
Combine air reel – 1
Notable miscellaneous money-makers/savers include: Doubling equipment capacity; Doing hunts; Spray foam for hairy warts.
Two of the most common words used were "added" and "more", implying expansion and improved efficiency. A few examples: Added a barn; Added meat production; Feeding higher forage ration and less grain; More land; More digestible forages.