Hard times and ‘the REAL cost of Food’
Jason and I are very positive people and truly believe that your ‘attitude is everything’. We have a copy of a faxed document (yes it’s that old) that had such an impact on us that it has moved with us since we met back in 2003. The mantra of the message still rings true today.
It reads ‘Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it’.
Today, here in October 2018 this phase certainly rings true. On our farm, like many of our peers, we’re experiencing hard times. We need to keep positive, but it can be difficult.
We can already hear some people asking – ‘What hard times? Your property isn’t in drought. Your farm looks green, and you’re always talking about how busy your business is at the moment’.
It’s true, at the moment much of our ground cover is green and due to more recent recognition, on top of the ground swell of continued support form our local and loyal tribe we are very busy trying to keep up with demand. But, it is what’s been happening over the past few weeks and what lies ahead for our business is emotional, difficult and full of pressure!
The terrible and highly published weather conditions in parts of Australia are beginning to ripple out to farms and businesses outside the ‘drought zoned’ areas.
The drought has HIT us and you too!
Let me explain. Many farms, including ours, rely on grain to supplement the feed of our animals. We purchase this from a local stockfeed manufacturer which sources local and interstate grain and protein depending on quality and price.
This year, NSW and QLD have been harvesting comparatively little-too-no grain due to the drought conditions of lack of water, blazing sun and increasingly poor soil nourishment – there’s just little-too-none available. In addition, VIC and WA have been hit by frost in the last fortnight. Both conditions lead to fewer and fewer tonnes of grain. Farms still need to continue to bring in feed for their animals (no feed = no animals). Therefore, simple economics teaches us when the demand is the same but the supply is halved, the price will double.
What does this mean for McIvor Farm and YOU?
We believe in open and honest communication, and we’ll break it down for you so you don’t think we’re taking a bigger cut on the pork we produce. In recent weeks have seen the price of our supplement feed increase by 30% that’s $185 per tonne. For a family business our size that’s nearly $10,000 more per month.
Could we change our supplement or feed ‘waste products’ – not really!
We’ve proudly built the reputation of our business on the quality of our pork and the way we care for the animals and the land we steward. We can’t just turn our backs on our principles, even in hard times. We’re standing by our need to maintain the quality of our pork for us as committed producers, but also from our customers.
We still have green grass across the paddocks at the moment, although without having rain for weeks and already experiences warmer days, frost and wind, we can see the grass wilting before our eyes (as sometimes the eyes are welling up!).
Ultimately, we need to care for our pigs and continue to provide them with food, water, and shelter.
So, believe me, we’re running budget and cash flow forecasts (tightening our already proudly tight ship) to assess all the costs involved in our business to ride out this storm. We’ve recognised that absorbing this type of cost increase is not sustainable and will ultimately put us out of business. Above everything, we don’t want that, we want to be here for years to come, maybe with Hannah and Eric at the helm.
We hope that you, our customers, also want the same. Therefore, we ask for your continued support as we increase the cost of some of our products.
We all pray for rain for here and across the country, and it is with the greatest respects that we acknowledge our industry peers who are doing it far tougher.
So please, from one family to another, we ask for your support in continuing to purchase from farmers like us to help us ride out this storm, so we can meet you on the other side, stronger and more resilient. Attitude is 90% of battle, and with your support we’re in it for the fight!
Your food producers & land custodians,
Belinda & Jason Hagan
Where to buy McIvor Farm products – to continue supporting us…..
Or from our great retailers, which many of them have been a big part of our journey.