We have been fortunate to be able to rent out our fields to two local farmers since moving here. We haven't had the resources (equipment) to utilize the fields ourselves and the rent money we have earned has been used to help pay our property taxes. Well, for one farmer in particular...it was hard to actually get the rent money. The guy is great- we love him- but we had to think more creatively about how both parties could benefit from the arrangement. Since we now have quite the 'herd' of winter hay-eating animals (har har), we thought, instead of CASH, we could get 'paid' in our own hay. Farmer does the work on second cutting and we get as much hay as we need for the winter.
It worked out remarkably well this year and I hope that we can continue this sort of arrangement in the future.
Matt doesn't have time with his job to do the field work and especially in the small windows of time it needs to be done (no rain!). We don't have the money to buy a whole bunch of haying equipment. But we do have animals that need it. I had to scrape the nooks and crannies to find money to cover the property taxes (that's what happens when you change the budget!) but I was able to do it. So- we were helped and the farmer was helped. Sweat equity is a bit easier to give than a check that you just can't afford to write.
They even brought over their hay elevator for us to get the square bales up in the hay mow easily.
Andrew was a huge help in that department. I went out and watched him for a bit- somewhat taken aback at the boy who was doing a man's job. He emptied two hay wagons worth of hay and put them on the elevator while Matt took them from there to their winter home in the haymow.
When did that little bitty cowboy grow up to be such an able-bodied farmhand?