Diversify From Your Core

May 4, 2016 05:00 AM

Chris Noble of Noblehurst Farms in Pavilion, N.Y., tells "Top Producer Podcast" host Pam Fretwell the one thing every young farmer needs to know about diversification into new businesses below. The 2016 Horizon Award winner will attend the 2016 Tomorrow's Top Producer conference June 16-17 in Nashville. Read more expert guidance for young farmers in our new e-book.

“I think 2009 was really an inflection point for our business because as many of you may recall, that was a year that was fairly disastrous for the dairy industry with very low milk prices. The margins were so negative that we made the decision on the farm side to get into some different businesses to help diversify that revenue stream. 

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"We tried to diversify also in ways that complemented our core businesses. We didn’t want to get into used car sales or something that we didn’t know a lot about. Our core businesses are cows and crops. We tried to mold the different diversification ventures off of those strengths. A couple of businesses that we’ve been working on are a creamery and an anaerobic digester. We invested a couple years ago in a creamery that actually takes milk from our farm and several other farms in the area to separate into skim and cream, and then sell those products into the marketplace.  

"The anaerobic digester, is a way for us to harvest the methane that emanates from the manure to create biogas. That biogas is then run through a generator to create electricity. Alongside the digester, we invested in a business that collects food waste. We’re mixing it with the manure to create biogas and electricity for the farm.”

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