Bartering on the Small Farm

Bartering is trading goods and/or services for other good and/or services. Through the years the family-run farm has been a stronghold for barter of goods and services. In its simplest form, bartering is trading one good for another. But bartering can often involve services like tree cutting, stall mucking, vegetable planting or value-added products like sewn goods or spun wool.


Basics of Bartering

Be Clear. Be sure that when you are bartering that both parties are clear about what is being exchanged. If possible, put it in writing so that it can be referred to if there is any confusion.

Be Fair. Consider the cost of the goods on the open market. Try to have an equal exchange as far as value goes.

Specialize in something. Think of things that you can produce that not everyone can as easily. Do you have a nice greenhouse? Throw in more heirloom tomato plant starters…you cannot find those at a nursery. Do you know how to trim goat hooves? Advertise and maybe you will get a discount on a goat you have your eye on.

Go value-added. Do you have extra tomatoes? So does everyone else. Why not make tomato sauce and can it! Now you have increased the value of the tomatoes and added in your labor. Now try to trade it!


Where to Start

Online. Most ranches and farms have a website so add a barter tab. Describe what you have to offer and what you are looking for. Post it on Facebook! E-mail your previous clients. Get the word out and see what happens.

At the Market. Why not add a sign at your booth that you barter? I would make sure that you earn some cash but there is nothing wrong with walking away from your farmer’s market with items for your fridge and money in your pocket.

Talk about it. We visit ranches all the time and I am sure you do too. We are proud of our ranch and talk about it with strangers all the time. Why not bring up bartering? Many people don’t purchase new animals or grow new food because they can’t afford it. They could if they traded! What is the worst thing that would happen? They say “No?”


Quartz Ridge Ranch Bartering

What we offer:

American Guinea Hogs
Nigerian Dwarf Goats
Oberhasli Goats
Pilgrim Geese (goslings and hatching eggs)
Muscovy Ducks (goslings and hatching eggs)
Jersey Giants
Delaware Chickes

What we need:

   *  American Guinea Hogs (please see our pedigrees)
   *  Finn Sheep
   *  Roving (Wool, Alpaca, etc)
   *  Great Pyrenees Puppy (Female)
   *  Oberhasli and Nigerian Dwarf Show Quality Goats
   *  Jersey Giants (Show Quality)

Farm Equipment

   *  Horse-Quality Hay
   *  Fencing
   *  Wood or Building Materials (Windows, Doors, etc)
   *  Water Tanks

Household Items

   *  Kitchen Cabinets
   *  Carpeting
   *  Farm/Apron Front Sink

Ranch Work

   *  We always have more projects than my husband and I can tackle!

  Of course, we will consider anything else you may have to offer, including other animals not listed. If you are interested in something, please let us know what you have to offer.


What do you have to offer?

Leave us a comment on what you have to offer and where you are located. I would love to help build the “underground” economy in our farm community!


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