Geoff Young recently got approval from provincial government to begin working on expanding his cattle farm, which he said started out as a hobby back in 2015.
The farm, right now, maintains just over 20 cows, with about 77-acres of land just off the Trans-Canada Highway. However, Young told The Compass that ever since the farm has moved from a hobby to a business, he’s been looking to expand.
“It really just started out as an interest of mine. You know, just something I’d like to get into as a side hobby,” explained Young. “But it quickly became a business, and like anything, a business needs to grow.”
Young, who is a Spaniard’s Bay native, said that they’re looking to begin expanding by spring of this year, when the snow has melted and the temperatures rise a bit. Young added that clearing the land will be quite a bit of work, and will be a process that runs over the course of a couple years.
If all goes according to plan, Young will be working on getting small parts of the land ready to go for the summer. Then, he’ll move the cattle he currently owns to the new land, and continue to work from there.
Young is hoping to reach about 50 cattle by the time the summer rolls around. If this proves to be fruitful, which he suspects it will be, he’ll look into doubling that number by the following summer.
Typically, to properly run a cattle farm, Young says that it is recommended to have 1.5 acres of land for each cow. However, he quickly learned that things were a little different in Newfoundland, and so he’d need more space for each head. He says this is why he began looking for more land.
Young said he was searching for a while to find the right place to expand, adding that things aren’t easy for up-and-coming farmers in Newfoundland.
“It’s difficult,” said Young. “Going through all the proper processes with government, finding a decent piece of land, finding a good seller with decent prices. And the prices are a whole other story.”
When Young first started cattle farming, he said cows typically ran for about $3,000 a head. Nowadays the prices have dropped, and cows can be found for just under $2,000, but are still a hefty chunk of change when things like maintenance and feeding are included.
Despite the early difficulties, however, Young added that it’s a very rewarding career, and he’s received nothing but good feedback from consumers, which may include local supermarkets in the upcoming months.
Right now, the business is a family operation, run by only Young and his wife, along with occasional help from his son and some high school students during the summer.
“It’s like anything, you know? It’s a bit of a struggle at first, but it all eventually works out, once you put in some hard work.”
Young’s undertaking for the expansion was registered with the provincial government on Jan. 31st, 2017, and the project was released last month, on March 24th.