What you invest ($,time,risk) to grow a Christmas tree. Added thoughts to previous video.

Hello rob here from the flanigan Homestead i recently did a video on how Much it cost for me to grow a christmas Tree and harvest the tree that i Harvested this last year and i put it Out there and i got a lot of responses Many people saying thank you for letting Me know i got a lot of responses for Saying yep that’s that’s about right i Figure out you know he said i just Roughly do two dollars put in the ground And a dollar every year after that and Then i had some other people saying this Is not fair Don’t don’t be telling people that we Can grow a christmas tree for nine Dollars and you know we’re selling them For 85 to 100 right now and people are Going to get mad they’re going to be Angry for and saying why are you Charging me so much and They said that i did not accurately Account for some things and i appreciate The fact that some people reached out to Me and politely said otherwise and i Like to have a growth mindset and Consider things and i want to first of All say i stand by the fact that dollar Wise cost if you’re small and you’re Doing most of the work yourself You can grow a christmas tree for nine Dollars or less or you could have for The last Uh the last cycle of trees that just got

Harvested this next cycle it’ll be Interesting because the cost of Everything is going up and they’re Probably going to be a lot more Expensive but for those of you that said I wasn’t being fair I want to Express to my viewers a little bit of What you’re talking about and you’re Absolutely right if you’re in the Business and you’re growing christmas Trees there’s some things that you need To consider and and then there’s this This gray area between what’s a capital Investment and what do you own because You want to live there or that type of Thing so we’re going to discuss that a Little bit as we go on here and a little Spoiler alert i’m not going to have an Exact dollar for amount for you this Time like i did last time because you’re Going to see there’s so many things to Consider That uh what is a business expense and What is not but I i made talked about the investment in Dollars But we’re going to make talk about the Total investment that could include Dollars and include time but give a more Accurate assessment of what it might Take to grow christmas trees so three Things that we need to address that Weren’t there the time the actual amount

Of time you know people that claim you Got it you gotta factor in your time Your time is worth something so uh we’re Going to talk a little bit about time And The other thing that we’re going to talk About is capital investments so one Thing i want to make clear on the last Video that i did on how much a gross Uh takes to grow a tree that is after Your capital investments have been done On your farm and i had other farmers say Well there are capital investments you Have to count that in so we’re going to Talk a little bit about that as well and Then The third thing is there’s a few annual Expenses some smaller ones but they do Add up that i missed on the last one so To try to be as accurate as possible i Want to talk about those uh those things As well so here here we go Okay the first thing that people uh Mentioned up time you got to factor in Your time rob you didn’t put a dollar Number on your on your time and i i Really didn’t and so i was talking about Someone like myself who has a farm That’s a business and i do have a you Know make money off of it But it’s not my primary source of income So For lack of better terms it’s a hobby Farm you know it’s a

Little less than 10 acres uh we go out There we make some good money on it but Uh i have another job that provides for My family and so i wasn’t counting this In but if this is your job Uh your primary source of income you Especially then you have to count for More time so uh a friend of mine if you Followed my channel know the story a Friend of mine and i started this tree Farm together so we have Have a lot of hours in if you have to Count both of our hours our kids have Helped our wives have helped and there’s Just a lot of time in there do i have a Number for that time no i don’t i had a Reasonable number for the time in the Field but as i thought about it how many Times how much time have i spent i’m the One that Does the business plan and coordinating Things and more of that how much time Have i spent on the phone trying to find Suppliers that have nordman fur how much Time have i spent uh meeting with other People how much time have i spent Driving to go pick something up So there’s a not just time in the field But there there is a fair amount of time When you’re trying to plan for things And plan for the time in the field so That that goes effectively there’s time There not just the time in the field and I will tell you if you have a christmas

Tree farm there’s going to be a lot of Time in the field For our small farm you know we can get Our planting usually done in a day or Two We can get herbicide done in a day or Two And then we shear and we shear and we Shear and we shear For a long time especially when the Trees are getting Up to a decent size so there’s a lot of Hours in there and i’m sorry i don’t Have a number to put on there right now There’s a lot of times that it’s you’re More efficient and sometimes you’re less Efficient but there’s a lot of hours so If you’re Paying your labor That you hire fifteen to twenty dollars An hour we’re pushing up towards twenty Dollars an hour for most of the time now Then you gotta figure the owner’s time Is worth more than that so if you’re Figuring twenty five dollars an hour That’s a lot so There’s a significant amount of time Invested Forgive me as i move from outside to Inside it’s one of those wonderful Spring days where we go from brilliant Sunshine to hail to a snowstorm and There’s too many elements outside that i Couldn’t control so we’re going to move

This inside and continue talking uh the Other thing that i wanted to talk about On time was simply this uh not only time And hours but time and years christmas Tree farming is pretty unique in time And years other than uh timber Or logging uh is it’s a unique crop so For instance most vegetables or whatnot The farmer puts it sows it in the ground In the spring grows it all summer Harvest harvests in the fall and they’re Done that that as far as their years go That’s the time a christmas tree farmer Uh is going to wait six seven eight nine Years to harvest a christmas tree and so How do you put a dollar value on the Amount of time that you’ve waited There’s a number of years i could tell You from the first year we put trees in The ground we were just putting out Money and energy putting out money and Work for years and we started selling Trees after seven years but then it was Several more years till we’re actually In the black so if you’re a christmas Tree farmer it’s probably going to be 10 Years before you turn a profit So i’m not trying to scare you away i’m Just saying you know it takes a while to Get there so but that time in years Not only takes a lot of patience but it Creates a lot of risk Some years may not be bad for aphids and Then the aphids come in the next year so

They could hurt your trees You get deer coming in here rubbing on Your trees you could get hot weather Cold weather Different things that can harm your Trees and every year the crop is out There is exposed to potential for hazard And so you could uh lose value and lose Some of your investment so on the trees That i gave you the price on from that i Planted eight years ago and harvested This year it was a pretty good number That time didn’t affect it and the risk That uh nearly as much but i can tell You that the trees that we planted this Last year Uh 2000 trees that we planted we had a Record heat wave it got 12 degrees Hotter on our farm than it’s ever been Not just breaking record by a little bit But 12 degrees hotter and it was early When the trees were just flushing out Of the 2000 trees i planted i lost 1 970 yep kept 30 trees out of 2 000. so If i if you were to look at uh The cost for these trees that i’m going To be harvesting another eight years From now i had to replant those so that Whatever the cost is to plant you had i Have to do it twice so i can tell you Just right there on year one these next Treats i’m going to be harvesting are Going to be at least a couple dollar

Value More expensive than the ones that i did In the past so that time uh in years Adds risk and that’s a value you gotta i Can’t put a number on it but a financial Number on it but i can tell you that It’s worth a lot Another concern i had from christmas Tree farmers saying that i was putting My price too low is how can you not Factor in the capital investments that’s Part of farming and uh i said i i know i Was trying to make it clear to everyone That uh this is after my farm was set up And then we’re established and we’re Going but just to give you a better Picture Capital investments do count but One of the things the reasons i have a Hard time putting a number on here is What is actually just a farm cost and What is part Of what you want to do for your family Or your family life so for instance my Tree farm is put on family land not my Family but a friend’s family land so There’s a investment in the land a lot Of value in the land but that’s not a Cost to us so let’s say you go and buy 10 acres to live on And you want to do something with it and You decide you want to do christmas tree Farms farming or pumpkins or whatever it Is you want to do you you’ve bought the

Land because you want to live out in the Country you you want to have a Self-sustaining lifestyle you want your Kids to learn how to work as they grow Up so you buy 10 acres out in the Country So Is that cost of the land and the home a Business expense or is that a family Life expense and then you’re using it to Run your business so it’s hard to Separate those twos and if we’re being Honest it’s both But but where do you separate if you’re Buying land just to farm or leasing land Just to farm that is 100 percent of Business expense But It is a value that’s put into the Christmas tree farm even if you bought It to live on it um you know you could Be leasing it out to somebody else or You could be doing something else with It so if you want to consider the Capital investment what is the land Expense so i can tell you here in Washington state uh the usda says you Know The average un-irrigated acre you can Rent uh you can lease for a hundred Dollars just under a hundred dollars an Acre a year if it’s irrigated it’s about Four hundred dollars an acre a year so Uh

If you’re leasing land how much are you Paying for it or if you’re growing on Your own land and not leasing it out how Much uh are you losing uh that you could Be Getting in money leased out to somebody Else And so other things like a barn on the Property every every man alive that i Know that has land out in the country Either wants a barn or a shop or Something to store their equipment in And and just have on their property Is that a a business expense again or is That your home for your home so Uh you know that could be a huge expense If you’re trying to build a nice big Barn to host all host people when they Come out and also to house all your all Of your equipment So you have to figure that in I could tell you on our farm i didn’t Figure in capital investments but we Just started planting trees then when it Came time to harvest A couple capital expenses that came up That were we did just because we had a Small christmas tree farm is we have What we call our little christmas cabin Or a warming shed We could do sales out of this Greet people they get their hot Chocolate there and everything it’s a Small little barn

But uh you know and we built it myself Again i saved a lot of money because i Did it myself but that’s because i’m a Project guy but uh you know if we were To now to hire someone to build this Little shed With the cost of materials what not it’d Be at least ten thousand dollars Probably much more so there’s a capital Investment and we’re talking this is a Little tiny thing you can’t put a Tractor in it or anything like that And then something else that we figured You know we had a row down the middle of The tree farm so that we could drive Equipment back and forth and people can Walk up and back and forth and after our First year of harvesting you know In washington in the winter people going Up and down that that turned to mud So then we’re like okay we got to put Gravel down And even in just a short section of the Field say 350 feet long uh you’re Putting gravel down that’s you know you Put five truckloads of gravel down just In a short run on a small farm and At least out here to get a load of Gravel delivered for me right now is About 250 bucks a load to get it to the Farm and dropped off and so five loads So you’re looking at you know you’re Going to need to add gravel you’re going To build a barn you have to have parking

We built a petting zoo with a little Shed there that made it look like a Nativity scene To sustain the christmas theme and the Reason for the season you know so uh and Then there’s little fencing there so Even though we we weren’t planning on These expenses necessarily early on Those are things that we knew that we Had to have um So i haven’t talked about the tractor Yet the shaker Uh All the knives so we don’t actually own A tractor we get away with a quad that We uh pull some of our equipment and Spray with our quad but uh you know if You’re much bigger than us you’re Probably getting a christmas tractor That’s designed really narrow to get Through the trees so these are all Capital investments that can add up can You do it without these things yes but If you want to do it right it’s going to Come in Place some point in time but at the same Point in time all these things are Adding value to your property and value That you’re going to continue to have And hopefully it will uh like your bar And everything will appreciate in value As opposed to uh losing value Okay one more thing that uh we need to Talk about is a few things that i forgot

To add to our actual annual expenses That we need to factor in one person Commented hey you they you forgot about Gas how much are you paying in gas and To be honest on my farm gas is Negligible uh i don’t use very much gas I you know spray Uh herbicide with my quad in a half a Day Uh Use maybe a gallon or two of gas um my Backpack sprayer for spraying aphids i’m Not using a tractor i’m using a quarter Of a gallon of gas so i’m using very Little gas on the actual farm i’m i’m Doing more manual labor but uh one thing That i can say That i didn’t factor in is adding up is You know i’m going to pick up stuff in My pickup and uh i can tell you the irs Allows for 57 cents per mile Reimbursement when you use your vehicle For a business use and they usually Factor that in as you know a small car Driving and and obviously you don’t burn That all up in gas but they give you 57 Cents per mile because every time you Drive your car not only you’re burning Gas but you’re another mile closer to Your next oil change you’re another mile Closer to Getting new tires etcetera etcetera so They figured this last year at 57 cents Per mile

I can tell you if you’re like me and We’re a farmer i’m driving a pickup Truck and with the gas prices they’ve Gone this here I’m almost 57 cents a mile in gas And gas alone so Although i’m not traveling a ton i am Going back and forth from the farm Because it’s not on my property i am Going to pick up you know lime and Fertilizer and herbicide and sometimes Seedlings and and i am putting some Miles on my pickup so uh the gas is one Thing i did not factor in a lot of times I try to pick up those things and tie Them in with other errands but sometimes I’m just getting in my truck and i’m Driving because i have a christmas tree Farm and i did not figure in the gas but Even larger than the gas you know almost You should almost double the cost of the Gas for maintenance of your vehicle and So that is a big expense that was not uh Factored in And then there’s two other annual Expenses that i didn’t list but there Are definitely annual expenses not a Capital expense that you’re done with And one is insurance um why we do have a U-cut christmas tree farm so we have Hundreds if not thousands of people out Every year to come and see our farm and Are wandering all over our farm and just In case something was to happen and in

The world we’re in today you need to Have insurance so we do buy we have a Million dollar policy on top of our home Million-dollar policy uh to to make sure Things are covered in case an accident Were to happen and that is an annual Expense that goes on top and then Obviously there’s taxes uh property Taxes you have to pay That would be a farm expense usually if You’re farming that you know you get a Break on the taxes but it’s still Something on the other side of taxes Though you know you’d if you’re farming You do get a tax write-off depending on The size of farm you do it you may get a Write-off for your your truck your your Quad and you may end up riding your quad At some point in time for something Other than farming the barn that you Built or whatever so there could be Benefits uh tax wise to owning a farm For sure but uh anyway but taxes are Definitely expense and some people are Like well your income tax you got to pay The government well i’d say that’s after The whole thing is done then you’re Settling with the government but yes the Government is always going to come and Try to take their share So As we look all this i’m sorry i did not Have numbers i could not break all these Down especially with the time because

Even when you You document time in the field you don’t Necessarily have time that you spend out Of the field organizing planning and Getting ready so it’s it for me to try To put a number Uh You know take the number of hours i work On the christmas tree farm and times it By 25 and say that that’s the expense I i could try to put a number out there But i wouldn’t it wouldn’t be accurate But i could just tell you time is a lot Of hours and then there’s the years and Then the risk and and so there are Expensive and then if you are going to Have a christmas stream for farm for Years you are going to end up having Capital expenses and so uh to those of You that were saying that wasn’t fair And don’t be telling the world that We’re growing christmas trees for this Little amount and then we’re charging This much uh just understand I am saying that was just a dollar Amount and i stand by the fact that if You want to do a lot of work and you Keep it fairly small and do it all Yourself you can grow a christmas tree For not a ton of money but it but That’s just money but if you count the Investment that would be equal to Dollars then it’s going to go up a lot More and so uh you need to be aware of

That and uh You know as i was filming the tulip farm Video with doba who’s got a huge uh Amazing tool field and he he’s joking You know farmers don’t make money they Just buy more equipment and there’s a Lot of truth to that uh it it tends the Money goes back into the farm in one way Or another hopefully you’re building up Uh equity in your farm as you go This farm has been a great benefit to me Over the years i did it with a friend I’ve enjoyed working with him i have Four sons that i’ve raised and the four My four boys have learned to plant uh Trees in this cold and wet of the spring To shear hour after hour in the heat of The summer when it’s boring and not fun But you’re and you’re Doing it for a goal a long-term goal That’s set way out in front of you Deferred gain They learn to work towards that and then They also learn customer service when People the trees are ready to harvest And people are out at the farm and they Cut the tree down for them and they talk To them and they treat them well and They make sure that they’re happy and Having fun out there on the farm so They’ve learned customer service and My boys have learned how to work and I’ve i’ve had all my boys go work for Other people and had people come back

And say your boys know how to work and That’s important to me and that’s a lot Of value this added to me is that a Dollar that was put in my pocket No But that’s value to me so Uh the expenses may be You know high but there is value and Consider What is valuable to you and what do you Want to gain out of it you know Financially obviously you want to gain But there’s other things to be gained From christmas tree farming and i i hope If you get into christmas tree farming That that all works out well for you and Uh that you’ll be blessed in your Farming in talking about risk i consider Risk a huge investment you can’t put a Dollar sign on it but it’s a huge Investment and it’s not just in Christmas trees it’s any business uh There’s you know If you talk about restaurants that open Up i think it’s like 80 percent close Within a year they collapse if you and Most businesses fail within five years And so who took on the risk it’s the Owner that uh tried to lease or buy the Property who set up everything to run Their restaurant to run their christmas Tree farm and uh the workers work and if Work stops they just go get another job But the owner that put out the risk may

Have lost a lot more and may have put Himself back so There is risk in the christmas tree farm And especially like i talked about You’ve got to wait seven years to start Selling your tree so you’ve made a huge Investment In a in the risk so if you’ve got your Trees in the ground and they’ve survived The heat and they’ve survived everything And you’ve Been able to grind through all the work And get to where you’re selling it on The other side If you do happen to make a good amount Of money and and it’s debatable how much Is actual profit how much is not but if You did take the risk and you won You don’t have to apologize you’re the One that took on the risk it’s not the Guys that are hired by the hour it’s not People that are coming by the trees You’re the one that took the risk and so Um If people are wondering uh Those of you that are saying you know Don’t give a low number it’s hard to Justify uh selling a tree for this much If if people are here on this low number First of all There is a huge investment that went in And don’t forget they took the risk If you took the risk and won don’t Apologize

Okay so in conclusion you know i still Say that it after your capital expenses I know that that’s part of it uh but if You want to put trees in the ground and Just what does it take to grow a tree if You’re willing to invest the work and i Didn’t put a number on the hour’s time You can for financially dollars if You’re willing to work hard you can grow A christmas tree At not too expensive but if you start to Scale up you’re going to have to start Hiring more labor and just know the cost Is going to go up and there are other Expenses then you’re going to want to Make capital expenses to improve your Farm and whatnot so those expenses are Coming but usually a lot of those come As you’re starting to make a profit but Uh You you know you may not get rich Farming but uh there like i said there’s Other benefits here and as always you Know i don’t know everything i admit That but and i love hearing in the Comments from you people like hey you Missed this or thank you i thought you Nailed this right but you did that you Know maybe you should consider this I i enjoy uh constructive criticism so Go ahead and let me know hey rob Consider this i appreciate the people That will you know maybe point something Out i should consider without name

Calling we’re in a society right now Where a lot of people just want to do Name calling but uh if i’m missing Something Just let me know hey rob consider this And uh i will continue to learn from it I’ve been in this business for 20 years Now i still have a lot to learn i’ve Learned so much i’m doing better than i Was at the beginning i can still get Better and i think every farmer will Tell you that We’re navigating this and we’re getting Better all the time Learn from others i’ll offer what i have I listen to other people i go talk to Other people i’m always trying to learn Hopefully we can learn how to do this Better and better every year So thanks for joining me on the flanigan Homestead where christmas trees are my Business teaching including horticulture Is my job and outdoor projects are my Passion be blessed everyone

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