Legacy Farms is a family farm in Indiana, owned by Paul and Jessica Kinslow, along with their children Alyssa and Brett. They breed and raise show-quality Boer goats. Paul Kinslow also sits on the Board of Directors for the American Boer Goat Association He is the Director for region 14 containing Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky. I caught up with Paul this week to chat with him about their small business.
The inspiration for their farm came from Jessica’s father, Jim Misiniec. Paul remembers, “Jim told us Boer goats were the next up-and-coming show animal. Jessica thought he was a nut. She had grown up showing hogs. He kept on us, and he finally convinced me.” Jim’s influence extends to their farm even today, “Our farm name, Legacy Farms, comes from the legacy that Jim left us. He taught Jessica the skills and work ethic that we are passing on to our children today.”
I next asked Paul to tell me his favorite part of owning a small business:
“What I enjoy is our family time. It’s not your typical small business. We travel, show, care for the animals and make buying decisions as a family. It allows us to do things together. It’s not all fun, but it’s valuable time. The work ethic I’ve been able to teach Brett and Allie is that you get out of life what you put into it. In Allie’s first year she was the Junior Showman. In her second year, she was the Intermediate Showman at the Indiana State Fair. I’m proud of that.”
Paul and Jessica credit their faith as being the biggest reason for their success. Paul says, “We try to pray about every decision we make and try to put God first and foremost.” He also credits Jessica with having “a great livestock eye.” She has developed that from years of being part of the livestock industry.
They also emphasize the constantly changing environment inherent in the livestock business. Paul advises, “It’s not so much luck as learning and applying that knowledge quickly. You have to be able to change your business plan very quickly.” He explains that standards and trends change each year, as new animals are named Grand Champion at the fairs and shows. It is of utmost importance to track those trends to stay ahead of them.
Legacy Farms approaches its marketing from an interesting angle. Their animals are their advertising. As they travel around the country, each show or fair presents an opportunity to increase the value of their farm and animals by how they place. This model can work for any livestock farm. Paul says, “We try to update the website every 2-3 weeks with photographs and animals for sale. But for the most part, you have to be seen. I could have the best animals in the country, but if no one sees them, it doesn’t matter. If you go to the shows and consistently place in the top, then people take notice of you.”
As we parted, Paul wanted to give some advice to livestock entrepreneurs thinking of starting out with Boer goats or other livestock:
“Start small. Ask a lot of questions. Livestock people are very willing to help. They have a very good work ethic and are all about the children and growing the industry. Pay attention to the market. When we got into it, we bought what we thought was pretty. We wasted a lot of money that way, and it took me two years to sell off the original livestock we bought. Learn what you’re buying. And don’t put yourself into a position where you can’t take care of the animals that you purchase. If you only have room for three goats, don’t buy five– no matter how much of a bargain it seems.”
The American Boer Goat Association is having their National Show in Louisville this year from June 7-12. There will be 1,200 head of animals represented by 400-500 exhibitors. Anyone interested in Boer goats is encouraged to attend. Call (325) 486-2242 for more information.