Why an Off Farm Job Might Be Good For Your Farm – Grass Fed Life (GFL64)

One advantage of farming in a place where there’s winter is winter.

For many farmers winter means forced downtime, or at least, yeah it’s cold and I’m tired.

Given that many farmers take the winter off. Depending on your farm maybe that’s totally off or maybe, that’s just off with a dramatically reduced workload.

It’s downtime you can use for a variety of purposes… to rest, to relax, to get ahead on other projects, to do repairs or build out infrastructure, to take a trip, or to work…. for someone else.

What, go to work for someone else off farm during your downtime?


It is something which can give some optionality to your life and farm. You are trading some downtime for dollars; dollars which you can use to expand the farm, buy more animals, install more fence, go on a vacation or simply build up the savings account.

All reasons why Darby spent his winter months commuting M-F to an office to do engineering work.

In this episode, you’ll hear why, and why it might actually be a good option for you and your farm.

Notes from this episode of Grass Fed Life

  • How do you view trade offs between have time available and using time to earn money at this point in your farm career?
    • Meaning you can go work somewhere, earn money, but that time spent earning money is time spent away from the farm which could be used to work on farm projects?  Can’t do both.
  • How to rationally approach this?
    • Will the addition of money grow your operation?  Can you use money as a tool to leverage growth?
    • Do you have surplus time that you can use off farm?
    • Do you like the work that you do off farm?
    • Do you like the company who you work for?  And everything that goes along with it – location, people, hours.
    • Can you get paid more per unit of time than on the farm at that given time of year?
    • Is there an easier, faster, cheaper way to get that money?
      • Grant, loan
    • Is there a spouse, partner that could fill this role and would enjoy doing so?
  • Another winter income stream gives a lot of flexibility and ability to do other things like take a trip and build savings.
  • Keeps skills sharp, maintains the relationship.
    • Gives you future options.
  • Charge appropriately:
    • May need to cover farm expenses while you are working.
    • Need to cover more taxes versus being an employee. 
  • The experience might be very different than one of an employee in a good or bad way.
    • You are are a contractor without long term commitment.  
    • There is an end date and that is powerful.
    • Can you set it up in a way to work and deal with what you enjoy and eliminate the stuff that you don’t enjoy or didn’t enjoy as an employee.
  • The equation is probably flipped versus that of an employee – they need you more than you need them.
  •  While working part time you can only grow the farm so much before you need to move to full time or get someone full-time.

Connect with Darby Simpson


Simpson Family Farm

Simpson Family Farm on Facebook

Have questions for Darby? He does consulting…

Whether you are simply someone looking to raise some or all of your own meat on a homestead, or are looking to follow your dreams of full time farming Darby can help you be a success and reach your goals. Your one on one consultation is tailored to fit you – not anyone else. It’s all about your farm enterprise or homestead, and will answer your questions on a myriad of farming related subjects. LEARN MORE.

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