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Is Dairy Farming a Good Business to get into?

I get that question a lot.

People start by asking very general questions such as:

“do you think dairy farming is profitable?” (of course it is but not immediately)

“I have my lands in such and such place, can a dairy farm work there?” (humanity have been keeping animals in deserts and snow and everything in between since ever!)

“I really do not know if I should start a dairy farm, what do you suggest?” (I really can’t answer that for you because a lot of factors come into play… but we can and you should figure it out before starting!)

“I have always loved the farm life, will a dairy farming business give me that?” (depends on your version of “farm life” and depends on what kind of business you end up with – a remote management business or a on-the-job hands-on type!)

“Animals are my hobby! Should I start a dairy farm?” (I am all for hobbies and think we should be paying attention to them, so yes you can start a dairy farm to complement that)

 

Here's Lookin At You, Kid

Here’s Lookin At You, Kid

And then there are questions that look like specific questions but are still very generic and therefore hard (usually impossible) to answer, in the lines of:

“How much money do I need to start a dairy farm?” (depends how much you have and depends if you can afford to block that money for a decade or two!)

“Can I start with X number of animals” or “how many animals should I start with?” (I know folks who started with one cow tied under a tree. Seriously. There are also people who start with a 100 cows roaming under a state-of-the-art pre-fabricated aircraft-hanger-disguised-as-cow-shed structure!)

Yeah, but, is dairy farming a good business to get into?

I have tried to give an answer to that question in this post.

I have a running list of common questions and their attempted answers here.

Hope they help.

And I wish you all the best.  And God bless.

@momekh

Why Start a Dairy Farm

Yours truly have been working on the dairy farming project since June 2009. My interest was pretty much ‘academic’ at first; just knowing how the business and the animals operate. It was after almost a year of travelling in and around Punjab, meeting countless number of people in the field, discussing and debating with some very qualified consultants and breeders, that I decided to dip my toes in this project.

I was interested in quite a few facets of Dairy Farming:

  1. The Business Model: Dairy farming has a very unique business model, and no other business has the capability of multiplying its assets while still producing revenue. Remarkable.
  2. The Current Situation: One of many lessons that Richard Branson has taught me is that you should get into a business where you think you can do better. Dairy farming, I knew, had a very, very large room for improvement.
  3. A Very Solid Demand: A lot of businesses and entrepreneurs would consider a ‘demand’ for something a good enough reason to get into any project. But for me, dairy farming is not only the demand of the market, but also a need. People need healthy, quality milk (and meat). It fits in with the idea of for-profit philanthropy where I stand a chance of actually helping people out, and earning prayers as well as profits. Now that’san inspiration!
  4. Super Integration: This was not vertical integration as much as it was super integration. I already have two independent projects, one agriculture farming and the other is milk supply within Lahore, Alhumdulillah. The dairy farm has the potential of sitting in very nicely between the two, and providing wholesome integration. Although integration of any two businesses, much less three, is a pain in the neck (amongst other body parts), dairy farming provides me with the perfect long-term inspiration for working on these three projects!

Before you jump into your next business project, may it be a dairy farming business or an online ecommerce shop selling hand-made Peshawari chappals (!!), make sure you have some idea of WHY you are starting this. It will be a wonderful ride I promise. InshAllah.

I wish you all the best, friend.

The Problem with Dairy Farming Advice

When I was starting my dairy farming project, I had a clear objective in mind: I wanted the dairy farm to run on modern guidelines, treat it as a process-oriented business instead of a lifestyle and have time to pursue other projects as well!

The details as to why I wanted a dairy farm can be seen on this post here, but the problem with the advice I found on dairy farming in general, had the following two major problems:

  • The advice I got did not suit an “urban lifestyle”. I do not have a village to go to and live life there! I wanted a dairy farm, run it REMOTELY so I can pursue and manage other projects as well! People usually told me that I had to live at the farm, stand on top of the staff to ensure they’re doing their job etc. It was good advice, please note, but it was coming from people who did not do the business like I wanted to do it.
  • or advice was centered around a “rich businessman”! Especially the person heading SMEDA casually told me that if I did not have 50 lac of rupees, do not do dairy farming! WHAT!? I obviously did not have that kind of money but such advice was very, very problematic as it suggested that it is NOT POSSIBLE to start a dairy farm in Pakistan with smaller investments.

As you can see, I was in a fix at the time! Both sets of advice were given based on their own experiences, and it was not something I wanted.

So I just went ahead and found teachers who had done what I wanted to do! I suggest you find those people too. Actual dairy farmers who have done what you’re trying to do. In my case, it was harder to find such people, but once I did find them, I am glad to report, that it worked out just fine. Alhumdulillah!

I wish you the best!