When starting out with ostrich farming, you will quickly realize that to ensure a stably producing farm, a financial plan is of utmost importance. In order to have products to market, we need reliable production at the right price. If we are able to identify all aspects pertaining to the development of the market, we will gain a better understanding of how we can finance each aspect and manage it in the most profitable manner.
There are business plan strategies that apply to all business models, but there are a number that are unique to livestock farming in general, and some are very specific to ostrich farming. It is good to learn from other enterprises, and to lend good business management techniques from them, but always remembering to change the plan to be very specific to ostrich farming. For instance, the turn-around time on a poultry farm is on average 6 weeks, where the turn-around time on an ostrich farm is up to 14 months, depending on which market you are catering for. Therefore much more care needs to be taken when planning for the cash flow of the venture, as the length of time before any financial returns will be made to ease the cash flow will take months or even years to be realized.
It is therefore imperative that you understand the market you are entering fully, while implementing the experiences of other successful farming ventures in your own business plan.
The first step you need to take is to define the market you intend to cater for. Find out what the requirements for this market are: What age and quality ostrich is needed for this market? What additional certification or quality controls are needed?
Once you fully understand your market, you can plan the steps you will need to take to get you there. Only then can you set up an operational plan and put it into practice.
• To set up your operational plans, it is necessary to research a number of aspects of the business:
• Define your management structure
• Define the volume the venture will start out with
• Define the rate of growth, and possible areas of expansion, with timetables
• Understand the quality requirements you will need to meet
• Develop the infrastructure needed, and co-operation of interdependent operation
• Find a source for your live ostriches and ostrich eggs
• Identify network opportunities, joint ventures and co-operations and partnerships you will need to make production optimal
• Develop a training program for all staff and interdependent operations
• Develop your product line
Various daily, weekly or seasonal activities will need to be defined for the smooth running of operations on your ostrich farming venture. While it is true that a plan can be developed as you learn the process, this is not good management practice. By researching your options, and learning from the experiences of other ostrich farms, you can implement a proven production plan ahead of time. This will leave no room for error due to lack of knowledge.
Activities to research include:
• What feeding program are you going to follow? Decide in advance where you will get your rations, and whether you will be manufacturing your own feed, or buying ready-made feed.
• Research the benefits of different types of feed as well as in what form they are presented.
• How will your ostrich feed be distributed, and how often?
• What will you do about incubation of ostrich eggs?
• How and where will chicks be raised?
• What type of pens will you have for the ostriches
• How will you ensure the bio-security of your farm?
• What will your transportation needs be?
• What are the safety risks involved to laborers, and what measures will be in place to ensure a safe and healthy environment for livestock and workers?
• What products will you be producing and/or manufacturing?
• Which processes need to be outsourced?
• What are your market requirements?
• How will the products be distributed and marketed?
Once you have researched each aspect thoroughly, you will be ready to put this knowledge into successful practice, as you move your ostrich farming venture from a planning phase to the developmental and finally producing phases.