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It’s that time again, homesteaders! As we shake off the revelry and mental cobwebs of the holidays, it’s time to get back to work.

Before we dive in, it’s important to remember regular maintenance is critical on the farm. Not only will this keep your things tidier, but also more productive throughout the year.

Here are my favorite tasks to start the new year on the right foot.

1. Set your goals and plan

The best way to achieve success is to set goals. Assess how your farm performed last year. What went really well? What did you enjoy? What didn’t go well? If you want to change anything, now’s the time to take action.

You’ll also need to create a work plan for the year. Plan when and what to plant, when to take animals to slaughter, and when to conduct maintenance on all components of the homestead (outbuildings, farm vehicles, shop/garage, house gutters, etc.).

Oh, and also set a budget! If you homestead professionally, you’ll need to mind your budget to stay profitable all year.

2. Pruning

Depending on your trees and climate, it might be time to prune your trees. Pruning is a critical way to control the growth of your trees. It can even affect your crop output.

When in doubt, look up YouTube tutorials on tree trimming, or consult a trusted local arborist.

3. Clean your tools

Did you forget to clean and put away your tools last fall? Well, now’s the time to think about getting them cleaned and ready for use. Give trowels, boots, rakes, knives, and more a good washing. Tune up your tractor, mower, baler, or any other equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Planting and harvesting will be much easier with clean tools.

4. Find a reputable vet

If you don’t already have a veterinarian, then you need to get to know one. You may not realize it but many animals get sick when the weather warms up. Have a trusted vet on speed dial before the busy spring season.

If you don’t want to take the animals to a vet, stock up on vaccines, wound dressings, medicines, or even your own homemade treatments. Ensure you’re educated and experienced in treating your animals beforehand.

5. Order bulk supplies

Running low on bulk flour or grain? Use the start of a fresh, new year as your cue to stock up. Look through your pantry or stockpile to see where supplies are dwindling. If you don’t grow/process your own then try ordering pantry foods in bulk to save money and fuss. Invest in food-safe bins so you have a place to store everything.

The new year is a time of renewal. Get off on the right foot with these tasks and stay organized. You’ll be very happy you did!

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