Shopping for the Farm, Animals & Family
Shopping for farm and farm animal equipment is not easily accomplished in suburban/urban areas - Ag stores and well stocked farm stores are located in rural farming communities. Sure we have Costco, Sam's Club and Walmart and we even have a Tractor Supply Store (TS) all within 15 minutes but it's what they don't carry that makes shopping for the farm and our animals a little more challenging.
Our local TS carries some limited brands of feed, but as far as supplies go, they carry mostly horse related items in our area. Simply put, our choices are limited unless we drive about an hour.
We are lucky that we have a Rural King Store that opened about a year ago and a Family Farm & Home Store within a reasonably short distance for most small farm-related stuff like a few feeders, buckets, hay feeders, fencing and gates. If we're looking for calf hutches and dairy related items, we do not have any stores close that carry those type of farm supplies.
We've found that we can order stuff we need online and have it shipped if there isn't an immediate need for it and shipping costs are reasonable. We've found that you cannot usually save much when you have to order things and have them shipped unless they are smaller items or you are an Amazon Prime shopper and shipping is included.
What we've done to overcome some of those issues is we found local feed stores that buy the brand of feed we prefer for our goats (Kalmbach Feeds in Ohio) and made inquiry to place orders through their store for our feed. That eliminated shipping costs on our end. We just call our order in weekly and pick it up a couple days later.
The other thing we've done to save money is to make lists of items we will be needing or need. We've signed up for Farm and Agricultural Stores within a two-hour drive maximum and when we have enough items we need to pick up to justify making the trip, we drive to the farm or Ag store. It's a lot cheaper than paying freight shipping on a lot of the items.
The more land that disappears and the fewer farms that we have, the harder it is to locate farm supplies locally. Suburban homesteading can be a challenge!