I sat down at the computer over the weekend to pay bills and finalize our March budget.
Yes, I am aware March started last week...but sometimes the stomach flu thwarts the best laid plans.
March is always a hard budget month for us. It is always full of some extra expenses, most of which revolve around the Ohio Beef Expo. We plan all year for the Expo, but sometimes the planning ends up more in our heads than in our bank accounts.
(I don't have pictures of the trade show, so today you get to look at random images that have absolutely nothing to do with this post)
We spend a lot of money at the Ohio Beef Expo.
Of course, there are show entry fees, vet health checks, time off work (sometimes without pay if the vacation days are all used up), and several dinners out with friends we only see this time of year.
We are fortunate to be able to commute and not have to stay in a hotel, but that also means some extra late nights and obscenely early mornings.
Late night pizza runs and early morning drive thru stops are just par for the course.
But for us...the real expense is the trade show.
The Ohio Beef Expo has an amazing trade show packed with more than 130 vendors.
The same vendors are usually there year after year, so we know exactly what we want to buy.
While our local feed stores and TSC have many farm items, there are still a lot of things they don't have or the options are limited.
You can buy a lot of farm supplies online...but have you looked at the price of shipping?
Sometimes shipping is more expensive than the actual item!
So...we save our pennies and head to the trade show with a plan.
Many of the vendors come to the trade show with trailers loaded down with the larger items. Don't worry...they are well stocked...just look out at the parking lot.
Mineral feeders, squeeze chutes, fencing supplies, scales, show boxes, etc. They come to the show prepared for you to buy.
They have many of the smaller items too.
It is about this time of year that someone outgrows, gets a hole in, or forgets to bring along their mud boots.
Straight A's Ranch Supply always has a rack full of affordable mud boots...without the $15 shipping charge.
By the way...they also have a few toy tractors sitting on their shelves.
It's also a great time to re-stock our vet supplies.
PBS Animal Supply now carries stock in their booth. PBS has free shipping on most of their items, but most of the gallon jugs and some larger items do have shipping costs. These are the ones that we save our pennies for.
Just a note...PBS has a great closeout deal on women's Muck reign tall boots or the tack classic boot right now at just $35.00 per pair.
We also head out to the show supply trailers and re-stock our gallons and gallons of shampoos, conditioners and other show supplies.
The Ohio Beef Expo is the last show of the season and we don't have any local suppliers that carry many of the Weaver products we use.
These supplies have to last us all the way through Spring, Summer and two fairs before we will have a chance to re-stock.
The show supplies alone almost requires a loan payment.
If you already have your shopping list made up, it isn't a bad idea to contact the vendor before you head to the Expo, just to be sure they will have all the items you need. Sometimes they will complete an order over the phone and just deliver it to you at the show.
Not all vendors bring product with them to the show, but it never hurts to ask. Usually they will go the extra mile to help a customer.
One year we knew we were going to buy 2 grooming chutes. We contacted Highland Show Supply and they ended up dropping the chutes off at our house on one of their trips down to the Expo to set up.
Last year, we checked our supply of semen in our tank and realized we were getting low on our supply of Mitchell semen.
Great Lakes Sire Service is always at the show, so we called them to see if they could bring some semen to the Ohio Beef Expo. They were more than happy to do it. They did charge a small handling fee, but it was much cheaper than shipping costs would have been. We went to the booth to pick it up and realized we weren't the only ones with that idea.
If you are needing to buy some more semen and have been looking around, contact any potential bull owners to see if they will be at the Expo. Again, so much cheaper than shipping costs or driving all over the state to pick up semen.
It isn't a big deal for someone to throw the semen tank in the truck...especially if it means a sale.
And, if you are wondering...we will have 4 Wiley Mountain Mitchell semen available for purchase at the Ohio Beef Expo.
We are not paid or sponsored by any of these companies or suppliers. These are companies that we have worked with and bought from in the past We have built relationships with them over the years as they have recommended products and even given us some good deals. We encourage you to stop by and check out all of the above vendors and many more. We do business with many of the other vendors, these are just some of our favorites that we go back to year after year.
So...do you have your list made up?
You can see a complete list of the Ohio Beef Expo vendors here.
Now, the hard part...saving your pennies.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.