Wisest decision we've made this year is to join our local IFA co-op. We buy enough feed and supplies there to qualify for the annual dividend paid to co-op members at the end of the year.
We always comparative shop with Premier1 (on line), Cal Ranch (another local farm store), and our local "big farm stuff" store, the John Deere store at Crossroads.
It's a rare day when IFA is beaten on prices for animal supplies, feed, tools, equipment, etc. Cal Ranch tends to have better deals on boots, but that's because they're bigger and have a much larger western wear section. We also purchase any weapons or ammunition either there or at the local WalMart, unless we find a good deal at a pawn shop (used weapons).
Since all these shopping spots are a 100 mile round trip, we make lists all month long, and then spend several hours loading the truck. We have a 2001 Avalanche and really don't like to take the tonneau panels off. If only 2 of us go, we purchase lumber and OBS as it fits into the bed real well. Otherwise we tend to leave the back seat up, and work only with the short bed.
I used to think of the Avalanche as a "city farmer's" SUV. In the six years I've been here, I have come to respect it. We can haul a decent sized trailer with it. That gets our animals to auction if necessary. We can haul full sheets of OBS and other lumber. As long as it's less than about 16 feet, and not more than 3.5 feet wide, we generally find a way. It's 4WD with and "auto" feature, so that makes it very sure-footed going across the mountains. Never know when we'll have snow and ice from October to May.
This shopping trip we'll be buying 8 bags of layer pellets, 1 bag rabbit pellets, 3-50# bags of dog food , a 25# box dog biscuits, 50# of lamb and kid milk, as well as some other lambing supplies for our vet box. This year, we're also marking the lambs as they're born using the Shro-Mark fluid and branding irons. More on that later.
Because we've begun lambing, one of us has to stay home at all times. We are also doing 4 watches during the day, and will soon go to 4 hour during the night. Right now, we're getting by with 6 hour watches. Maybe all our gals will cooperate and have their babies during the day.