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Old 08-22-2010, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,487 posts, read 8,876,889 times
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Sunsprit, you have given very, very good answers regarding water (I can't give you any more rep points). Too bad that the OP hasn't weighed in since the original posting. I certainly hope that in the future when people do a C-D search, they will find your excellent posts and learn from them!
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,132 posts, read 25,816,664 times
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Can I assume correctly that there is an agricultural extension agent in any county where the OP would be looking at property? I've always found them to be a wealth of useful information. Also, would be worth talking to others around there who are doing the same thing. Wouldn't you be better farming on existing farm land that already had issues such as water worked out? I would think between the ag. extension agent, the realtor, the previous owner, and the neighbors you can figure out if what you want to do is viable where you want to do it. Nothing you'll see on this board will substitute for that, as all you'll find here is blind conjecture divorced from the facts on (and under) the ground.
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Old 08-22-2010, 01:59 PM
 
10,718 posts, read 40,109,672 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Can I assume correctly that there is an agricultural extension agent in any county where the OP would be looking at property? I've always found them to be a wealth of useful information. Also, would be worth talking to others around there who are doing the same thing. Wouldn't you be better farming on existing farm land that already had issues such as water worked out? I would think between the ag. extension agent, the realtor, the previous owner, and the neighbors you can figure out if what you want to do is viable where you want to do it. Nothing you'll see on this board will substitute for that, as all you'll find here is blind conjecture divorced from the facts on (and under) the ground.
Good resources: ag extension office if they have someone in-house with agronomy expertise ... not all the county offices do, they sometimes have a better focus on 4H and home economics than this topic.

State Engineer for water issues, along with county and local water sources.
Local zoning/planning dept's. Local well drilling companies with knowledge of the area and a track record of drilling producing wells.

Neighbors are a good source, but keep in mind that you're asking them about other properties and a sensitive issue. They may/may not be candid or have real information.

Poor to Bad resources: The realtor, the developer, the sales agent. My experience in Colorado has been that they all mislead or shade the truth ... or however you wish to gently say that they may lie or allow you to make assumptions based upon your experience in other venues. They make their money when you pay yours, so they have a vested interest in their position and a fiduciary responsbility to the seller to get a property sold. Even a "buyers agent" still looks to the seller at the closing for their earned commission; legally, they have a responsibility to you, but ... again, in my experience ... their accountability seems to run to favor the sellers. Rare is the agent who will truly put your interests as their primary concern in a real estate deal, and especially so when it comes to acreage. It's been a tough market for a few years and the agents are hungry for commissions; ie, completed transactions.

Worst resource: The seller. Absent seeing their farm/ranch production records ... and complete good ones, not some mere recollections of some good sales days .... they have a vested interest in selling the place. They, too, will misrepresent what they've got to sell as long as you're not critical of their tales. I've literally been on a successful irrigated farm in the Greeley area which had been ordered to shut off their irrigation wells ... and the seller was telling me only about his 5 tons/acre production and good prices and not mentioning that he had no water for the next year. Uh, duh ... do I really want to buy your place based upon prior production when there's no water for next year? You've got a dryland farm to sell, not an irrigated one. Thankfully, I did my research and found out about the "problem" before it became my problem at great expense. Thanks for wasting my time, mr farmer .... and the realtor was complicit in the deception. He played dumb about the water issue, which is how I came to visit with the seller directly to ask about production and farm records and water rights and water availability. One thing is for sure: if you're not asking the right questions, you will not get the right answers and full disclosure.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:19 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 24,726,461 times
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There is a huge thread on water issues in Colorado (that I started). The OP would do well to read it. Like so many, he has a complete misconception (or no conception) of what living in rural Colorado is like. Now, I've only dealt with water issues in rural Colorado for going on four decades, so I think I happen to know a little something. I've also studied Colorado climate and weather for that long, too, so I know what areas will grow or graze what pretty damned well, too. Oh, and I spent years as an agriculturalist myself, and I still have close ties to the agricultural community. What I say here is based on all of that experience.

When it comes to living in rural Colorado, ignorance is NOT bliss.
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Old 08-22-2010, 07:27 PM
 
2,878 posts, read 3,621,464 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
There is a huge thread on water issues in Colorado (that I started). The OP would do well to read it. Like so many, he has a complete misconception (or no conception) of what living in rural Colorado is like. Now, I've only dealt with water issues in rural Colorado for going on four decades, so I think I happen to know a little something. I've also studied Colorado climate and weather for that long, too, so I know what areas will grow or graze what pretty damned well, too. Oh, and I spent years as an agriculturalist myself, and I still have close ties to the agricultural community. What I say here is based on all of that experience.

When it comes to living in rural Colorado, ignorance is NOT bliss.
The only thing missing above is "My daddy did it and I am doing it too" sentence. My point was (and I am not the OP), that I am personally not looking to feed a village, just partially feed two people with vegetables. I also never mentioned that I am against buying the hay for my horses. I doubt that the hay in CO is more than what it is in SO FL where it is about $15 per square bale of 40-60 lbs of hay. The final point was that not having a mortgage makes a huge difference in people's budgets. Someone mentioned the "Little House on the Prairie" dream - that comment was a bit stupid - what is wrong with having people building/owning their homes outright and trying to grow as much of their food as possible? For some reason the society at large has been convinced that building a home is rocket science and that it is virtually impossible to build one without hiring hundreds of "experts". At the same time people have alsp been convinced that the only place a tomato will grow is the grocery store. That's all baloney.

At the end, noone is disputing your knowledge of these subjects but everyone's circumstances are different and please try to be flexible enough to allow for that. When it comes to water rights and other issues, this is why people do research before they buy a property and I guess this is why God created lawyers (or was it the Devil)? Anyways, lighten up

OD
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:46 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 24,726,461 times
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People's "circumstances" may be different, but the climate and geography in Colorado is what dictates what is possible and what's not. For example, the HIGHEST precipitation areas of Colorado get about 23"-28" inches of precipitation a year. Those are in Colorado's highest mountain areas, where most of that falls as snow, and the growing season is less than 30 days. Colorado's driest areas (which include some of the longest growing seasons) can get less than 8" of precipation on average PER YEAR. Most of Colorado's best producing land is in areas that require irrigation--and that means having the water rights to permit irrigation. No water rights--no water. I'm not going to repeat what sunsprit said about all of this, but he pretty much covered it.

As to lawyers, Colorado has more water lawyers than any other state in the country--there's a reason. And, as to "lightening up," I find it really amusing that I constantly hear that when I try to inject a little reality into what unknowledgable people are unwittingly about to step into. Jeezo-Pete, I'm not the one who is about to step off of a cliff here. My knowledge about what this place is all about comes from hard-won experience. If people don't want to listen to my and other voices of experience, that is THEIR problem, not mine.
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:14 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,132 posts, read 25,816,664 times
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My dream of a camel ranch near Cortez still makes sense though right?
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:13 PM
 
9,815 posts, read 18,735,866 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ognend View Post
The only thing missing above is "My daddy did it and I am doing it too" sentence. My point was (and I am not the OP), that I am personally not looking to feed a village, just partially feed two people with vegetables. I also never mentioned that I am against buying the hay for my horses. I doubt that the hay in CO is more than what it is in SO FL where it is about $15 per square bale of 40-60 lbs of hay. The final point was that not having a mortgage makes a huge difference in people's budgets. Someone mentioned the "Little House on the Prairie" dream - that comment was a bit stupid - what is wrong with having people building/owning their homes outright and trying to grow as much of their food as possible? For some reason the society at large has been convinced that building a home is rocket science and that it is virtually impossible to build one without hiring hundreds of "experts". At the same time people have alsp been convinced that the only place a tomato will grow is the grocery store. That's all baloney.

At the end, noone is disputing your knowledge of these subjects but everyone's circumstances are different and please try to be flexible enough to allow for that. When it comes to water rights and other issues, this is why people do research before they buy a property and I guess this is why God created lawyers (or was it the Devil)? Anyways, lighten up

OD
Oh I don't think there is anything wrong if you can do all of that, but I just think people are putting the reality out there and in turn you are trying to fit your square peg paradigm into a round hole.

Sure go for it, as people are laying out though, you better have some water locked up and depending on where you are at, agriculture and gardens might not produce much. I have had many relatives with gardens in Colorado but you need the water and the growing season to make all that happen, both of which are in short supply.

And yes I think there is a "Little House on the Prairie" fantasy that goes around. As we say in motorsports there is the fantasy of motorsports that one sees though TV and in person and then there is the reality inside the car, which is a major workout, hot and sweaty and requires 100% concentration. People like the fantasy but the reality of all the work and money it requires most will not like. Same with living off the land with a handbuilt house. I think it's a fantasy I have heard many talk about and few ever pull off successfully due to the intense amount of work and effort to make it happen and sustain itself.

I'd say unless you are a self sufficient gardener and competent home builder and maintainer now, I doubt trying to novice it in rough Colorado is going to work.
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:15 AM
 
2,878 posts, read 3,621,464 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
Oh I don't think there is anything wrong if you can do all of that, but I just think people are putting the reality out there and in turn you are trying to fit your square peg paradigm into a round hole.

Sure go for it, as people are laying out though, you better have some water locked up and depending on where you are at, agriculture and gardens might not produce much. I have had many relatives with gardens in Colorado but you need the water and the growing season to make all that happen, both of which are in short supply.

And yes I think there is a "Little House on the Prairie" fantasy that goes around. As we say in motorsports there is the fantasy of motorsports that one sees though TV and in person and then there is the reality inside the car, which is a major workout, hot and sweaty and requires 100% concentration. People like the fantasy but the reality of all the work and money it requires most will not like. Same with living off the land with a handbuilt house. I think it's a fantasy I have heard many talk about and few ever pull off successfully due to the intense amount of work and effort to make it happen and sustain itself.

I'd say unless you are a self sufficient gardener and competent home builder and maintainer now, I doubt trying to novice it in rough Colorado is going to work.
I agree with the majority of what you said. But that also says at the same time that the majority of Americans have become content with delegating the responsibility for their food and shelter to someone else. I did that too and got stuck with a house that is now worth half of what it cost the day I bought it (no, I didn't speculate and I genuinely wanted a home). That taught me a valuable lesson, one that will stick with me forever and one that has made me acquire the skills to build my own (modest) home and grow my own food. Is it hard? Yes. Is it a lot of work? Yes. Does the satisfaction of owning your own home outright and producing your own food (any amount of it really) far outweigh any amount of labor you can put into it? YES.
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:31 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,132 posts, read 25,816,664 times
Reputation: 6789
It's interesting to read about how our ancestors made it work. I've been re-reading my "Pioneers of the San Juan Country" that I bought back in the '70s (an excellent collection of remembrances from So. CO old-timers). The original ranchers and farmers basically started with nothing other than the grit and know-how they brought with them and adapted it to their new locality. On the other hand, for the most part land was free and unfenced, they were used to an agrarian lifestyle, and they were able to get around the water issue by means no longer available.
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