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Old 11-11-2011, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Burlington, Colorado
347 posts, read 690,036 times
Reputation: 485

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We are all taking your term "on a farm" literally. However, I know many from the city consider some chickens and a huge garden and sweetcorn patch as being "on a farm", if this is the case then you can manage. As for REAL farming, from someone familiar with farming in the midwest and on the eastern plains, the others are right, your farm dream is possible in the midwest, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, wherever the soil and rain are enough for good yields (crop or animals), but nearly impossible here, unless you are a millionaire. I know many people in the midwest who successfully run 100-500 acre farms, or say 30 head of hogs, in these areas while holding down a full-time job as well. I know of noone who does that here. Alot of successful farmers and ranchers in this country, but not the way you would be entering it.
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:50 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,113,571 times
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People have way too romantic ideas about what farming or ranching is, especially if one is trying to farm and ranch in a place like Colorado. If one plans to make even a partial living at farming and ranching in Colorado--and not just indulge in it as a very time-consuming and very expensive hobby (while one works another job or two to support that hobby)--then one must indulge in it as a business. And, as a business, Colorado farming and ranching is a very capital-intensive and management-intensive business. It is fraught with all of the business risk associated with any capital and management-intensive business, plus the inherent risks from Mother Nature, as well. Farming and ranching is not some bucolic stress-free existence. It is hard work (and never-ending), risky, physically demanding, and--often--with little financial reward for one's efforts.

A 4th-generation Colorado rancher I knew summed it with this little story: One day, he was taking a nap after lunch when a salesman called upon him. The salesman said, "Boy, you ranchers sure have it easy, being able to take a nap after lunch, and all." "Yep," the rancher replied, "We sure do--that nap just separates the first 8-hour day from the second one."
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:08 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,268,254 times
Reputation: 6815
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanek9freak View Post
From what I've seen, the ranchers in the high country do not have it easy. Like Jazz said, most of those ranches have been in their families for over 100 years, or they married into it.

My family sold off their cattle and most of their land there about 90 years ago and moved into town to work with things that ran on fossil fuel, like cars, trucks and trains. They never looked back and I doubt ever thought "gee, if we'd just stuck with the livestock business our lives would be so much better". It was fun while it lasted I guess but a tough way to make a living.

I'd suggest first talking to some local agricultural agents who can give you some perspective on it. You might also want to check out one of the state growers associations for whatever it is you're interested in raising. Many have events, often sponsored by suppliers, that can be useful to newbies.

One other piece of advice - don't quit your day job. One thing I noticed about my rancher relatives was they usually had something else going on the side that had nothing to do with their livestock business. Some sold real estate, starting with their own.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:27 AM
 
20,314 posts, read 37,820,570 times
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I'm sure that farming and ranching are capital and management intensive anywhere these days but I'd agree that the lack of rainfall and the shorter growing seasons make it that much more difficult in COLO. I know there are untold miles of corn growing on our eastern plains, but those folks have had the land and water rights locked up for a long time and/or are in servitude to the big ag players like ADM, Cargill, etc.

A large back yard or couple of acres for a veggie plot and a few chickens are what I envision as the best way to play farmer. Around here, the deer will eat anything that isn't fenced or patrolled by dogs, and the foxes or coyotes will chow down on chickens and cats.
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