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Old 09-09-2016, 01:07 PM
Location: Miami, FL
8,088 posts, read 7,703,197 times
Reputation: 6650


Originally Posted by Westerntraveler View Post
My grandparents told me it was a lot of work so I dont think it would be relaxing in that way.
I sell to farmers now and the previous seven years and they advise it is the same. A great deal of work even with automation. Constant seasonal worry about weather and of course prices.
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Old 09-09-2016, 04:31 PM
4,638 posts, read 3,958,997 times
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Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
While a glorious outlook on a small acreage ...

methinks that this poster doesn't have a clue as to how much work and resources goes into this wonderful scenario.

citing "the only negative they had" as 5 years from planting to "really start producing fruit" could be very misleading. According to industry reports from fruit grower's news ... the average cost of preparing the ground, planting and tree stock costs ... for an apple orchard is $60,000 per ACRE. (source: Western Fruit Grower, August 2016 edition, article about the Apple Grower of the Year). Even with the latest orchard techniques of a "wall of trees" similar to a grape arbor to achieve higher density tree production, it's still a lot of money upfront and years before you see a return. In those years before the trees are producing fruit, there's still a lot of maintenance and care involved to get them to that point, so there's even more time, energy, and expense involved before the first apple is ever picked. I don't have a ready number for the cherry tree production, but I'd anticipate a similar sunk cost in them before the first cherry is ever picked.

Again, one has to look at the "relaxed" aspect of this work. When fruit is ready to be harvested, it's a very intensive hand labor effort in a minimum amount of time. Since this outfit uses "no special equipment", understand that the apples are picked by hand. And the economics from this poster don't make sense ... 800 beautiful apples at $2 apiece is only $1,600 gross income per year. Rest assured that the entire crop isn't going to command top dollar, there will be apples on the trees that don't present as nice a fruit and need to be culled ... OH, that's work, too. "Pruning and trimming" and culling are part of the WORK involved in getting a product to maturity. Spraying by hand with a little Hudson sprayer isn't an easy or quick task when you're looking at 5 acres of trees, let alone 10 acres ... most pro growers use pressure spray systems that can reach up into the trees from the ground, but these folk apparently don't use "special equipment".

As well, the economics of the cherry production don't yield a livable income. 3,000 cherries per year is a fairly minimal production even if they're producing a specialty high value cherry. I'd doubt that they're yielding more than several thousand dollars per year in income from these.

The bottom line here is that the idyllic home farm doesn't happen without a lot of constant work, energy, and expense of inputs to create the opportunity to have a product. There's a big difference between a small home garden and producing enough produce/vegetables to justify the time/effort/expense of a Farmer's Market.

Given the costs of land in the area, the costs of planting/operating an orchard/acre ... there's no way these folk are making a living from the modest production numbers reported by this poster. There's got to be outside income here to support this "lifestyle" little farm. And a lot more work than the poster asserts to get those farming/orchard results. Winters off? maybe ... but there's a lot more work done the rest of the year to get the production. And you don't make a living from "baking a few pies" no matter how much they are in demand ... even if you're getting $10/pie, it's not all profit ... and 1,000 pies (just as an example) at $8/net per pie is still only a $8,000/year income. Ya' think that she bakes 1,000 pies/year? Really? and even nets $8/pie? time to get real, bud ...

by way of comparison, we do Farmer's Markets, CSA share sales, and online coop marketing of our vegetable production each year on a fairly sizable scale ... and in a really good year see Gross sales around $12,000/year. It's a lot of work, time, effort, energy, and input expense. If we had the time to do 1,000 pies per year, too ... we'd see a gross of $20,000/year. That's not a living income in this region of the country ... and we have no mortgage on our farm/ranch as an overhead expense, either. I'd bet this homesteading couple doesn't, too ... there's way too much land/housing cost here to be supported by such a modest income as the poster presents.
Two thumbs up Sunsprit. You are spot on.
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Old 09-10-2016, 05:48 AM
Location: Gettysburg, PA
1,611 posts, read 1,609,676 times
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Originally Posted by 601halfdozen0theother View Post
So now you know - farming is not a relaxed lifestyle most times of the year.

But you don't have to give up your dream completely. Simply move to a rural area or small town and do what you do now for a living. The concept that there are no jobs in small towns is incorrect - just find one where you can find the sort of job that you can do - or are willing to do. It's easy enough to research available jobs - every American state has a state job board.

You won't have to fight traffic or crowds or deal with the other urban things that are bothering you now. Come home after an 8 hour day, put your feet up on the porch, and watch the grass grow. Very relaxing.
Definitely this. Heard farming is very demanding and not what people think it is; you may escape having to drive an automobile at a fast pace, but you'll surely run into other demands that are just as aggravating. This is a much better idea. It sounds as though you may live in the city or thereabouts. The rural countryside is much more peaceful. You may have to go into a somewhat larger city for work perhaps, but it's great to drive home on back roads with little traffic, especially if you're not in a hurry (since sometimes you have slow drivers in front of you). Make sure you cut back your workload however; not sure what your work area is or how many hours you work, but you can definitely kill yourself and still be in an hurry while living in a rural area (that's kind of how it is for me right now, working a lot at the moment). Just do 40 hours or so (or less if you can get by, but many can't), and enjoy the slower-paced life. Best wishes for you.

(One other thing about living in a rural area, is that perhaps you can start a miniature farm and see how you like it. If you find it agrees with you, perhaps you can transition from your other work into full-time farming).
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:10 AM
11,256 posts, read 43,166,831 times
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Originally Posted by Basiliximab View Post

(One other thing about living in a rural area, is that perhaps you can start a miniature farm and see how you like it. If you find it agrees with you, perhaps you can transition from your other work into full-time farming).
BS. This is a profound misconception of what full time farming is about.

This is like saying that someone who "likes to cook" is readily capable of "opening a restaurant" successfully.

The differences between a "mini-farm" where you might get by with mostly hand labor, very few and inexpensive residential quality/size implements, and a very little (if any) expenditure for land that produces a family portion of vegetables is a complete world apart from a "full-time" farm.

The economics of scale, land size, irrigation (if needed in the climate zone), soil amendments, fertilizing, weed & pest control, and equipment ... let alone the labor component during soil prep, planting, growing season, harvest, selling and transporting product to market are a completely different scenario.

As well, the choices in what to grow take on a different meaning and risks. When you grow a few tomatoes at home, even several different varieties ... and reap a harvest in due course, maybe you'll notice that some do "better" in a given year than others. But you enjoy your harvest and take pride in your garden as a result.

In comparison, if you decide you're going to raise tomatoes on a "full time farming" scale, now those little differences in size/shape/flavor/storage and keeping qualities become an entirely different scenario. You get to gamble on what will grow in your climate and be a commercially viable product. You plant rows of a given variety that has a track record in your area and maybe this is the year that the climate/growing conditions aren't optimal for it, so the quality/quantity of product is minimal. You hedge your bet by planting several different varieties, so the lesser producing ones don't become a total loss for your operation. But the good producing ones require labor to pick a perishable crop in a limited amount of time, pack it, and get it to your buyers in good condition.

Same thing with all your other vegetables, root vegetables, corn, oats, wheat, etc. And the grain crops require a lot of heavy machinery (combines) to harvest and retrieve. Likely you'll contract with an outfit to do so ... who get paid by the acre and bushel of product. You get to transport and store your product, or take it to the local elevator and take their price for it or pay them to store it. And the elevator will test for protein/moisture and contaminants (such as other seeds) in your product, deducting for anything that is less than optimal product. What do you do the year that the price offered is less than your cost of production? That's happening right now for corn and wheat producers across the USA ... and it's not the first time in recent memory.

I've friends that like to "doodle" sketches of their dream houses ... and have come up with some very innovative concepts for themselves and friends. That doesn't make them architects capable of designing the end product nor capable of rendering plans that a builder can follow. And so it is with a "gardener" ... they have little background in commercial crop production.
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Old 10-26-2016, 03:25 PM
17,504 posts, read 3,971,301 times
Reputation: 5450
farming is not relaxed
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