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Old 12-23-2014, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,147 posts, read 50,318,661 times
Reputation: 19849

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westcoastnavy View Post
... I have seen some people make money at Bee keeping, but they produce honey, chap stick, various wax products, sell hives ect, ect, ect and have been at it for along time.
If you live in a region with a thriving economy, you might be able to do okay marketing 'Value-Added' products. Re-packaging honey, and the various things you listed.



Quote:
... Are you able to do the butchering yourself (I know just how labor intensive that can be)? Or work out a deal and give up a % of the meat in trade?
My Dw butchers. She loves it, and she has taken some classes on it. The problem is that home-butchered meat can not be sold. Nearly every household in our town hunts and/or traps. We harvest more deer than we have people. Beer or moose are taken from my land nearly every year. There is no shortage of meat around here.

But to sell meat it needs to be inspected and done by a licensed butcher.



Quote:
... Also, you grow herbs, have you ever tried to dry them and sell them? or do you sell your fresh?
I sell fresh and dry herbs.

I am from California I am familiar with the chain groceries there.

I used to own some apartments there.
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,237 times
Reputation: 217
No joke? What part of cali?

DW=Dear Wife?

Well, everything in the farmers market in Greenville and nearby cities are all priced pretty low (due to the competition I think) and they are all stamped certified grown in SC and organic. I could say they were harvested/grown/produced by disabled vets, or insanely attractive and naked women lol, but not sure how far that would get me. (plus I cannot afford to hire insanely attractive naked women either.)

I didnt know that about butchered meats. Good to know! Can you be licensed and do it in your own home? Or possess a license and butcher and inspect your own meats? Or butcher it yourself and barter/give it away?

Do you do better with dry or fresh herbs?

And for you, what types of herbs have been easy or impossible?
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:05 AM
 
1,417 posts, read 1,577,163 times
Reputation: 1458
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
I am from California I am familiar with the chain groceries there.

I used to own some apartments there.
Sub: just curious - you said that you are retired Navy and have a small pension. How does a (retired) Navy guy end up owning apartments in (expensive) California? Not trying to start anything here and please do not get offended - I just think that people who tell others that it is possible to farm and do things off-grid without money should be held to a higher standard when it comes to disclosing their own "books"
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Old 12-24-2014, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,237 times
Reputation: 217
LordyLordy-I am ex military not retired, and while in the service I bought one house and one condo, in addition to the home I owned before the service. If i can get that far in 6 years, it is not unreasonable for some one too buy up a few small complexes over a span of twenty years.

Many civvies (I am not suggesting you are unaware of of this nor do I suggest you are not military or affiliated, just stating my experience with civvies) do not realize that while we are not paid all that well, there are some very nice benefits to the service. Example is TSP and VA loans. Also in addition to service time, my self and others held full time jobs on the side.

So ill use my income as an example.

I averaged a net of about $2500 between base pay, food pay, family separation pay and BAH.
My exwife, at the time, managed our home in california ($445,000) monthly cost of $2214. Bah covered almost 2000$ of that, my ex paid for everything else. The house was a FHA loan in my name. I was a GEO bachelor during boot camp, training and most of my six year career. (almost a third of which I deployed anyway).

I also worked part time as a consultant on piping structural plans and ISO prints and redesigned and built furniture (great way to make money in a military town) as well as a litany of odd jobs. The extra pay wasn't bad (though the extra hours killed me sometimes) but I averaged an extra $1000 a month between the two. When I was deployed and could not make that money, Combat pay offset the loss to a degree.

After I finished my military training school (it two years for my rate) I had saved about 20k. This I gave to a buddy for a down payment on a 3/2 fixer upper home in oak harbor, WA in 2008 (with a VA loan in his name). The home cost 70k. He put down more, but I did the remodel with vacation time so we split the house down the middle. We rented this out and I received about $400 per month.
Approximately four years later, just before I got out of the navy I had saved another 50k (between my pay, side jobs and the home rental).
By this time my ex wife had decided she did not want to be married to a soldier so she had left (divorced DEC 2009) and we rented the home in California and split the rent (which all went into paying the rent). As the home was purchased pre housing market fall, In my first year in the military I was able to get a mortgage adjustment and knock $100k off of the California home (there were a few stipulations). Since I only owned 1/2 of a $315k home which had 2 years of rental history, I was able to qualify for a small VA loan of $35k. So my $55k and the loan went into a condo here in California which cost 80K well after the housing market plummeted in California.
Once I had left the navy, I had one fully rented home which paid for itself (mostly), 1/2 home in Washington which generates $450 a month and one condo which generates $600 a month (roommate).

In reality I get nothing in the way of income as any excess funds go into taxes or repairs. But the point is, If i am able to do that in just six years, you might be well surprised at what someone can do over twenty years (especially since Sub was a higher rank than I and generated more income). Also, you never know if someone were to inherit $ or property from a relative.

Also on a side not, there are many areas of California that are fairly inexpensive. Bakersfield and surrounding areas. Anything inland and south of LA and anything north of Sacramento/Stockton not on the coastline.
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Old 12-24-2014, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,147 posts, read 50,318,661 times
Reputation: 19849
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordyLordy View Post
Sub: just curious - you said that you are retired Navy and have a small pension. How does a (retired) Navy guy end up owning apartments in (expensive) California? Not trying to start anything here and please do not get offended - I just think that people who tell others that it is possible to farm and do things off-grid without money should be held to a higher standard when it comes to disclosing their own "books"
We bought a property that had three homes on it. Two up by the road and one back behind. We bought it as zero-down first-time-home-owners. The two front houses were rented and their projected income was enough to satisfy the bank for the mortgage. We bought it while we were both in college, I was on the GI-Bill and working in a pizza parlor tossing pizza dough, my wife was a waitress in a truck stop. We both attended college full-time. That property cost around $75k. My GI-bill was $550/month, and we both worked full-time for minimum-wage.

Then after college, I re-enlisted, we were transferred to Scotland. Where I found a single building that had 5 apartments along with a home-owner residence. We rented out the apartments to other sailors and lived in it for free.

Then my next duty station was back stateside, to Ct. Where we found a tri-plex. There was still no money-down but they did scalp me for the up-front escrow and points. Again the rental income covered the mortgage.

By the time that I finally approached retirement, we had amassed four Multi-Family-Residences [Ca, Scotland, Ct, Wa].

With each of our MFRs, my salary only went into closing costs, and then later we made a lot of principal-only payments to build equity. We liquidated three properties, refinanced the fourth and used that cash to buy this property and to build this house.



As I have stated many times, I bought this property with cash. I paid for the materials to build this house with cash, no debt. Nothing fancy.

Before moving here, I had no idea that it was possible to start farming without a big wad of cash in fist.
We came here with well under $100k in hand, but now that we are here, we see how so many others are doing it. I am involved with groups that help other prospective farmers, to get into farming [as I have explained to you repeatedly].
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Old 12-25-2014, 08:10 AM
 
1,417 posts, read 1,577,163 times
Reputation: 1458
Sub, Westcoastnavy - thank you both for the details - good to know. My wife and I started out with $120K of debt for her veterinary education, that's a house somewhere, it took us a few years to shake that thing off - feels good to be free...
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Old 12-26-2014, 12:36 PM
 
9,145 posts, read 8,410,527 times
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According to the University Of California agriculture college at Davis, California, farms with less than $100,000 per year gross income are not going to be profitable. They have found that it takes $250,000 in gross income for a small farm to be profitable. Small hobby farms are not that profitable due to low income.

http://californiaagriculture.ucanr.o...d=ca.v053n06p6

A big factor, is the price of land to farm is high enough that just paying the mortgage is more than the income on a small farm. In many parts of the country, you have to irrigate and in many states the cost of water rights may be as high as the value of the land itself in addition to land value.

If you have considerable money (the OP says he does not) to invest, and can buy a farm large enough to produce the product you are growing in sufficient amount to be profitable you can make money in farming some years, and other years the weather, etc., will destroy your crop. You need enough money to be able to get through the bad years. The drought in the west, is putting many farms out of business. Or the environmentalists may sue, and a court orders all water in the area be not be used for farming, to protect the fish, and the farmers lose their crops as has happened to many farmers these last few years. A lot of farmers, find they only make money say every 3 years losing money the other 2, and that is the big farmers. Some farmers are dry land grain farmers, that can only plant a crop every 3rd year. The other two years they leave the land fallow plowing it to help it absorb water and kill out any growing plants that use water. Then on the third year when they can get a crop it rains so much they cannot get into the field to plow and plant, until too late to get a crop that year, and have to wait another year for a crop.

Some will say I don't know what I am talking about. I was a commercial/investment real estate broker from 1972 till I finally retired, and saw many farms and ranches income/expense records. I saw from very small to very large farm records. I do know what was/is going on in farming. I had to get a lot of small farmers out of their problems before they lost their farm. They got into problems as they bought a farm, and tried to make a go of it. When you considered farm prices for a small farm, and the costs for the mortgage, insurance, and all expenses, the farm could not produce enough income to make a profit and lost money they did not have to lose was the reason they were in trouble.
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Old 12-26-2014, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,147 posts, read 50,318,661 times
Reputation: 19849
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtrader View Post
According to the University Of California agriculture college at Davis, California, farms with less than $100,000 per year gross income are not going to be profitable. They have found that it takes $250,000 in gross income for a small farm to be profitable. Small hobby farms are not that profitable due to low income. ...
One of my brothers went to UC-Davis, I went to UC-Fresno. The Central Valley [San Joaquin Valley] is it's own flavor of Agriculture economics.

I do not doubt their findings, given where they are located and the data they had to look at.



Saying "Small hobby farms are not that profitable" is a odd phrase. Hobby is defined by the IRS as an activity that does not show a profit.

An 'activity that does not show a profit', would obviously be 'not that profitable'.
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:12 PM
 
1,417 posts, read 1,577,163 times
Reputation: 1458
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
One of my brothers went to UC-Davis, I went to UC-Fresno. The Central Valley [San Joaquin Valley] is it's own flavor of Agriculture economics.

I do not doubt their findings, given where they are located and the data they had to look at.



Saying "Small hobby farms are not that profitable" is a odd phrase. Hobby is defined by the IRS as an activity that does not show a profit.

An 'activity that does not show a profit', would obviously be 'not that profitable'.
And here I expected that you would say "Profitable? Maybe not. Making a living? You can do it. They are two different things you know..."
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,237 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtrader View Post
According to the University Of California agriculture college at Davis, California, farms with less than $100,000 per year gross income are not going to be profitable. They have found that it takes $250,000 in gross income for a small farm to be profitable. Small hobby farms are not that profitable due to low income.
Forget the term "hobby farm" for the moment as SUB has made that point, but according to the USDA across the us there are 2,109,363 farms. 85% are under that $250K mark. Somehow these people keep hanging on. While I respect the educated people at US Davis, that is a lot of people getting by with under the 250K figure.

Also the USDA, disputes the figures provided by US Davis.

"It is only when farms gross at least $50,000 in value of production that most farms make a profit"

This figure is also supported by the total number of farms Making less than 250K which is 85% of US farms.
While the UC Davis numbers are supported by 15% of US farms.

But also remember, not all large farms (in terms of income) are large in terms of property. I have linked at this point, about a dozen farms that started off fairly small in size (1 or 2 acres) and because of a niche, generate a ton of income.

I am sure there are tons of farms who fail, but some do prevail.

"Although individuals who aspire to be farmers may face significant financial challenges to entry, we found evidence that farming entry rates are on par with those from other industries."

So what is the typical survival rate of a start up farm?
"2007 ARMS Survey analysis of linked Census data showed that 45% of farms and ranches started between 1978 and 1982 survived the first 5-9 years."

The US bureau of labor statistics show that 37% to 54% of small business will survive between 5 to 9 years respectively.

So according to these statistics, the USDA is correct in that start up farms are on par with a typical business for survival.




Sources:
http://ers.usda.gov/media/156049/eib53_1_.pdf
http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publica...Highlights.pdf
http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/156049/eib53_1_.pdf
http://www.vabeginningfarmer.alce.vt...in-farming.pdf
Entrepreneurship and the U.S. Economy
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