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Old 08-09-2011, 03:01 PM
 
220 posts, read 496,559 times
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Well, don't give up on it completely, Carlingtonian! My point was just that you have to go into farming (or anything, for that matter) with your eyes wide open. Lots of people now idealize farming because their lives are so distant from the working reality of farm life.

If you're really serious about this, look into apprenticeship/internship programs. I myself would love to know more about the programs in Forest Beekeeper's state, even though I'll never live there. Or on your own go out and find a farmer - or farming cooperative - who does what you want to do and spend time (I mean several years) working for him/her/them on your time off from work. And even in your urban area there should be a county extension office somewhere nearby - they have TONS of information available at no cost or low cost.

There are farming vacations, too - I think there's one where people volunteer to help farmers who are temporarily incapacitated. Can't remember where I read about it but I think it was North Dakota related - put a question on the ND forum on CD and see what they know about it. Or just put farming vacation into a search engine and see what you find. Shoot, if you live near DC, volunteer for FarmAid or a similar organization with headquarters there! There's lots you could do if you just put your mind to it.

If you're willing to work very hard preparing to farm then you should be able to work very hard farming.
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:20 PM
 
Location: 112 Ocean Avenue
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:33 PM
 
373 posts, read 312,286 times
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Default You could eat really well and pay little in Real Estate Taxes

You could eat really well and pay little in Real Estate Taxes

I used to help a local farmer growing up. It was an old time set up. Oganic, because they rotated the crops and spread manure from the barn.

It was run largely like in the horse days, but the Tractor was cheaper and easier to take care off. But some of the fields were no longer planted because horses knew enough not to let the equipment they were pulling turn over on a steep hill.

An also they grew everything, that is often unusual many farms are now mono crop factories. Every kind of animal and plant. I don't remember them buying much of anything at the store. Many of the chickens ran loose. And did they ever taste good.

They had a couple of tractors, the favorite was a 1921 John Deere that was in use into the 1990's and never did wear out a collector bought it.
They got it for free from a nieghbor who drove an over the road truck to get an income. The other was a Ford Tractor that was good for moving dirt.

I am trying to get a setup like this now. There are some more modern ideas. They only thing they did not have was fish. And the are alot of interesting ideas out there. BTY alot of the fish and other seafood raised in the far east has kinds of feed you don't want to know about to make them grow large fast. I wonder if there could be a market for clean fish?
Tilapias come to mind. If my old friends had only known these fish eat algae and make fertilizer.

There were goats, sheep, deer, cattle, chickens, turkeys,wild breeds of pigs. A useless donkey that would take people to the creek and dump them in if anyone tried to ride her. There was also enough land for wheat and oats in addition to corn. Some fields would be in clover.

Many of the animals did need to be feed and watered twice a day, and those that did really hollored when it was about that time. Only some fo the cattle really took care of themselves most of the time, thanks to a creek. Even they needed to be feed grain and hay during some times.

As far as the weed stuff, I don't care what other people do, But would be seriously afraid of being caught and locked up.

I
It sure would be great to have some of the raw milk, kicking back with "viscious criminals and quafing large mugs of the stuff" The animal has to be milked everyday with no days off like at a job..
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,872 posts, read 28,669,930 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lily0fthevalley View Post
... If you're really serious about this, look into apprenticeship/internship programs. I myself would love to know more about the programs in Forest Beekeeper's state, even though I'll never live there.
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association > Programs > Farm Apprenticeships

Briefly they have 80+ participating farms in the formal 'apprenticeship' programs. Many more farms have apprentices informally. I have even been approached by college students wanting to apprentice on my land, and I am extremely small [I sell less than $2,000/year in produce].

Journeypersons



Quote:
... Or on your own go out and find a farmer - or farming cooperative - who does what you want to do and spend time (I mean several years) working for him/her/them on your time off from work.
That is basically how the informal apprenticeships work. People who want to get into farming but who know nothing about it, approach a farmer [often at a Farmer's Market] and ask.

I know one guy [Tom] who has apprentices like that, those who stay with him for a year become partners in the farm. He puts the deed into an LLC, writes up a contract which makes him the 'farm manager', 50% of the profit goes into a separate pool, and everyone gets paid equal shares of the remainder. Then after 4 or 5 years [I forget which] he backs out and uses that separate pool to purchase a new farm. Where he breaks soil and starts out again.

Right now Tom is on his third such farm.



Quote:
... And even in your urban area there should be a county extension office somewhere nearby - they have TONS of information available at no cost or low cost.

There are farming vacations, too - I think there's one where people volunteer to help farmers who are temporarily incapacitated. Can't remember where I read about it but I think it was North Dakota related - put a question on the ND forum on CD and see what they know about it. Or just put farming vacation into a search engine and see what you find. Shoot, if you live near DC, volunteer for FarmAid or a similar organization with headquarters there! There's lots you could do if you just put your mind to it.

If you're willing to work very hard preparing to farm then you should be able to work very hard farming.
Good ideas!

There are also elderly farmers, who seriously want their farms to continue.

The guy I buy oats from is like that. If someone volunteered to apprentice with him, ....

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Old 08-09-2011, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Washington State
130 posts, read 187,448 times
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The thing I see more and more demand for is grass-fed beef and local meats. If you can grow your own grass for the beef you'd have a good set-up.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
33,797 posts, read 29,215,017 times
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The OP asked what a profitable crop was. Marijuana or Opium poppies on Federal land are about a profitable as possible. Very risky and definitely illegal, even more than moonshine, but profitable.

Legal crops that make money are very specific to the location. In southern New Hampshire fruit orchards still do fairly well as do vineyards and seasonal vegetables. I buy most of my vegetables locally as well a fruit in season.

There is a burger shop in downtown Boston that sells burgers made from local beef with local potatoes for the fries. Good burgers too.
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in America
4,278 posts, read 3,329,198 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW View Post
The OP asked what a profitable crop was. Marijuana or Opium poppies on Federal land are about a profitable as possible. Very risky and definitely illegal, even more than moonshine, but profitable.
Moonshine is actually made legally and sold legally in many Southern states. As long as you're registered with the Feds and pay the taxes, it's legal. It'll burn a hole in you too!
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Taxmanistan
4,285 posts, read 4,066,765 times
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Thanks for the additional replies. TabbyCat and Forest Beekeeper, that's useful info. Maybe I'll look into that someday.

I don't think moonshining is for me, though!
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 5,751,495 times
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Just a little note -The free-range chicken idea always sounds GREAT, ooh, birds wandering about, eating naturally (bugs and the occasional garden tomato) healthy and strong...

The reality is somewhat different. Wild dogs are the worry close in to the 'burbs, in packs they can break down a fence and slaughter everything overnight; further out (and BTW not always too much further out!) one also has to deal with snakes, skunks, coyotes, weasels, badgers, hawks (for the babies), even the occasional mountain lion. Almost anything that walks or slithers or flies loves chicken. Plus - and some free-rangers won't tell you this - you never know where Mama Hen is going to drop an egg, or when. She might build a nest up in the rafters of your garage (unless they have their wings trimmed, they DO fly) or drop her eggs on top of the rain barrel, or in the dog's dish, or in a tire laying in the garden. When you (eventually) find them, you don't know how long they've been there, or how old they are, or worse - how the intense sunlight, icy rain, or any weather changes have affected them. Our chickens are in a coop and have a yard - that is fenced not only all the way around with deepset 4X4 braces, but six inches deep (keeps out diggers) and over the entire top (keeps out bombing missions). We check them 3 times a day for eggs, to make sure thay have clean water, etc. We also have some in a moveable 'chicken tractor' that we drag around and station at different points in the garden and yard. But they are always protected and never allowed to range. I count on those eggs (and the chicken for the freezer) too much to be wiped out by other critters.

If you REALLY want to do this, you can learn some from books, from talking to people or working with people who do it for a living. But you really, REALLY have to WANT to do this.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Poultry hatched in an electric incubator and brooded in an electric brooder; have never been taught how to be mothers [lets call them foster-poultry]. Once they grow to maturity and begin laying eggs, they may, or may not have any instincts about brooding. Often with many breeds any brooding instinct has been bred out of them by our modern poultry industry.

They grow up without parental guidance and they commonly turn to pecking on each other. A weaker chicken may be stripped of feathers and killed in an hour, by such chickens. I have observed this behavior. 12-week old chicks are yet too young to be laying, but yet you can not mix in with them 1-week old chicks, the young chicks will be killed.

Poultry brooded and raised by a hen, do not do exhibit this behavior.

'Foster-poultry' [hens raised in a group-home setting without parental guidance] when they do reach the age of laying will often eat their own eggs. Sometimes they may have some slight level of mothering instinct in them, which may cause them to set for a week, until they get board of setting, at which time they will eat their own eggs.

Hens who were raised by a mother hen, will themselves automatically tend to be good mother hens.


Similar behaviors are seen in a yard when predators are nearby. Foster-poultry are seemingly unaware of predators; they have no 'instinct' to be watchful, they have no idea of where to run, and they have no 'instinct' to fight a predator.

Hens raised by a mother hen and free-ranged are different. They are watchful of predators, they will immediately go up to roost away from predator reach, and some of them may decide to fight.

Watch a turkey fight off a fox, it happens.
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