U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Rural and Small Town Living
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 01-02-2015, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,387 times
Reputation: 217

Advertisements

LordyLordy, here is another small farm example. This one has tons of financials as well as advise.
Building a Profitable Small Farm
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-02-2015, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,387 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhult View Post
I go back five generations of Native Californians. These darn people kept moving here from the east coast, mid west and from all over the world. My area changed from mostly rural and small laid-back beach communities to some damn playground for elitist snobs who migrated from all over this country.
Ive only been in my current location for about 13 years (almost 6 of those were in the military) and the sheer number of people from when I started here till now has probably doubled.
We had a huge field behind us, now its track homes as is the field in front of us. It seems every year the holiday traffic gets worse and the streets and sidewalks more crowded. I couldn't even imagine what it must be like for you after 30 years!!!

Last edited by Westcoastnavy; 01-02-2015 at 12:51 PM.. Reason: format
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-02-2015, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,789 posts, read 11,278,214 times
Reputation: 19777
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordyLordy View Post
...Share-cropping? Sounds like feudalism to me. I wonder what the percentage of people is who "shake off" their feudal overlord and actually end up owning a farm? I would bet that most of them are free labor for a few years until they move on to some other minimum wage "career".
I like using sharecroppers. I have one who works my hay. He provides the equipment and deals with the headaches. All I provide is the land and water.

I think you have a picture of it that's both old-fashioned and romantic. They're business people; many earn a good living. Additionally, many of them own land as well as sharecrop other land for absentee or gentleman farmers. They do have health insurance.

A couple of centuries ago an ambitious man like you would have converted malarial swamps to cotton working side by side with your heavily mortgaged slaves. If you survived, a few years later you would have been the master riding a horse with whip and gun handy. Sometimes you'd spend a day.. or a week in bed shaking when your malaria returned.

Many slaves died in the swamps; even more slave owners did. However, those men and women built their private kingdoms and their heirs became Southern nobility.

There are programs to help get folks into farming. Here's an example of a place in Vermont. It's cheap in comparison to California...or is it really? They're not looking for people whose only experience is shovelling manure for two years; they want real farmers or folks with money. Take a look at the requirements. Look at what you get. Notice the taxes.

A couple who wished to return to the land could have a good life; home spinning and weaving, organic produce, artisanal cheese, gourmet maple syrup shipped only in glass, etc. It might even return a profit.

LaFreniere Farm - Vermont Land Trust
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-02-2015, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,151 posts, read 50,332,412 times
Reputation: 19856
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westcoastnavy View Post
LordyLordy, here is another small farm example. This one has tons of financials as well as advise.
Building a Profitable Small Farm
I find it interesting that they started back when there were no internships.

When people tried to discourage him, he said, “Just get out of my way, because this is what I’m doing.” and “I didn’t know that farmers didn’t make money at farming,”.

Quote:
... Key factors to profitable farming, include inexpensive startup (paying as you go); good business management; soil improvement; good but simple record keeping; season extension; and paying attention to marketing, business and growing.
They were able to accomplish our goals and become profitable in 4 years.

He "worked and saved $30,000. He used $10,000 of that as a down payment on his farmland and kept $20,000 in investments.... About $10,000 went toward the house, ... so they were able to build without a mortgage."

Note I built our house and we have not needed a mortgage either.

They started growing on 1 acre.

Quote:
“No matter what the size of a farm, the challenge is for the farmer to hold onto as much of the money that the farm generates as possible. A smaller farm has some advantages of being able to utilize equipment that requires a minimal capital outlay and low maintenance costs. The overhead is less and easily controlled. Other advantages of smaller farms are less dependency on labor; both finding and managing employees are challenges. It is known that when the farmer is working with his employees, then they are much more efficient and therefore bring more profit to the farm. The larger the farm, the more the farmer becomes a ‘manager of people’ rather than a ‘dirt farmer.’ Simple and effective systems can be utilized, and you can grow the business with your abilities rather than being limited by your capital.”
They own 60 acres and rent 120-acres.
They 6 acres for vegetable production,
1/2 acre for large fruits,
1⁄2 acre for small fruits,
4 acres in cover crops for rotation.

Labor is their biggest expense and knowing which crops take longest to harvest and prepare for market helps them decide where to spend money on equipment, and where to try different techniques.

Quote:
... “In summary, inexpensive startup, good business management techniques, good record keeping, soil management, season extension, winter growing and creative marketing have helped us to make a living on small acreage,” wrote the Arnolds. “Other factors for our success are having personal goals and a Mission Statement to help us achieve the quality of life that we want for our family. There are many other aspects that are key issues in managing a profitable farm, such as: trialing varieties; knowing insect and disease life cycles; managing money and debt; operating a time-efficient irrigation system; and managing labor. Farming with all its challenges and hard work gives us the lifestyle we thoroughly love and find rewarding.”
And they donate 3 to 5 tons of gleaned produce to food pantries annually.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-02-2015, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,387 times
Reputation: 217
I have linked I dont know 20 of these, but it seems hardly anyone reads them. But submariner nailed it in one.
Always knew yall Bubbleheads were smart!!!! XD
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-02-2015, 03:27 PM
 
10,849 posts, read 12,797,228 times
Reputation: 15529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
Hi, everyone. I'm a nearly-middle-aged suburban guy with a boring office job. (Not that I'm complaining.) I'm happy to be employed, but the idea of living on and operating a small farm really appeals to me. I love working outdoors, enjoy physical labor, am not averse to getting very dirty, and I don't run screaming like a little girl at the sight of blood or animal poo.

What's the most profitable type of farming? I've heard that organic farming (veggies and/or meat) makes a good living. (An example would be Polyface Farms in Virginia, profiled in Food Inc.). I also like the idea of a vineyard. (Go ahead, roll your eyes. I know it sounds kinda ridiculous. Especially for a guy whose favorite wine is Three Buck Chuck.) I like the idea of being outside a lot, working really hard for a few hours, then not at all. And not having a boss sounds pretty good too!

Is this a viable idea? And how would one go about it, other than the obvious steps of buying land and equipment/animals? Register with USDA?

It's funny: My 92-year-old godfather couldn't wait to get away from the farm in Alvarado, Texas when he was a boy. Now here I am dreaming of that life wistfully.

Thanks for any thoughts or advice.

Is this a quit your day job fantasy or part time deal?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-02-2015, 04:31 PM
 
1,417 posts, read 1,577,507 times
Reputation: 1458
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
Note I built our house and we have not needed a mortgage either.
Did this house get built overnight? Were the materials free? Where did you live in the meantime? Did you build at the same time and run a profitable farm business that was paying for the house being built or did you finance this with something else (like external income, pension, more external income?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
They started growing on 1 acre.
Whet were they growing? Gold coins?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
They own 60 acres and rent 120-acres.
They 6 acres for vegetable production,
1/2 acre for large fruits,
1⁄2 acre for small fruits,
4 acres in cover crops for rotation.
I know of a successful flower grower here - they bought back when the place wasn't popular and land was dirt cheap. Back then the place was a tiny speck on the map 40 miles from a small town. Today it is a popular town 40 miles from an exploding city full of professionals. Come today and try getting into that business here - property taxes, land prices etc. will eat you alive and no amount of apprenticeships would save you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
Labor is their biggest expense and knowing which crops take longest to harvest and prepare for market helps them decide where to spend money on equipment, and where to try different techniques.
Yeah 'cause we all know that the land's response to a different growing technique is as quick as tomorrow. Usually you change something, it takes quite a while to see the response and assess the success. Labor is cheap in the farm world. What is expensive is the land, insurance, transport, marketing etc. Let's not forget that if someone gets sick from your produce... oh, well, there must be a pro bono lawyer for that, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
And they donate 3 to 5 tons of gleaned produce to food pantries annually.
What can I say? Kumbaya?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-02-2015, 06:24 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,151 posts, read 50,332,412 times
Reputation: 19856
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordyLordy View Post
Did this house get built overnight? Were the materials free? Where did you live in the meantime? Did you build at the same time and run a profitable farm business that was paying for the house being built or did you finance this with something else (like external income, pension, more external income?).
I do not see why you wish to be so aggressive about all of this.

I have told you how much nest-egg we had saved up. I bought the land, I moved here in our motorhome. I lived in the motorhome as I built the house.

Most of the house was a kit-home. We paid cash for it.

I am on pension, I bring in a very good income as compared to most household in this town. My pension is roughly equal to Minimum-Wage, as I have told you before.

I built the house, we moved into it. The following year we began planting.



Quote:
... Come today and try getting into that business here - property taxes, land prices etc. will eat you alive and no amount of apprenticeships would save you.
Today property taxes are a lot higher than they were decades ago.

We pay around $157 for our 150 acres with river frontage, and another $500-something for our 2400 sq ft house.

Property taxes will wreck you if you are not careful.



Quote:
... Labor is cheap in the farm world. What is expensive is the land, insurance, transport, marketing etc.
That is not real-world.

Labor is by far the most expensive component.

I have known many fellow farmers around here, who have tried to expand by hiring workers. In each case, I am aware of, that attempt at expansion was shaky.

One person working can support him/her-self on a 5 acre farm. A couple can do it okay, and even support children. Groups of partners do it routinely, I see many examples around here. I know partners who can operate as large as 20 acre setups.

But when they bite off more than they can chew. When they need to bring in hired help to work it all, that is when it gets tricky.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-02-2015, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Martinez, ca
297 posts, read 287,387 times
Reputation: 217
Submariner, it doesn't matter. Even if you gave him a dollar by dollar break down and prove your point, he will claim that your an exception to the rule, or that because it was numerous years ago it was possible then but not now.

He sticks to his opinions no matter what, even though numerous statistics and documents claim an opposing view. No point in trying to reason with that. Everyone else can see the numerous examples and even Google things themselves. He is just convinced that his world is impossibly harder than anyone else.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-02-2015, 10:10 PM
 
1,417 posts, read 1,577,507 times
Reputation: 1458
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
I do not see why you wish to be so aggressive about all of this.
I don't feel like I am. It's just that you keep repeating the same apprenticeship, no need for money in the bank, support network mantra.

I am sure it works for someone. I am just not sure it works in general. I also fear that quite a large percentage of apprentices never ends up owning a farm but they do end up being cheap slave labor for someone who sold them a dream...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
I have told you how much nest-egg we had saved up. I bought the land, I moved here in our motorhome. I lived in the motorhome as I built the house.
Did you run a farm while building a home too? Or being a kit home it took a month to build? (No idea here just asking).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
I am on pension, I bring in a very good income as compared to most household in this town. My pension is roughly equal to Minimum-Wage, as I have told you before.
So here is the situation: you came in with money, with something to live ON and IN, you built a home on top of that and you have a steady source of outside income.

I have been saying this all along yet someone here has been telling me that there is no need for any of it.

I am also guessing that you have VA for medical coverage, no?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
I built the house, we moved into it. The following year we began planting.
So you lived on a place you paid for by coming in with money and you built first and you paid all living expenses from savings and outside income while building your house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
Property taxes will wreck you if you are not careful.
Well, yeah, that;s my point - come here and farm to feed the bustling city. With no bank account, no job in town, no medical insurance and no land to begin with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
Labor is by far the most expensive component.

I have known many fellow farmers around here, who have tried to expand by hiring workers. In each case, I am aware of, that attempt at expansion was shaky.
Sorry, but not true. Maybe labor is more expensive where land is $300/acre but not where land is $15-20K/acre.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Rural and Small Town Living
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:06 AM.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top