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Old 12-01-2012, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Capital Hill
1,602 posts, read 2,760,867 times
Reputation: 842

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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.
Well, in Washington State, they just legalized marijauna. I predict there will be a mad scramble to buy small farms because the next billion dollar crop in this state will be marijuauna, just like when the wine industry first moved in, almost every farm is growing grapes.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:55 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
29,579 posts, read 64,109,969 times
Reputation: 34321
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinylly View Post
I predict there will be a mad scramble to buy small farms because the next billion dollar crop in this state will be marijuauna, just like when the wine industry first moved in, almost every farm is growing grapes.
Sorry; there won't be any billion dollar crops with marijuana.
Being legal the crop value won't be any better than beer hops (similar yield too).

btw... 400 acres might be enough to produce all the marijuana likely to be consumed
in the whole US if it is legal; 800 acres certainly would be enough.
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:23 PM
 
1 posts, read 5,935 times
Reputation: 22
Default Taking up farming.

I disagree with some of the responses to taking up farming.
I did give up the corporate life to become a green grower / truck farmer. I sell about $45,000 worth of plants/produce per year. It is true that you will work harder than you ever did before (in the growing season), and you will need to tolerate extreme temperature, mosquitoes, aches and pains, belligerent customers, and whatever it takes to get the job done. All of the land I use is rented, and the cost is less than $1000 per year, so it is not necessarily true that you will need to make a huge investment on land. The cost of seeds/cuttings and supplies each year is about $2000. So, if you do the math, a profit can be made. I do almost everything alone, but have to get paid some help now and then. Most of the produce/plants I grow is sold at farmers markets, but I also sell about 100 bushels of canning pickles, and in this case, the customers come directly to the land. Otherwise, I only have to deal with the public twice a week. If you do things right, you will sell over $2000 each Saturday at a Farmers Market. The most profitable products in my area of Wisconsin are pickles, both fresh and canned, basil and cilantro in pots, other herbs also sell well. Tomatoes and salsa are great sellers. Cauliflower and broccoli, if you know exactly when to plant it, is a sure seller, also potted perennials such as Rudbeckia, Echinachea, Gaillardia, and other blooming plants in pots sell great, and are quite profitable. I grow about 100 other products, most of which are profitable, and also try new things every year..somes are hits and are "put on the list" for next year, and others are "misses". So, if you've got a good back, are tenacious, manage your expenses well, have a green thumb and are patient and get into a busy farmers market (or two), you will survive.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:27 PM
 
6,872 posts, read 6,751,318 times
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Hey Steve Gruenke,

Who makes up your customers: small groceries, restaurants, large supermarkets, or do you have some stand somewhere?
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Where they serve real ale.
7,248 posts, read 6,775,118 times
Reputation: 3497
Wineries. You want profit per acre then go with wine grapes provided you're in a suitable area. It also helps that many small wineries also crush, ferment, and bottle as well as directly market to consumers themselves as this helps them move up the value chain making additional profits which would other wise be lost to outside processors. Another way small scale farmers can increase profits is to market their produce themselves at farmer's markets or to become a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation which sells and delivers produce directly to consumers doors after they've signed up for a monthly allotment. This allows the growers to also move up the value chain getting money which would have gone to distributors and wholesalers.

When you're small then you have to do anything you can to move up the value chain so that you can capture a larger share of what little profit there is.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:12 AM
 
410 posts, read 505,122 times
Reputation: 558
find or create a niche market for yourself and don't try to compete with the big guys.
i think goat meat is going to become a huge market where ever you have proximity to big cities which have latin or south americans, middle eastern and indians and island peoples, all cultures who eat goat often.
probably not as much of a market for organic, humanely raised, but read up on which population prefers their goat older, younger, neutered or not, etc.
goats need good fencing, but as another poster mentioned happy goats with land to browse and munch are not usually the escape artists bored and/or hungry goats can be.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
9,315 posts, read 8,052,758 times
Reputation: 16165
I too am looking into some kind of farming on a small scale. I think picking the right crop/crops will be key, location, soil, weather etc critical. I think it will take a lot of research, but it is very doable if you are willing to work hard. However, it might be that you have to work a job and farm. I've known people that did that in Ill. Corn doesn't require much work. Preparation and planting in spring, and pretty much leave it grow until fall harvest. There were quite a few men that farmed and had full time factory jobs. The job might be necessary if you can't generate the needed cash flow right away. Land is expensive in some places.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,146 posts, read 50,309,418 times
Reputation: 19849
This spring our regional Organic Certifying network lists over 100 farms who are looking for apprentices.

Many of them offer room/board, you are involved with every aspect of farming including marketing, and you receive a stipend.

Apprentice a couple years, maybe become a Farm Manager, and there are folks who are ready to help you to get onto your own farm land.



Then as another idea, I have a friend who starts a new farm, gets it to supporting itself, then he brings in apprentices. As years go by, he tries to form a group of apprentices who like one another and work well together. Then he convinces the group to form a partnership, and as a partnership to buy the farm. Then he uses that cash to buy his next farm, where he does it all over again.



Avoid drought-prone regions. Drought kills farming. Agribusiness is huge in drought-prone regions. With Federal subsidies, insurance and future's markets corporations seem to be able to keep afloat. But without big bucks, Federal welfare, insurance and brokers all being in the mix, it is really hard to stay on top when you face droughts over and over.

Stay low over-head.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:53 AM
 
8 posts, read 33,410 times
Reputation: 17
Smile Profitable types of small scale farming

Hi Submariner,

I have been helping a couple of start-up farmers. One here in Colorado, and one in Tennessee.

Since the Colorado farm is at 9,000 feet of elevation, a Greenhouse is a must for profitable growth. Unless, they decide to grow fodder. Fodder is sprouted seeds of barley, alfalfa, etc.

The Tennessee farm will be conventional, but with a focus on being sustainable with water conservation and management using either aquaponics/hydroponics and growing using the environment as a guide.

I too am a submariner, do not miss it too much, but I did love the training and Team that we became as a result of the duty of living in a sunken ship.

I hope that you have a great season! If you want to contact me direct, please do! I was no an SSBN, Polaris class.

Have a great day! chris

hisfarm.org
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,146 posts, read 50,309,418 times
Reputation: 19849
Quote:
Originally Posted by notacad View Post
Hi Submariner,

I have been helping a couple of start-up farmers. One here in Colorado, and one in Tennessee.

Since the Colorado farm is at 9,000 feet of elevation, a Greenhouse is a must for profitable growth. Unless, they decide to grow fodder. Fodder is sprouted seeds of barley, alfalfa, etc.

The Tennessee farm will be conventional, but with a focus on being sustainable with water conservation and management using either aquaponics/hydroponics and growing using the environment as a guide.

I too am a submariner, do not miss it too much, but I did love the training and Team that we became as a result of the duty of living in a sunken ship.

I hope that you have a great season! If you want to contact me direct, please do! I was no an SSBN, Polaris class.

Have a great day! chris

hisfarm.org
This is a much better lifestyle, as compared to living underwater 7 months of each year.



ET1[SS] - USN retired

SSBN 654 [b]
AS-33
SSBN 633 [g]
SSBN 732 [b]
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