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Old 11-28-2009, 09:20 AM
 
256 posts, read 175,158 times
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I guess for me there is a difference between cautioning and insulting, and I am going with my gut on this one too. Sorry to have taken up time. Perhaps I supplied some holiday amusement, for those who enjoy such diversions.
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:28 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,686,634 times
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I took your posting about that example of that guy in Saskatchewan --insulting-- to people who actually have raised livestock in winter climates.
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,549 posts, read 55,485,543 times
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I'm a bit puzzled at the intent of the questions. You seem to know the basics of farming, you are entertaining the idea of doing so in Vermont, and although at the outset you say that you hope to break even or make a small profit, when pressed you suggest that you know it won't and that is OK.

When someone has a solid idea of requirements, it can be easier to formulate an intelligent response. When the ground keeps shifting, that is impossible, and it makes people less likely to take interest or respond.

My cousin owns and runs one of the very few family farms remaining in Vermont. The stats on farms in the state are nothing short of frightening, and a lot of their income has to come from off-farm second jobs. As others have said, running a VIABLE operation in the state is a fantasy. I note that you "would never consider such a venture if we didn't have enough money to buy a good farm with relatively flat land." I hate to break it to you, but whatever relatively flat decent farmland is left in Vermont, other than perhaps the Islands, is unavailable or priced way out of reach, or away from any ammenities. Vermont is, with the exception of the fairly developed Champlain Valley, HILLS and MOUNTAINS.

As for the fear that other Californians are going to retire to Oregon, uhhhh, guess where else they retire? Vermonters bemoan the influx.

As for retiring with a farm lifestyle and keeping animals? The only farmers I've even seen who were "retired" and had that were living with a son or hired hand who was doing the heavy work. You will find that at your ages strength and endurance drops quickly, and the difference for most folks between age 55 and 75 is major. At best, I see such your dream working for about ten years.

I could write more, but that covers a few of the more major points.
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Old 11-28-2009, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,148 posts, read 50,323,277 times
Reputation: 19856
I grew-up on a farm near Modesto Ca. I later had a goat dairy in Lake County Ca, and my siblings are still in Agri-business in Ca. So I am somewhat familiar with the process.



I do not know much about Vt. I retired and moved to Maine.

Yes the growing season is 'shorter' here, at this latitude, like it is in PNW. Folks still farm though.

I have been a vendor at a local Organic Farmer's Market, so I have rubbed elbows with a lot of folks here who earn their income entirely on 'farming' [or large-scale gardening if anyone finds that less insulting]. Some folks do get excited and upset when a professional greenhouse gardener calls himself a 'farmer', such is life.

New England does have a lot of rural land, with a very low tax-base.

My land is forested, I am managing my Treegrowth to be more and more maple trees, to increase our syrup production. We raise goats and sheep in the forest. We have greenhouses and raised-beds for our veggies, chicken coops, hog pens, ...

You can do a lot here without the land being flat and open for cultivation. Flat open cultivated land has higher taxes. We have been paying $1.05/acre for our taxes. 150 acres can cost as much as $160 or so each year in taxes. So you see folks can live here and 'farm' without a real high overhead.

I am on pension. So I do not need our farm to provide income for us to survive.

This state does have an income tax. Our income is below the minimum for paying taxes [once you add the Deductions and Exemptions up].

Folks do whine a lot about Maine's taxes being 'high'. However our experience has been otherwise. In our life long travels we have never lived anywhere that has had such low taxes, nor such a low cost-of-living; until we came to Maine.

I look around and I see neighbors who have minimum-wage jobs, and who are raising children. They can support a family on a minimum-wage job. Few places in America can you do that. Which is largely why we moved to Maine, when I got my pension. It has had a depressed local economy for many decades. This current nation-wide recession has not effected Maine much, since Maine was already like this.



I read the OP; and I see no problem with it.

I did retire and move to a rural area to begin farming.

I see the OP as being completely 'do-able', because I am doing it.

Folks do it. It happens.

Have fun!
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Old 11-28-2009, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,148 posts, read 50,323,277 times
Reputation: 19856
Ooops, I forgot.

Land prices. We bought two parcels of land here, one of them is 105 acres which we got for $300/acre. The second is a much more expensive piece of land. It is riverfrontage, 1/4 mile of riverfrontage, and it is a smaller piece of land, only 42 acres. We paid $900/acre for it.

You can see pictures if you look in my profile here on CD.



If anyone wishes to farm here, they will require an outside source of income. Just like farming in California. Here you don't need much more than minimum-wage though. Whereas in other areas where we have lived, a family would be very hard pressed to survive on that level of income.

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Old 11-28-2009, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,436,406 times
Reputation: 6832
I don't think you're getting much practical advice here. I'm not a farmer but have started my own businesses. Here's how I would approach it:

1. Talk to people around there who are already doing what you want to do. Start establishing a network of SMEs who will be able to help you later on. You could even agree to help them with your physical labor or other things in exchange for their knowledge.
2. Chances are there's a state stock grower's association there that has events you can attend and may even offer seminars on various aspects of what you want to do. Often at their events they will have vendors selling equipment and supplies you'll be needing and who will be willing to provide helpful information in exchange for the possibility you'll become a customer.
3. Consider purchasing an existing operation. There are always folks looking to retire and sell their farms. They may even agree to stay on for a while and show you the ropes.
4. Make friends with the county agricultural extension agent who can give you lots of advice based on working with growers in that area over a number of years.
5. Check out the UVM agriculture program to see if they have classes you can take or if there are other resources they can provide, such as interns who would be willing to help you at no or low cost in exchange for gaining experience on a working farm.
6. Talk to some local bankers there who specialize in farm credit. They may be guide you in developing a business plan with pro-forma profit and loss statements that will aid in getting financing to pay for those things you're not able to with your initial capital investment.
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Old 11-28-2009, 12:38 PM
 
5,893 posts, read 13,520,984 times
Reputation: 9508
You might place your post on the Vermont C-D forum. Son lives in VT and we are in upstate NY (25 miles from VT border). NY state has some beautiful farmland also. Sorry the OPs were a bit rude. Good luck.
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Old 11-28-2009, 07:04 PM
 
Location: The Woods
17,096 posts, read 22,613,580 times
Reputation: 9375
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
I note that you "would never consider such a venture if we didn't have enough money to buy a good farm with relatively flat land." I hate to break it to you, but whatever relatively flat decent farmland is left in Vermont, other than perhaps the Islands, is unavailable or priced way out of reach, or away from any ammenities. Vermont is, with the exception of the fairly developed Champlain Valley, HILLS and MOUNTAINS.
Yep. That's what lead to the term "flatlander" for outsiders.
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Old 11-28-2009, 07:06 PM
 
Location: The Woods
17,096 posts, read 22,613,580 times
Reputation: 9375
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellwood View Post
You might place your post on the Vermont C-D forum. Son lives in VT and we are in upstate NY (25 miles from VT border). NY state has some beautiful farmland also. Sorry the OPs were a bit rude. Good luck.
Wasn't a drop of rudeness in my first post on this thread. Just wanted to be sure the OP knows some of the harsh realities about Vermont...
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,148 posts, read 50,323,277 times
Reputation: 19856
Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
Wasn't a drop of rudeness in my first post on this thread. Just wanted to be sure the OP knows some of the harsh realities about Vermont...
I am glad that I did not decide to retire to Vermont.
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