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Posted: 1/19/2013 5:25:48 PM EDT
Ok first of all , I have been drinking . That being said if I say something retarded or don't make sense just ask me to clarify. I am a veteran and a college student currently (and not enjoying it). I despise the big city life and do not want anything to do with it. Is it even possible anymore in today's society for me to just farm for my own needs? That is a dream of mine to be able to farm for what I need for myself (no dependents). I assume I would need to do a lot more than just for myself however if I wanted to turn a profit. Is this something I should steer clear from? I assume anyone who goes this route must have various other side jobs they do to supplement their farming work. Any input on this would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully I didn't come off as newbtastic.
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 5:47:30 PM EDT
There is a saying the quickest way to make a million dollars in farming is to start with 2 million dollars. Subsistence farming can be a difficult way to go depending on your lifestyle wants and family needs. Depending on your location getting into the organic produce/meats can be a money maker. Like anything the startup costs are what will get you, good land and equipment don't come cheap. No matter how you look at it farming is a lot of work and the learning curve is steep if you don't have any experiance.
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 6:13:51 PM EDT
You need land (obviously) which is hard to come by. Subsistance farming for one is not that hard. Especially with the use of homemade greenhouse tech. But becoming a farmer is something you almost have to be born into. Land is expensive. If you REALLY want to farm you can rent land and buy a tractor. But the up front costs are pretty steep. I grew up in rural ohio and farming is an awesome way of life, something I would have liked to aspire to but thats not how things shook out.
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 6:25:12 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Morphyne:
You need land (obviously) which is hard to come by. Subsistance farming for one is not that hard. Especially with the use of homemade greenhouse tech. But becoming a farmer is something you almost have to be born into. Land is expensive. If you REALLY want to farm you can rent land and buy a tractor. But the up front costs are pretty steep. I grew up in rural ohio and farming is an awesome way of life, something I would have liked to aspire to but thats not how things shook out.


There's basically no way an average Joe (not super rich) from the city can go out and purchase all the necessary equipment and expect to not be broke for the rest of your life.

Some food for thought:

My Dad's farm grosses $600,000 to $700,000 per year yet only nets around $80,000.
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 6:48:37 PM EDT
I am not a farmer, but there are farms on my street. Many of the farms are hobby farms. Yanno the type..... man has a job in town and a few cows and an old tractor at his farm, but that farm isnt how he makes his money, but he gets a few tax breaks because he has a farm.

There is one 400 acre parcel that is leased by a local Farmer/Family and they have a real store and it is in a nice suburb that rich people shop at to buy their fresh produce and Christmas trees and flowers. They are making money.... lots of it.

The second scenario seems to be they way to do it.
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 7:04:32 PM EDT
Well that question is a mouth full. I grew up farming and still do. I would advise you to try and contact some farmers in your area and explain that you are thinking about farming. After they quit laughing or telling you how crazy you are ask some questions about their operation. (Do some homework) Another resource would be a local Cooperative Extension or the county Farm Bureau. Lastly, there are quite a few people here on ARF com doing just what you want to varying degrees. Read some of their threads in the Homestead, Farm and Garden and feel free to ask questions. Good-luck with your quest for it is not for the weak at heart.
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 8:05:47 PM EDT
sure you can farm enough for your personal use. the thing is, do you know how to store what you grow so you have it during the winter and spring when you dont have anything growing? now, that being said, if you had a large enough plot of land with your house you can have a spring/summer/fall garden and also build a green house so you can have a winter crop as well and also grow sprouts so you have an early crop in the spring. you being in SC how cold does it get in the winter where you are? my aunt and uncle farm a garden large enough to provide them with about 75-80% of what they eat, plant wise. they also raise chickens for food and use to raise hogs and cattle for meat as well. they are older now and have gotten out of the cattle and hog business but if you have the land for them as well you can sustain yourself pretty well IF you know what you are doing.
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 9:17:54 PM EDT
I work a full time day job at a tech company to pay for my ranch.

If I didn't go to work all day, and spent that time ranching/gardening, I could make a meager living, but I wouldn't be paying a mortgage with it.

Link Posted: 1/20/2013 2:08:08 AM EDT
I'm 100% with you on the "despise city life" thing.

Getting into farming doesn't have to be like jumping off a cliff. You can still find 10-20 acre rural properties, sometimes for about what you'd pay for an average house in a more suburban area (especially if the house is a "fixer-upper" and you're not afraid of doing some of the rehab work yourself). Put in a small garden at first, and plant a bunch of fruit trees as soon as you move in. Expand out as your skills grow and you figure out how to work more "farm" stuff into your schedule. As mylt1 said, learn food preparation techniques - you can't grow much during the winter!

Don't feel like you have to become self-sufficient in the first few years; you almost certainly won't. Early in the game, plant some perennials that take while to become established, but will continue to produce year after year once they do (asparagus, rhubarb, berry bushes...). For livestock, start out with something easy... chickens are a wonderful self-reliance/survival resource. A few rabbits, some turkeys - all are fairly easy to raise and bring a permanent, renewable source of protein to the table. Once you figure out that including livestock in your lifestyle means you have to be ready to feed and water every single day, rain or shine, in sickness or in health, you can think about adding in a couple of hogs or a few beef steer. It's also gonna get damned hard to take vacations.

Keep good records on seed cost, animal feed, construction materials for animal housing and whatnot. Don't fool yourself into thinking you're doing it cheaper than you really are. There are ways to make some money to at least defray some of the costs - I was shocked to see locally-produced honey bringing $17/pint recently - but you're not going to get rich at it.

Even if, for the first few years, you're only producing 10% of your needs, that's still better than a whole lot of folks. But above all else, it's the lifestyle. When I see my kids hunting for that one special rock in the creek, or marveling at how quickly a wet, slimy new-hatched chick turns into a little ball of fluff, I realize I'd probably still be doing this even if I had to pay for the privilege.

Welcome to the country!

Link Posted: 1/20/2013 5:35:16 AM EDT
We are big time farm country around me.

And the only ones that make it are either the massive 1000 cow operations, or the places that have had the land and equipment paid off years ago, 3rd generation guys.

It most certainly is possible to sustain yourself and your family with a small hobby farm, and it can even be done on 1 or 2 acres of land, but expect to do it along with your full time job.

A 1/2 acre garden is huge for one person to maintain, I can barely keep up with mine and its 30x30. Add some chickens or pigs in to the mix and you just added 3 hours to your daily routine, plus the extra time required come butcher season.

If I was born into dairy farming I would probably stick with it, but dad was a horse farmer. I really wouldn't mind running a barn with 100 cows or so, but it would cost near a million bucks to get set up probably, and would never even break even in my life time.
Link Posted: 1/20/2013 10:41:24 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/20/2013 10:58:09 AM EDT
correct, if you want animals and some self sufficency because you like it... Homestead.

If you want to survive...learn to garden a bit, get the equipment you need, keep a rotated source of seeds, then buy about 5 years worth of food for storage and put it in several seperate secure locations.

If you are in a long term location, plant some fruit and nut trees.


This will give you time to learn later if it all goes to hell.

Do the math.
Really. The amount of time and money you spend growing food will far exceed the cost of doing it, unless it is something you want to and will enjoy doing.

(now this reccomendation would be different if you had a family farm etc, free and clear)
Link Posted: 1/20/2013 3:50:07 PM EDT
Thanks for all the information guys. I think I will stick to more of homesteading. I will just keep the need of land in mind once i get into a more stable position in life.
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