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Posted: 4/15/2008 5:28:46 PM EDT
So the wife asks me "How many acres do we need to be truly self suffecient?" I told her I wasnt really sure and she needed to clarify. She says enough to raise our own food,some wildlife to hunt and have enough water for just us two. Im thinking a minimum of 320 acres but am not anywhere sure. Anyone have farm experience where you were feeding you and your family with just what you had. Have not seen this discussed here before but think for sure you all would have some good ideas...Thanks
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 5:52:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/15/2008 5:54:49 PM EDT by TheWind]
According to Mel Tappan, 10 acres is enough, get a copy of his book 'Survival Guns'
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 6:00:43 PM EDT
Depends.
Nowhere, Nevada, or somewhere in the Black Belt of Alabama?
Location,location,location.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 6:04:52 PM EDT

To be totally self sufficient would be challenging if you want to retain the ability to live a lifestyle similar to the USA standard. That would take a good deal more money and land.

I have a pretty serious life goal of getting off the grid. I grew up on a mini Idaho hobby ranch. It was just under 10 acres. My parents still have a large garden, there own beef, and have a few horses. With careful management they are able to raise about 5-8 cows and two horses AND put up enough hay to get through the winter. The property has great water rights and creek frontage. The primary heat in the house is wood. The surrounding national forest provides all the winter heating for under a $100 a year in fuel for the truck.

The downside is that we never really raised any kind of stable carbohydrate like wheat. there really isn't much room for that. They do have a sizable garden and orchard which offsets a lot of food cost. They do a bit of canning, but nothing extreme.



I think to be totally self sufficient you need to produce your own transportation also. While the horses would do just fine in an emergency....I would like to see a way to harvest your own fuel. I think that oil crops require a lot of land and time. I would love to build an algae based system using a greenhouse....

An easy option, but an expensive one would be a solar power system for electricity.

No matter how 'self sufficient' your property is its hard to get away from taxes and insurance for day to day living ( car insurance, health insurance, telephone, internet )

Best of luck...
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 7:43:37 PM EDT
10 acres of awesome land might do it.

It depends on how you go about homesteading it and what choices you make.  And a lot will depend on the levels of life style and technology you use.

Run a fridge on solar or make due with a root cellar cut into a hillside?  The rootcellar is nice and simple the solar stuff and the fridge may need work in the future.  If the rootcellar needs work, go cut some trees for wood and fix it.

Some ponds producing a lot of fish for you to eat are always nice, but do you like messing with fish and eating a lot of fish?

Heating with wood and skipping air conditioning also matters.

Homesteading is the word to search and the serious folks actually tend to produce something that they sell and that covers the property taxes and a few things they may not always be able to produce.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 8:08:54 PM EDT
Depends on what part of Oklahoma you are in - west of 81?  Would probably take a 1000 acres - east of I-35 - you could do it on less then a 100
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 3:54:03 AM EDT
Well I havent bought any land yet. That is what the purpose of the question is. Im starting to research which county is cheaper least populated etc. Right now SE Oklahoma looks best but its awfully uhh shall we say clanish.We plan to have a few chickens couple cows and as the poster said earlier it would be hard to have any carbs without a lot of extra work (processing). I do appreciate the answers and will keep checking back with ideas.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 4:09:46 AM EDT
In decent land 25 acres should be pretty close depending on the area.  I grew up on 150 and that would probably be about ideal around here.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 5:59:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GlockCop604:
Well I havent bought any land yet. That is what the purpose of the question is. Im starting to research which county is cheaper least populated etc. Right now SE Oklahoma looks best but its awfully uhh shall we say clanish.We plan to have a few chickens couple cows and as the poster said earlier it would be hard to have any carbs without a lot of extra work (processing). I do appreciate the answers and will keep checking back with ideas.

i have read that it takes btwn 1/8th acre and 1 acre/person.  i'd guess the variability is due to location.  check out this site

your cheapest land in OK is out west, but you'll need more acreage to obtain sustainability.  the SE  has the highest rainfall and land can be had for fairly inexpensive - i almost bought 240 acres out in the middle of nowhere for 100k.  you'll pay more the closer you get to the interstates, for obvious reasons. along i35 in logan county, south of guthrie, land is about $2500/acre.  once you get about 5 miles east of i35 prices begin to drop drastically.  we looked at 80 acres w/ 3000 sq ft house about 15 miles east of guthrie for, iirc, 195k.  we spent a lot of time looking before we bought an old farm house on 16 acres.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 6:14:56 AM EDT
I read a book back in the seventies called Farming for Self-Sufficiency : Independence on a 5-acre Farm by John Seymour and Sally Seymour. That might be a start. That book seems to be out of print but you might be able to pick it up used. Thinking back (rather too far) I recall that it made good sense at the time. Never had enough land to try it out myself.

My copy’s lost in a box somewhere around the house. Maybe I ought to dig it up.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 7:02:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 8:02:35 AM EDT
OK -- got some clarification from her.  She would like to be off the grid.  Her grandparents lived most of their lives without indoor plumbing or a fridge or TV.  Had a wood burning stove with a cooktop on it and raised dairy cows and had their own garden.  While I think they traveled to town regularly and bought fodder for their cattle instead of producing it themselves, it sounds like they probably roughed it by today's standards, she didn't seem to think that was all that bad.

Her dad apparently planted the seed early in her life that given the right piece of land and a little intestinal fortitude (truthfully probably a LOT of intestinal fortitude) you could pretty much take care of yourself.  I know you guys don't know the wife, but I can tell you that if she is serious about this I am going to spend my retirement years in a tree stand looking for dinner and she will not complain one bit about the "hardship" of it all.

Uhmmm, apparently work is really getting to her.  She is not particularly interested in doing anything other than avoiding people at all costs!!
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 8:05:34 AM EDT
A big plus for us was a hillside property.  We had a well a ways up the hill behind the house and gravity feed water gave enough pressure to take showers and flush toilets.
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