Help Me Start a Crop Farm

jared21November 2, 2010

Hello my name is Jared I am 21 years old and have been a volunteer for about four years at a organic crop farm, i am trying to find a way to to start a farm with out debt. I'm really want to show my son how to farm and how to give back to the environment. please if you can help me please let me know

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lily51(OH 5)

Without debt? In Illinois? What is the cost of farm land there..a farm just sold a couple months ago in our neighborhood (Ohio) for $7000 an acre. You had better have deep pockets or a sponsor of some sort.
And what sort of crops are you talking about...field crops, truck farming, etc. That would effect how much land you would need. Or are you talking big gardening rather than farming?
Sorry to be so negative, but we bought a farm 32 years ago, and a few since, and debt is more or less part of the game.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 7:10AM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

You can probably rent a farm and the big harvest and tractor type equipment can be hired.

You are going to have to have some money, but if you've actually got cash, you can do at least a small project without going into debt.

Rent on farms tends to be low because not many want to rent them and those who do often can't be trusted to take proper care of it.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 5:57PM
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lily51(OH 5)

It's great that there's still someone out there who wants to get into farming. Talk to people in your area, your extension office, etc. to see how things work there. If you are not from a farm background, you would benefit from a mentor.

Maybe Illinois is differnt than Ohio, but many, many people rent out their farms here.
Where you are, probably anywhere between $125-$250+ per acre. THen figure out all your expenses and see if you would actually make any money.
A lot depends on what crop you're growing, weather, what the markets are doing for your crop, and how you market it.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 6:24PM
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Congrats on wanting to be a young farmer.

If you're near an urban area then garden produce might be the way to go. You could possibly sell to small restaurants.
Or get into decorative pumpkins and gourds. Starting without debt is difficult and if you're working another job and have a family time might be hard to come by.

In our area land costs run $3200-$4200/ acre or more and rents are in the $200-$275 range. A recent article stated that land turned over/sells about once every 31 years or so, so if something comes up for sale the few that really want it are willing to pay high prices. In our area tracts generally run in 80 acre or 160 acre plots. Add in the cost of equipment and it's expensive. Wineries are popping up in our area. 5 acres will get you started, but it takes a few years for actual product to grow and be available to sell. It's very, very labor intense.

Determine what type of farming you are interested in and contact a current owner to see if you can work and be mentored and possibly increase duties or take on some ownership. Be aware some owners may be wary of having young children around due to the safety and liability concern. Our insurance company had a no-passenger policy which did not allow others to ride along.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 10:02AM
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Farmer job is one over your head, fresh air all day. I enjoy it. Others don't.
You won't get rich farming.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 11:30AM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

Hi Jared
I started by working for my cousin, then spent 2 years working as what was essentially a migrant farm worker. saved my $ and bought my first house on 2 acres for $27,000. You can pretty well figure ... it wasn't much of a house. But, it kept the rain off and I worked another job and worked on the house and farmed my little one acre of date palms and 1/2 acre of produce. The next year I leased an additional 1 1/2 acres of dates. Eventually sold that place and now have 5 acres with on acre of dates producing and another planted. Will eventually have 4 acres planted.
I admire your desire to stay out of debt. It means you have to live like no one else for a while, and save save save. With a family, that will be harder than it was for me but it is possible. Then look for the right opportunity. Be patient, and you will find it.
Then 2 things about farming.
1) grow what you love to grow and what loves to grow for you. Different kinds of farming require different kinds of work. One will be better suited to you and who you are. Best way to find out is work for other farmers and learn from experience.
2) always have a market before you plant. This is the farming equivalent of location location location.
May your crops grow well and your markets swell.
Arthur the date guy
and do drop a word and let us know how it goes

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 9:49PM
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Best thing to do is know what crops are selling high that will be sustainable in our area. I always watch the stock market for the top producing crops. Start with a stock app I know of that is just for crops and the top crops out there.

Here is the website:

Here is a link that might be useful: aaron

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:26PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I also wish you luck! I just bought out my siblings shares of my Dads small "farm" and I am trying to figure out a way to make it pay the debt that I incurred!

At least you are young and ambitious! That is rare these days!

Do you plan to buy, lease, lease to own, or possibly set up a share crop arrangement? Are you willing to move long distances?

Most states have a free agricultural advertizement paper that may also be available on-line. Something similar to what we have here in S.C., it is called the SC market bulletin.

I have saw a few ads looking for people to manage horse farms, dairies, ETC. with rent free housing. You can run an ad for free in ours. You might run an ad in one and find what you need. If you are willing to move to another state or cross country your odds will improve.

With your background in organic, you have a good start on growing high cash crops.

Again, I hope you do well! Just keep your nose close to the grinding stone.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 2:00PM
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