in need of advice on where to start.

wanttogetawayNovember 8, 2011

I am 23 year old male and am looking to get away i was raised in the country and hate the city. I have children and can understand that a full time profit farm is far from hand but i want to get to that point. i am looking at land near nashville and want to start a nice farm maybe 20 acres or 40 at the most for start up. i am pretty green under the thumb and some equine experience but in my opinion horses are more for hobby and less of a money maker. can anyone shoot some ideas with some tips on easy start ups on a farm? the areas i am looking at are livestocking pigs and when a little more on my feet some cattle. as for others i was talking to my god mother and she brought up gardening and foliage. i have been looking at trees that give good bloom and nice vine flowers that i can use to buetify my farm yet also sell in a farmers market with our candels and other crafts.

sooooooooo long story what would yall say is feesable i am more than willing to answer q and a and maybe get some nice insight i tried to reach out to the circles here but everyone seems to hold a secret "on the next runner up that will take bread off there table"

basic low down of the farm will be

*livestock (what kind and what kind of profit can be made form it)

*foliage (is there a profit here besides the obvious sight on the homefront)

*and also a last tidbit i have read a little adn always been curious maybe beekeeping i hear there honey sells well and also there good for the foliage.

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Well your question is a very open question, and what works for one person/area may not work for another. You need to find your markets, do you want a general market or a niche market? What sells in your area? Do you have buyers, or can you sell your products to a distributor? Do you need a license to do ______? What about equipment? You will need to still work outside the home at least for a while to not only get over the learning curve you will have, but also to get over the economic depression & lack of sales in this economy especially.

Here are a few of my thoughts:

Put up a few greenhouses. No equipment really needed (unless you build it yourself). If you have a greenthum, add some sort of solar heating with back up heating of some sort. In spring grow garden starts to sell in the greenhouse, summer grow pumpkins for halloween (in your field), and grow pointsettas for Christmas (why you need the heat in the green house).

Plant Christmas trees in one of your back lots - this is for your future return, not now. Plant a section every year to keep them going, then in 10-15 years or so when you are selling them replace the plantings.

Bees are great, they will help pollinate your field & greenhouse, if you take honey all the better. Be aware there has been large die-offs of bees....all the more reason to try to keep them to help the population even if it is risky. Always buy new bee houses & racks - never used ones you find online! Disease spreads easily!

Livestock can be profitable, however you need the right combinations to do it. Lush land, and plenty of it, will yeild the most profit. If you have to feed a lot of grain and buy a lot of hay, it won't be profitable (for meat animals). But, you can do well to stock your own freezers and use them to clear your land. Don't skimp on your breeding stock - buy disease tested animals and start off on the right foot-diseases cut into your profit big time over the long run. Spend the money up front for good, clean stock. Remember, a milk animal will not yeild a lot if it's sold for meat, and a meat animal will not yeild a lot of milk. (A dairy can be profitable, but facilities & licenses would be needed which is costly).

I can't stress enough about fining a market before any huge investment is made. Start slow.....your learning curve will be steep.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 8:46PM
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I have a couple of suggestions...
One is to look for places where you & your family could intern to learn about plants, pastures, livestock, etc.
The other is to get a subscription to Acres USA. It is a magazine directed at sustainable farming. They offer one free issue that you could get to see what all it offers.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 11:16AM
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I agree with some of the points made, such as NEVER buy used bee equipment, no matter how cheap or free. Same really goes for livestock. Feeders etc can carry parasites and disease. Sick animals will eat as much as healthy ones till they're really sick. Line up a vet in your area and get to know them. Start small, farming might not be for you. If it was easy everybody would do it.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 6:58AM
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I have seen some smaller acreages grow Lavender as a family worked crop. Research it to find the right variety for your area and soil, but it's usually very easy, no parasites and drought resistant. Build a wooden barn to hang and dry it, so you can process the blooms and package them for sale, particularly if you do organic. Ebay, local herbal shops and small business retailer's online shops are good places for ideas. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 2:18AM
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IMHO stay away from livestock, with the size spread you're talking, you won't be able to grow feed and grain, also there's the cost of equiptment to consider. Yu'll be buying all your feed so you'll be almost a self fulling prophecy of failure.

THat being said, you might consider chickens, I noticed a sign at a local bakery yesterday offering "free range brown eggs" for $2.00/dozen which is about twice what they cost in the regular market. You would also have eggs for your own consumption as well as chicken if you're not squeamish about killing, cleaning, etc. I've read about folks who were suffessful with rabbits, don't know anything about them. These are obvioiusly "niche" markets but you can't do otherwise with the resources available to you.

Organic produce commands big $$ if you're so inclined and have suitable land. I believe becoming "certified" organic takes a couple of years but you'd have to research that. Regular produce can be sold at farmers markets, but doesn't command big $ as everyone has tomatoes, beans, etc. when everyone else does.

I'd stay far away from honey, as you're competing with imported products which sell for CHEAP. Ditto with fruit and the machinery, sprayers, etc. to produce it.

Research, research, and research some more, find an area that no one is into and develop that, then be ready for others to follow after you're successful.

I've attached a link to Mother Earth News, the "bible" for living wisely and has been around since the 60's I think. Read about what others with a similar "bent" have done. Again, research. I think the first subscription is only $10 and the site is available for free.

Good luck,


Here is a link that might be useful: Mother Earth News

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 11:13AM
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I have just bought a small acreage in CO. and am in the planning stage of what to do with it to make it not necessarily profitable, but perhaps sustain itself ie. cover the payments on in.

My plan is to first start a garden for myself. This will provide my family with fresh vegetables. I also plan on getting some berries and fruit trees planted this year as they will take a while to mature. I will have a couple of chickens to put eggs on my table and hopefully to sit on eggs that my ducks will lay. I'd like to raise some purebred bantam ducks.

This summer I will research what sells and is in demand at local farmer's markets. It sounds like you already go to these so take the time to observe. What sells out all the time? No point planting, harvesting and then finding your market is already saturated.

I think finding a "niche" is the key to success. Offering the same thing everyone else does just makes you another player in an already pretty crowded market. But if you bring something different to the table, you'll have a captive market.

Here's a link to a thread on another board that discusses this very idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: How do you find your Market?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 10:51AM
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