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Options for young folks just starting out?

Posted by bookworm226 7 (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 4, 10 at 21:56

Hi there;

I have a question to ask of everyone here but first let me give you some background to the question.

My brother and I have been raised in the country on a small 10 acre farm. My parents don't do much farming but they purchased the farmland for us so that we could live in the country. My brother and I were both homeschooled and have learned to love living on a farm. We aren't new to farming. We currently have a couple of rescued horses on part of the property, keep chickens for eggs, have several hives of bees for honey production and cultivate about 6 acres of the property for produce that we sell at local farmers markets. We have a small berry patch with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. All of this to explain that we aren't new to growing things and farming.

Now for the question:

Does anyone have any suggestions for us on how to establish our own farm? Like I said before, our parents aren't farmers but we would like to farm for a living. Right now, we are totally happy working together (we've always been the best of friends) and would like to somehow obtain more property to work with.

We basically have no idea how to start a larger farm. We work 7 days a week on our farm just to earn enough to go to college on so have very little saved up to buy a farm and good farmland usually is very expensive. Our farming friends all have parents that have farmed and will pass down the land to them. So, how do you go about starting a career in farming? :-) Does anyone know of localities in the US that have good farm land, far out in the country, for a low price! (I know that such a thing probably doesn't exist anymore!) I really wish the homestead act was still going so that young folks like us could start a new life without having rich parents or the proverbial rich uncle to back you up!!!

I don't want to farm like the commercial farmers do in grain states. I want to grow organic and/or heirloom produce.

Thanks much for your suggestions, and advice!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Options for young folks just starting out?

10 ares can make you 1/4 million dollars year + now here IFS are close to large population if so plant mase maze better yet use blackberry plants thornless in stead corn or sungrass that take care tours to farm you google mase maze find a lot info. Google sweetberryfarms to see maze and berry farm reds and blacks small fruits. If live close to michian join blueberry assation MBA of michian this give out let for blackberries you produce. Go in walmart grocery store look at blueberries and blackberries in 6 oz clam shells price about 3 dollars each as producer you get about 1.25 to 1.50 of 3 dollars. 5lbs. and 4 oz. in gallon blackberries hard info to find 5 lbsx16 oz. = 80oz + 4oz = 84oz Dived by 6 oz = 14 clam shells at 1.25 per clam = 17.50 per gallon berries any acre blackberries should produce 1,000 to 2,500 gallons berries @ 1,000 that = 17,500 acre or @ 2500 = 43,750 let meet halfway @ $26,250 acre x 10 acres = 263,250.00 now cost picking packaging and mbg take for selling berries be about 30,000 picking &packing be about 60,000 with cost of plants at 7,500 cost at 97,500 dollars subtract from 263,250 = net of 165,750.00 plus maze income minus other cost fuel tractor hauling on old freezer truck fertlizer spraying mowing chemical and elbow grease. marketing will be taken care of by being memmber grower group. blackberries sell along with blueberries. Natureripe most used trade name in small fruits. Visting USDA marketing daily report on small fruit couldbe of interest sept. to may small fruits come from mexico by plane and trucks crossing borber to large us city's. good luck.


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RE: Options for young folks just starting out?

Make sure you take ag and ag business courses in college.

Many farmers start out in the same boat you are in. The typical progression that I see is to start out renting land and buy your own small homestead as soon as you can--which you would already have. Then continue to rent nearby land while you build up to a size you can handle without getting too much, and replace rented land with purchased land as the opportunity arises. Renting is also a way to control risk--you can expand or cut back acreage relatively quickly and without risking a lot of money doing it. Once you have a homestead so that you don't find yourself having to move at inopportune times, then you can build up to purchase additional land or continue to rent land--there are emotional considerations--but rent vs buy is also a business decision with pro's and con's to each depending on your business model.

A lot of farmland is priced based on other factors than its productive value--the biggest factor probably being its proximity to population centers and therefore its value for subdivision. So, inexpensive land is often cheap because you are far from markets or in climates where your ability to produce high value truck garden crops is limited. From your stated preferences, you want to produce high value crops (fruit, veggies, etc) rather than commodities (field corn, soybeans, etc) so will need to be located relatively close to populations sizable enough to absorb your production. With these crops you will need to select ones with a high value per acre which also means you shouldn't need a lot of acres--your production methods will probably limit the acreage you can handle. Truck garden usually involves a lot of labor and can be even more labor intensive if you choose to follow the "organic" marketing model rather than conventional production. The good news is, once you start buying land, the high value crops should generate the kind of revenue needed to pay for that land.


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