We all know that our country isn't doing very well these days. The outsourcing of jobs to overseas countries and our national debt has us in a situation where there are few jobs. However, these problems would not be a big deal if We The People
would take it upon ourselves to fix these problems and stop relying on the mega corporations and the government to fix them for us. Yes, much of these problems were created by them but are we just going to sit around and allow them to dig us in even deeper. I would hope not.
One of the best ways for us to take action is for many of us to start our own businesses whether its an online
store selling homemade goods, a store owner down town, or, if you really want a secure lifestyle you could become a farmer. Sure, these days there are a lot of horror stories about the farming occupation. However, these stories primarily come from the large scale producers who are simply taking on too much. A better system of farming is that which is done on a small scale. This style of farming can often be taken on with no more than a few hand tools, and once you purchase and plant your first seeds and trees
there is very little overhead. There is also very little work to do, usually a single man or a small family can easily manage a small farm, but with all this said, I know that many of you want me to cut to the chase and tell you how much money can be made. Well, as with all business, the amount of money that can be made depends on the product which you are producing and the overall need for that product. Often times the best way to make money is to find a scarce product that would be desired by your customers. However, more importantly it must be a product you enjoy producing. This is especially true with farming. It is simply natural for the food you’r producing to be of a higher quality if you like what your doing. You know what, heck with this I’m getting too side tracked. I’ll tell you more about farming later on in this article.
Now, if your more interested in farming or already had an interest in farming it is time for you to learn how to go about starting a farm or as I think
it is better put, a farming homestead. If you already have an acre
or better of land
you are ready to get going and could easily make a living off of that amount of land. It doesn't matter if it’s in the city
or the country either, in fact, farms in the city often have an advantage over those in the country because they are closer to their customers, however, if you are like me and like to be away from it all your better off in the country and the gas money spent to get your produce to town is in my mind a fair tradeoff for the relaxation and great times that come from life in the country. Okay, before I veer too far off course I had better start talking about how to go about buying land if you don’t already have some, because in the farming world you ain’t no kind of man if you ain’t got land(unless you are Paul Wheaton). Anyway, continuing on. Though it is important to get a piece of land that will fulfill your needs. It is not necessary that you buy the traditionally farmed flat land with a slight southern slope that has been sought after by farmers of the past. There are new methods of farming(permaculture
) that allow for hillsides to be just as productive as flatter land, especially if you have a south facing hillside. It is possible to farm on a north facing hillside but your plants will receive a lot more sun, especially in the fall and winter months when they are farmed on a south facing slope. However if you are farming mostly livestock the slope isn’t quite as important but is still beneficial, and of course a varying landscape is great as well. The main point I am trying to make though is that a hillside can be just as good as flatter land and is often times much cheaper. Which brings me to the subject of how to find land to buy. I myself bought my land over the internet without ever actually going to look at it. I just checked it out on google earth, saw that it had a primarily south facing slope and went for it, and besides, at $19,000 for 19 acres, and with a much higher resale value I figured there wasn’t much to lose. You can also find land in newspapers, on ebay, and other such resources. I personally found my land at landsofamerica.com, and would suggest this site. I noticed that there were many private sellers, and with private sellers you can often find a better price. Oh yeah, and tax sales are also a good way to go, well at least if theres not an enraged hillbilly and his clan occupying the said land which is often the case in my home state of West Virginia.
Alright, so far we have talked about how viable owning a small farm can be, what kind of land you should
look for, and how to find that land. Now it is time to find out how to get the money to buy land. The best way is to save up the money and buy the land outright. You can often save a lot of money this way and at the same time avoid another bill coming in every month. But if your like me and find a piece of land that is just too good to pass up, you may want to get a loan. There are many banks and farm credit services that cater to farmers so I would suggest looking one of them up before going to your regular bank because you can usually get a much lower interest rate. The bank I went through was called Farm Credit Services of Mid America which provides loans to farmers in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. They have an awesome website that shows their wide selection of loans at low interest rates for farmers as well as provides farmers with much other valuable information, but with that said, the best way to go about things is NOT to get over your head with loan payments. This is the exact opposite of what a farming homestead is about. If you must get a loan, MAKE SURE YOU WILL HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY IT OFF! If not, everything you worked so hard for could fall to ruin. Your best bet is to pay your land off before you start farming and have some savings going into the operation. This is however not to say that a wee bit of risk is a bad thing. If you have the right idea from the start, and know a good bit about the farming business. A loan taken out to better the quality of your farm could pay off big in the long run but then again it could come back to bite you in the ass as well.
Its time to talk about the house, because a farming homestead without a home wouldn’t be much of a farming homestead, it would just be a farm. If you don’t have a house on your land you will need to build one, and if I were you I would save a lot of money by NOT contracting it out and NOT buying the majority of your building materials. I personally will be, once I get out of the military building a small log cabin
to use as shelter
while I build my bigger and better home which will be constructed with cob
, stone and logs which are all resources that are found on my land and on most other pieces of land as well. The only unnatural building materials I will be using will be the windows and the polyethylene sheeting I will be using for the roofing, and as a vapor barrier on the floor. I will not have a septic tank but will have a composting
toilet instead(check out Joseph Jenkins humanure
handbook). Something that is way cheap and now allowed in most areas. However, unless you want to take your chances of getting in trouble with the man I would have to recommend that you should comply with your areas building code if there is one. That is not to say that if you disguise your house well or perhaps say its just a hunting cabin or shed or something that that you couldn’t get away with cheating a little. Also, as far as construction with natural materials goes I would just google and youtube the heck out of the subject until I felt confident enough
to build my own home.
Now, what is left... Oh yeah, how to have a farm that supplies you with the majority of your wants and needs, and provides you with a very adequate income.(This is where I’ll start talking about making money some more.) The best way to have money is not to spend it. So, the goal you should have for your homestead should be to live a comfortable life but not spend much money or resources to do so. How do you do this? Well I’ll tell you how you do this. You do this by keeping it simple. Do your heating and cooking with wood
(May I suggest a rocket mass heater
), grow your own food, have a root
cellar, learn to can, and have solar
, wind, or water
power if electricity is a must for you.(Check out the solar
cabin guy on youtube for a fairly decent example of what is possible with a few cheap solar panels.)His system powers a fair amount of things and costs around $3000 However, if all you want is perhaps a laptop and a few electric lights
as I will have you could easily provide all of your electricity needs for around $500 plus the cost to buy new batteries about every twelve years. Also, Buy clothing that is functional and will last a long while without replacement, where your nice clothes for out in town and use your clothes that are wearing out around the farm and most importantly, buy good tools that will last.
Selling your product, since I have a good farmers market in my area and want to keep it simple I will be selling there primarily, but you can also advertise
restaurants, and grocers, or possibly set up a website or something for selling trees, bulbs, seed’s, seed
potatoes, and other things of the sort as well as homemade goods. From personal experience
, if you have a good variety of produce, especially rarer things that people don’t normally grow, you can look to make an average $60 to $80 a day easily which is more than you think when you are living the simple life. Not to say that this is all you will be able to make, this is just how much you want to do it with very little work and give yourself a lot of time to relax. I could certainly see people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year farming this way.
This coming August if they Navy allows me to leave early as I am planning on I will be posting weekly videos to youtube so that you can learn from my experience. I hope this post helped out some people, I know it kind of sucked, but I’m more of a doer than I am a writer so the upcoming videos should be much better.
Thanks for reading my post.