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What are the Costs?  RSS feed

 
Mishelle Azure
Posts: 8
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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I am currently in high school and graduating next year, I want to get into permaculture and eventually own a farm. I am a planner I enjoy planning, so I started calculating the cost of land but once I had the land I'm going to need to get the things rolling, so to speak. what I was wondering is what is the cost to start up a farm and what implement are needed, tractor, seed cost, livestock, earthworks that might be necessary. Any insights would be helpful!
 
Mike Cantrell
Posts: 555
Location: Mid-Michigan
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bee books duck food preservation forest garden hunting solar trees
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You might start with Joel Salatin's You Can Farm.

http://www.amazon.com/You-Can-Farm-Entrepreneurs-Enterprise/dp/0963810928/


He'll walk you through just about all the financial considerations, and from a few different angles (vegetables, livestock, value-added processing, etc). He doesn't have "food forest" in there, but you don't need it. What he's doing for you is making sure you don't miss anything, because what will wreck you is what you don't know you don't know.



(Me, I got a huge valuable lesson out of You Can Farm. It showed me farming really isn't the way I want to make a living. I'm not willing to do what it takes to earn my living from my land. How great to find that out the easy way, right?)
 
R Scott
Posts: 3351
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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+1 on Joel's book. And Mark Shepard (restoration agriculture). And Jean-Martin Fortier (the market gardener).

Books, Youtube, and podcasts from all of them.

And the permaculture voices podcasts talk a LOT about HOW TO START. Excellent resource.
 
Mishelle Azure
Posts: 8
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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Thanks I will check it out!
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1379
Location: northern California
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One thing I've learned from starting up homesteads myself and seeing others go through the process is to roughly budget your money in thirds....one third for the land, another third for the building(s) (assuming the land is raw land---if it has usable structures on it, the second third can be reduced accordingly)....and the last third (yes, a full third) for "everything else". Way too many people become "land poor"....blowing too much of their wad on the raw land and then not having enough left over to develop it into something truly productive.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3351
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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And that last third is conservative, depending on what you intend to do. I think it can easily grow to over half. $2k per acre for land and $10k for earthworks and planting is entirely possible.

One little thing Mark and Joel say almost in passing that is very important: They lived in what is considered poverty conditions today. Clothes came from goodwill, cars were old and cheap, machinery was old or borrowed, no TV, no going out to eat. You need to be able to live on nothing while the farm starts up. If you can do that, things are MUCH easier.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 985
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I would start with some WOOFING learn skills but ask as well hosts about finances.
 
William James
gardener
Posts: 1014
Location: Northern Italy
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My 2 cents, land ownership is highly over-rated. Having access to land and being able to pull profit from land does not necessarily imply land ownership. If you start with this insight, you won't waste valuable time and headaches fretting over the fact that you don't own land. Even Salatin rents. I have arranged 4 pieces of land of varying size from 40 meters square to 2.5 acres that are not mine but depend on me for managing and I can pull product from them without giving back anything to the legal owners. People just give me land left and right, as long as they can maintain ownership.

As Alder Burns notes, if I were to own that land outright, I would be in debt and have no money to do any of the managing.

There is the PermaEthos model now up and running, and there is the small urban plot market gardening model (SPIN) where ownership is really secondary.

Tractors are another also unnecessary. Hightly useful, but not mandatory. Seed costs. I spend 200-500 euros a year for seed, but it goes down as long as you're spending on perennials, reseeding annuals, and growing your own plants. If you run animals, you shouldn't need to invest in seed much. A trackhoe is a good investment, but if you're lucky you have a friend in the construction industry (get one of those!) who can lift earth on a saturday morning for next to nothing. Right now seeds, plants and chickens and random infrastructure are my main expenses. I'm building my second greenhouse and this one is costing even less than the first and it's of higher quality.

The best insight: get family and good friends in your corner. In the long run, they will be your best cost-mitigating element.
William
 
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