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Daniel Kern
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So i just recently got back from Austria. I went to see sepp holzer, the Holzerhof, and the Krameterhof. During the workshop I was able to further develop my plans for the future.

Currently it appears that i am fortanate enough to have a piece of land which i can work on and I will have a place to live, and even a little capital to start up with. After this semester in college i will be able to move onto the land and begin work.

the site is in central texas. in what once was the cross timbers ecoregion, but is quickly becoming dessert .

when i move onto the land i would like to build a few ponds right off the bat to get things going. then as the winter thaws i will be installing gardens. I would like to be able to produce all the food that i need as soon as possible.

My goal is to revitalize the desertifying landscape.

My vision is a fully functional ecosystem which provides an abundance of natural resources.

I could think of a million questions, but i will limit myself to 2 for now.

what are some common pitfalls to avoid in building a regenerative farm enterprise?

What are some general, or specific, guidlines, or pieces of advice to follow in order to be succesfull with my grand dreams (reality)?

 
Eric Toensmeier
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I believe used to be a Cross Timbers Permaculture Institute. First step is to clarify your goals. How much money do you want or need to make? How much of that income do you eventually want to make from farming and other activities on the site? How long can you wait until that starts to happen? How much time can you spend on the site - 20, 40, 60 hours a week? What does your seasonal labor availability look like? Asking yourself these kinds of questions helps to set data points you can use to track your progress towards your goals.

Common pitfalls - taking on too much too soon; jumping to planting trees without attending to fencing and irrigation and soil building first; building ponds and earthworks without investigating your soil type first (can lead to burst dams and swales and empty ponds).
 
Daniel Kern
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I actually have a piece of paper from the cross timbers institute in front of me now. The business is gone, but I would like to contact the people who ran the business when it was open. the paper says to contact Kirby Fry or Jack Rowe.

Well I have short term and long term goals. A few short term goals would be to firstly move onto the land, then put in some gardens, successfully build a pond, begin planting trees, and manage the cattle which are already on the ranch in a way that can help to regenerate the land.

My overall long term goal I have already stated, but along the same lines I would like to build community by creating space for others to get involved and to build their own separate but integrated business. And I believe that in creating a fully functional and productive ecosystem this is not only possible, but is necessary.

At this time money is not what I am looking for. I need enough money to pay land taxes, pay my bills, and to keep the business going and growing.

I would like to work full time on this project and provide all of my income through this business. I am lucky enough at this point to not be tied to any obligations, and I would like to keep it that way.

I can wait lifetimes for my ultimate goal to be fulfilled. I will plant seeds for me, and for the future generations. But I would like to get started as soon as possible. Which at this time appears to be about January of 2015.

I will be taking online classes for a B.S. in Business Administration as I am getting things going in on the land. This will allow me to work at the very least part time on the project, but will still allow me to be flexible.

As far as labor goes it is only me at this time. But I know that when the right time comes I will find the people whom I need. So far my thoughts are friends, and family who I have been talking to about this project.

Currently I am working on polishing my business plan, and at the same time I will be working on branding, building a website, and finding the regional resources which I will need in order to get things going.

Thanks for the advice.

 
Su Ba
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I suppose you need to ask yourself how big of a business do you want this to be? I run a 21 1/2 acre homestead farm. My goal is to have the farm support my family, give me a simple but quality life, and do it without employees. I took abandoned, overgrown, over grazed land and eventually made it very productive. If I had opted to use big equipment, employees, and invest a lot of cash I could have had it fully functional in a year. But I chose to do it the simple, hard way and essentially by myself. It's just a matter of choice.

As for producing your own food, learning to sprout seeds is a quick option initially. You could start various cold hardy greens such as lettuces, turnips, parsley, bok choy, cabbages, etc in low tunnels. Starting with 2-3 hens right of the bat will give you eggs. Raising a couple rabbits or a piglet produces meat quickly. Learn to grow, forage, or trade for a good portion of their feed to make raising them economical. Depending upon how serious you need to be about providing your own food, you may wish to devote a couple weeks to setting up low tunnels or making beds for starting food immediately.

If you plan to hire large equipment or employees, you'll get the farm whipped into shape faster. But it will cost money. And you will need to have a plan in place before you start. I built my farm slowly, so I could adjust and develop as I went along.

I wish you the best!
 
Eric Toensmeier
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Those are some well-articulated goals Daniel nice job!
 
Daniel Kern
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Well at this point I'm not sure how big I would like it to be. My plan is to start at the start and grow from there. I'm going to be on around 900 acres so there is infinite potential. I would love to create a community and not so much employees. Like having people come in to run their own business, but still within the community. I believe Mark Shepard is doing something similar.

I will have access to a tractor, and I will be renting an excavator every once in a while to get some earthworks done.

I am doing some sprouts right now.... but lately I have been having some issues with some mold.

I'm going to be moving onto the land in the winter so I think that low tunnels may be a good idea. And making beds will be one of the 1st things I do.

I am still unsure as to what animals I want to bring onto the land, because it seems to me that any animal that I bring would require 100% of it's diet to be feed. and I am unsure of the economic viability of that. But maybe just a few hens would be good. What has your experience been with animal feed/forage?

In the beginning it will be just me on the farm, but I know that as things get going I will get the help that I need.
 
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