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What would you do with 40 acres of Southeastern Nebraska farmland?

 
tom slate
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OK permies, if you had the chance to acquire 40 acres of Southeastern Nebraska farmland, what would you do with it? All suggestions welcome!

Thanks!
 
alex Keenan
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You really should provide more information if you wish to get some useful feedback.
Think satellite photo, maps, soil survey, that type of stuff.
 
Dan Boone
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Was that originally prairie land? If so, I'd want to put aside a few of those acres for a prairie restoration project.
 
Ben Stallings
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Tom, are you looking at buying or selling? I'm moving to SE Nebraska sometime in the next few years.

Is the land "terraced" (swaled) already? (Many farms in that part of the country are, due to USDA incentives.) I guess since it's already farmland, I would want to do a Mark Shepard type alley cropping -- use farm equipment to continue planting & harvesting alleys on contour, but plant the strips in between with food forest, and graze livestock through the alleys between crops.
 
Marco Banks
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More information please.

Was/is the land farmed? Crop land? Pasture? Native grassland? Forested?

What do you know about the history of the property and the people who previously owned it? How did they use it?

Is there water on it -- a creek, pond, natural pot-holes/wetland? Has anyone developed the land to enhance the hydrology and manage the water that falls on it? Swales? Dams? Ponds?

What is the soil like? Sand? Clay? Loam?

What is the topography? Flat? Hills? Rock outcroppings or other natural features?

Has the land ever supported livestock? If so, what?

Is the land developed in any way -- access roads? water? power? buildings? fencing? animal paddocks?

What is the adjacent land being used for? Farming? Housing? What are your neighbors like and how do they use their land?

Probably most important, who are you and why are you asking this question? Are you the owner? Do you want to be the owner? Do you want to create a farm for yourself?


That'll give us a start to understand your context. Permaculture is ALL about context. The community on this board have a wealth of information and experience to give you, but we need to understand the larger context.
 
tom slate
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Thank you all for your responses so far!

It is a long shot that I would acquire this property. But I am always looking at "longshots", and sometimes they pan out, like my marriage of almost 30 years, and my career of 20 years, for example.

This property was purchased in the 1940s and farmed by my grandpa until his death in 1996. At the farm's zenith, grandpa had maybe 20 head of cattle, used for both milking and beef cattle for his family of 9 children. He also had some hogs, chickens, rabbits, a couple of ponies, and an incredible 1 acre vegetable garden that he and grandma weeded by hand nearly every day during growing season. I am pretty sure that grandpa planted corn, soybeans, alfalfa and wheat. There is a creek that he dammed to create a pond, and the soil around the creek has clay. The land is near Crete, NE. The land is hilly. One of my uncles purchased the property from my grandpa's estate, and my uncle recently lost the property to foreclosure. I don't think that my uncle farmed the land much. He had a few horses, and at least part of the property was in some type of prairie restoration program. There is a large old barn that is structurally sound, and at least one other large shed / garage, as well as a garage attached to the house. The house was built in the early 1960s and needs some work. The property has electricity. Water used to be by an old windmill well, not sure about present status of water supply.
 
Jotham Bessey
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Location: Newfoundland, Canada
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If I had it I would restore the whole thing to what the area was like before it became farmland except for my house and five acre forest smack in the middle!
 
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