I'm a big fan of Paul's Podcasts and on forums I repeatedly hear people speak of wanting to to get land and support themselves through homesteading or regenerative agriculture. The primary excuse is that they can't find affordable land.
That inspired me to want to explore and write about this topic and to jump start that process I'm making an offer that I will help set someone up in their own full time farm/regenerative Ag business in 2017, in Central Texas. Of course, I've got specific goals and minimal qualifications so I'll admit the odds are low I'll find the ideal candidate, but I thought it be interesting to post here to see if there are any potential takers or better ideas.
I'd like to give this individual the opportunity to start up their own company, lease land for $1 and receive on-site housing, water, utilities, equipment as well as some of the required infrastructure. (yes, I'd be investing my money into this project). The goal is to help them build their own profitable and successful business. Mutually agreed upon benchmarks, goals and terms would be set upfront in a Salatin style "MOU" and all profits from their farm production under the agreement would go to them, the business owner. After the initial agreed MOU term, you'll get an option to continue leasing the land long term at way below market rent and/or I'll help you move your business and locate your own land.
What's in it for me? I'd get the initial exclusive rights to any/all proceeds from writing, photographs, videos and/or publishing your journey and experience. We can negotiate some sharing those rights after the project is completed. I may retain book rights as I plan to compile my own book from the experience and market that. My primary goal is to complete a successful case study on sustainable business opportunities in rural TX then market and replicate the framework repeatedly. You'll get up to 20 acres of land located approximately 2 hours from Austin, Houston and Dallas/Ft Worth, Texas. The two nearest metropolitan areas are Waco to the north and College Station, one hour away south. Yes, this is in rural TX.
Here are just some ideas of business opportunities one could pursue on this property: Market Gardening; Mushroom growing; Pastured Pork; Pastured Poultry; Bee Keeping, Quail Production; Spice and herb farm; Egg production farm; Goat/Sheep Breeding/Ranching; Wholesale tree/plant Nursery; Aquaponic farming; Aquaculture/Fish Farm; Timber Production/Wood Products; Small Cattle program; Live ducks/chicken/pig sales for consumption; Wild crafting/Foraging; Firewood Harvesting. Some of these would require more land work than others but I don't want to be limiting, they can be combined. The land is predominantly wooded with hardwoods and cedar but there are several acres cleared areas and more can be opened up for the right project.
Paramount in this project is that your business is successful. So, here are some minimum requirements; Its a full time job for Adults only, you must have a basic level of experience in successfully managing/running a small business and farming or ranching. Your business is yours so your pay is only limited by your profit. Accurate and good online bookkeeping is required and you must have strong physical abilities to endure high heat, long days, hard work and physical exertion. Must understand that with farming/ranching, sales and marketing skills are more crucial to success than crop/animal production abilities. The use of personal or business debt isn't permitted and you must be able to derive 85% of your gross annual income from your Ag business. Like starting any business, you need some savings to live on while starting it and you will need to invest your own money in your business, but its yours.
I'm sure there are 1000 things I missed but if you may be a serious candidate, let me know and I'll send you more info. I have a successful 25 year background in small business, real estate, finance, ranching and wildlife management so i will be consulting with you for free along the way.
Thank you Elizabeth! Some really good ideas there. Well suited for multiple partners in a start up.
While I don't necessarily like the sound of the word "Fiefdoms" that Joel Salatin uses, I do like the idea of two business entities entering into a mutually beneficial, non-binding arrangement with the goal of providing different benefits to both businesses.
I find very few potential business partners with discipline and patience who are willing to follow through and invest their time or money to succeed. (Probably because those people already have their own successful business!)
Willie Smits: Village Based Permaculture Approaches in Indonesia (video)