IMO,...I would opt for a dozer to get rid of the trees/stumps where you want to initially garden/farm first...A stump grinder does best where you just want to have a lawn etc...but it does not get all the roots that can interfere when you want to till the areas...
Personally, if I had the long term project you are relating...I would want the 5075E + attachments as well as a some sort of back hoe...a BH will allow you to expand the original garden/farming areas at your own pace...(again JMO)...I would opt for less tractor minus the stump grinder and put the $ towards a BH and renting a dozer to do the initial work...
If you grind those stumps then fence some pigs in there they will root threw all the chips and roots and dirt.the rooting and turning the pigs will do will make the chips rot down faster and all the pig manure will mix in and make some realy nice rich soil in a year or two.It would take a lot of pigs for 100 acres.I used this method to expand some pasture a few years ago and it worked pretty good.I cut and removed the trees then hired a guy to grind the big stumps then i fenced of a 100' by 100' area with electric fence and turned out 8 big sows 300-350lbs.It took them about 10-14 days to have the whole area completly rototilled then i would fence in another area the same size and move them onto that.the area that they had dug up i leveled off with tractor and back blade(hogs will leave some pretty deep holes) then spread some oats and rye grass seed.I spent all one summer doing this to cover around 8 acres.then two years later i used a heavy off set disk to plow down all the rye and oats and seeded it to a mix of red clover,timothy,orchard grass for pasture for my beef cattle it turned out pretty nice.If you dig out all the stumps you loose a lot of good top dirt and it takes a long time for that area to really produce any crops.
Do you have any state farming promotion plans in Virginia? Some states want to encourage new farmers and the restoration of croplands. I don't think the grants are large, but they could stretch your budget if they are available. At the very least, you might get some technical advice.
Another thought that came to mind is the income tax on the capital gains your tree harvest will create. You need to know how to calculate your basis value in the trees. If this is going to be an income producing operation, I would get some advice from an accountant or small business adviser. Virginia may provide some free or very low-cost aid in that area too. For example, if this is a business, what you spend on the tractor is a business expense that is deductible and can be depreciated. The minimum cash flow requirements to qualify as a farm business with the IRS are pretty low.
The whole thing will complicate your tax returns, but may be worth it financially. Farm losses, I think, can be used to offset non-farm income. That is why rich people run alpaca farms. :) It would pay you to get some professional input on the pros and cons.
If you go the pto stump grinder route, the Woods sg100 would be the size choice for the amount of stumps and size tractor you have. I purchased the smaller sg50 and it would be too small for your use. At the time I did pretty much research on pto stump grinders and one other brand I would suggest you look at is Baumalight (just google name). I talked to the company a few times and they were very helpful but I was a little concerned about the size of the unit at the time for my tractor (now I have a larger tractor) and went with the lighter Woods. But in some ways I think the Baumalight might be a little better unit. I traded e-mails with a guy in Ontario that had one and he was real happy with it. Woodward Crossings was a dealer for them and gave a very good price delivered. Good luck on your property!
I didnt see any mention a track hoe to pull stumps. Dont know what your area might cost but I would guess around here $100/150 per hour for a 200 size track hoe with operator. Generally when clearing a real construction project a hoe pulls trees and stumps, loader with root rake moves to a pile. Hoe burns pile. When you grind a stump your really just hiding your.problem till later. Can uncle push stumps out in your key area with the skidders blade, if he can loosen them up in the 2~3 acres you want well cleared you could move/rake/burn. To grind a good sized stump your looking a maybe 2~4 hours per stump for say a 24 to 36 inch oak. You could be looking at a multi year project to grind them. I would think a older track hoe highered in for a week could do what you need, for no more than the stump grinder would cost. You probably can beat them down to say $1000 per day if they know they will be there all week.
I want to heartily second others' recommendation to get professional help on the tax implications of this purchase. If you are selling $100,000 worth of lumber to a logger, the worst thing you could do is simply put that down as income at the end of the year. You're going to get murdered on the taxes. If you can treat the farm as a business, then the income will be directly offset by any expenses, such as hiring folks to pull the stumps, as well as equipment purchases, like the tractor. Realistically, getting help from a tax professional (and I mean an accountant, not the friendly folks at H&R Block) will almost certainly be worth whatever you end up paying them in tax savings. Also, bear in mind that you can usually get an agricultural sales tax exemption. In Tennessee, at least, the requirements are relatively easy to meet, and it may behoove you to put off some of your purchases until you can qualify for the exemption. For example, close the contract on the lumber, which gives you agricultural income, which gets you the exemption, then buy the tractor and save thousands in sales tax. That kind of thing. Again: I can't give you details, but the details are out there, and they can save or cost you a lot of money at the scale you're talking
Best wishes to you!
Thank you all for your replies. I really appreciate the help.
I'm actually an Accounting Software Architect by day so I'm fairly knowledgable when it comes to taxes. I will need some advice on how to legally structure the farm, but I at least know it's a big deal to get those things taken care of. As for the sale, we worked it out so that I just bought the land from the seller and the logger bought the timber. That way I got a $100k discount and never actually possessed the $100k.
It seems to me that there are still too many things that I don't know. I need even more basic first steps help than I thought. My plan now is to go to my local County Extension office and hope they have the knowledge and/or connections to help me. First, I need advice on how to legally structure my farm and insure the land. Second, I couldn't possibly be the first person around to try and make a pasture out of wooded land. Maybe they know someone who do it and they can help me out.
In case this thread is any help to someone else though: I did a lot of thread searching last night and my current thinking is that hiring someone with a big excavator (like a CAT 345) is the best way to go. Those things seem to be able to rip stumps out with ease so it shouldn't take long to get them all. Someone mentioned this earlier in the thread. Great suggestion.
I am glad to hear you are in touch with the financial side of things. We know you didn't ask, but people will try to save you headaches. It's a good thing.
An excavator will make quick work of stumps. 115 acres is a large area to tame all at once, at least by my scale of things. You could focus on a portion, get that part done, then expand. You might have to cut some of the stumps lower, or do some fancy tractor driving, but a bush hog will keep the trees from reclaiming the logged areas that aren't cleared of stumps yet. You don't have to cut saplings close to the ground, say 10", to keep them from living.