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  1. #51
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,807
    Location
    S. W. Virginia
    Tractor
    Kubota B3200, Ford NAA, IH 454D, Case 1845C

    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Quote Originally Posted by CJMomo View Post
    Our situation is we are about to inherit an 80 acre farm that has been growing hay for many years, and 20 years ago also had cattle on part of it. My husband and I have absolutely no experience or knowledge on farming of any kind. We have always wanted to get into it and have dreamed of moving to the farm. (My husband lived there for many years when he was younger).

    Basically my questions are- is it insane for us to think of taking over the farm and doing the haying ourselves with (at the moment) no experience or knowledge on farming? We are hoping to have enough time to learn what we can, but we aren't sure what time we have before we have to do something one way or the other with the farm. We have also considered raising cattle.

    Our other option would be to lease the land to someone who knows that they are doing, but all the research I have done doesn't come up with that make enough money for us to be able to have that as an actual income. Am I right in reading that you either crop share or cash rental (which comes out to very little income)? Or do you do a cash rental plus a percentage of the crop? We don't intend to make a ton of money at any of this, but in order for us to keep the farm it would have to produce enough income for us to live off of that solely. Otherwise we will be forced to sell and that is the last thing we want to do.

    Any advice or info is greatly appreciated.
    Before you go any farther, there is a book you need to read: "You Can Farm" by Joel Salatin. If you follow that model you most certainly can make a very lucrative living on 80ac if you are willing to work hard. I have zero connections to Joel, not trying to sell his book or anything, but I have several of his books and what he talks about really makes sense.

    My wife and I currently own a tiny 12ac farm, milking two cows, raising a few for beef, chickens for eggs, garden crops, and a little bit of hay sales (we have another 20ac or hay/pasture we use). This is our first year at our new place, but in the years to come I have no doubt we could make a decent living even off such a small amount of land. I will say, however, there is a bit of a learning curve. My wife and I both grew up on farms and agriculture is our life so we knew exactly what we were getting into. Again, pick up a copy of that book, it'll give you some really good info on all this.
    Kubota B3200
    Ford NAA Jubilee
    International 454D
    Case 1845C skid steer
    JD 265

  2. #52
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    40
    Location
    Fenton, Mi
    Tractor
    Kubota L2550GST(4wd), Mitsubhish MT160D (4wd)

    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Ok, I will pop in my 3cents From what I am reading you seem to have made up your minds about this. Life is far too short! I think everyone should try new things. Start a new chapter... i did. I did my first 50 bales this year. All you need is to be handy, smart, and have a strong work ethic. You will make mistakes, and learn from them. My favorite quote goes like this. "Life is a tough teacher! You get the tests first and the lessons later"

    My other favorite farm'ism goes like this - " remember: when working with farm equipment, every machine on your land wants to kills you. It's a dire expression about double checking everything over and over. Establish a farm protocol for safety.

    Keep us posted. Let us know how it all goes. You should do a farm journal or blog. Lol. The first 100 days as a hay farmer.

  3. #53
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    3,461
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Tractor
    JD cut

    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    I think it helps to recognize that any agricultural endeavor for profit has a strong element of gambling: weather; price of fuel, equipment, seed, and fertilizer; market availability; market price of your product.

  4. #54
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    4
    Location
    Canfield OH
    Tractor
    ford 3000 JD5095M, 1500kabota, ford 600

    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Sister,,,the words haying and Profit,,are seldom seen together,,,

    If I were attached to the land, I would set aside an area for you and hubby to visit , maybe put up a "katrina-trailer" for weekend visits,, rent out the land,, to keep it in ag,,to keep property taxes low, as far as cash rental and percentage of crops,,that depends on your area,, in NE ohio I here $30 an acre to $60,,$50 in my area,,
    I'm not being a downer,,but it would be tough to make enough income on that acerage,,

  5. #55
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    117
    Location
    Mississippi
    Tractor
    Massy Furgason 396, ASV-100 with Cimaf, D9H(Frankenstien), D9G(Rusty), D6D(troublemaker), and JD 6420P :)

    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    i do at least 2000 acres a year in Bahaya grass, 80 acres is very hard to lay into a good profit margin if you want good equipment. i sell my square bales for 5 bucks a pop and my huge square bales for 300-350, the main thing is trying to find a market and make sure you have demand, my demand is high because of Mississppi beef farming and most of the time these guys would rather buy than make. but just keep in mind equipment breaks down, and if you dont have any mechanical know how your going to be paying alot for repairs and parts. but take it as you will, if you have alot of free time you can do it and make good money like me, or you can just lease it and make money off of the other guys.

  6. #56
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Montrose, CO
    Tractor
    Kubota

    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    I imagine that a lot of what people have said on both sides (do it - don't do it) is correct based on their experience, location and level of knowledge. To give advice is difficult since none of us know your financial details, stage in life, income needs, specifics on the land in question, etc. Someone may already have suggested this, but if your state has a good Agricultural Extension Service (associated with a land-grant college) you may find someone there who can help you work through the difficult topics such as agronomy in your area, financial planning for a farm that size and so forth. Unless this farm would put you in the poor house if it didn't work out, I'd agree with the person who said "life is short," so don't pass up pursuing a dream that you've had all your life. I live on 80 acres that is not agriculturally productive (as in producing real income), but I wouldn't trade it for all the city lots in town. If you can afford it, learning as you go and overcoming the challenges (and failing now and then) might be enough to make it all worthwhile.

  7. #57
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    5,657
    Location
    Cedartown, Ga and N. Ga mountains
    Tractor
    1998 Kubota B21, 2005 Kubota L39

    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Last we heard from the Original Poster was better than a month ago, I'll guess they made their decision. Hope it all works out.

    MarkV

  8. #58
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    410
    Location
    Inland Portugal
    Tractor
    NH TCE45

    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    You can do it. Many of us started with no capital and have had to buy our way in. Since you own the farm outright you cannot have a total failure if you do not borrow. I believe that is the most important point for you because it is extremly unlikely that you will be able to service the repayments. Do not give up before you at least give it a try.

    You will not make a "liveable income" from the property according to the standards of most people, but if you can live on a very small amount of money you should survive. There are some costs which you will have as others have already pointed out. I have no knowledge of what these mandatory taxes etc. amount to, but presumably you do. You must be able to cover these every year. Is it possible for one of you to have paid employment at least in the early years? I have had to work off-farm myself from time to time so know it is not ideal, but I was able to keep farming.

    Lack of experience is, of course, a drawback, but there must be someone who is a friend of the family that is willing to give you advice. The basics are, stick with what you already know the farm can produce. Grow as much of your own food as possible. Do not rush to buy a lot of stock. Make sure you have two years' feed in hand. Hay will keep a long time if kept dry and vermin free. It can often be more profitable to feed it to your own stock rather than sell it. Learn to live on minimal income. Begin your planning now.

    Best of luck to you and whilst I lack US experience I have farmed in several countries, so contact me direct if you wish.

  9. #59
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    19
    Location
    Dallas TX
    Tractor
    1968 FORD 4500 FELB 1968 Massey 1100, 1959 Massey 35, 2000 Kubota B7500HST, 1987 Kumatsu D20-PL6A, 1974 Sears Garden tractor, 1982 Gravely 5260 , 1965 Gravely Model L DOE

    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Every part of the country is different so farming is different everywhere. I know from personal experience with my brothers 300 cow Vermont dairy farm that he is barely breaking even most months and works 16 hour days almost all the time. There is a terrific article in the November issue of Texas Monthly mag. which is on their website called Git Along, Lonesome Ranchers. The author interviews owners of old multi generational huge ranches and owners of some much smaller hobby ranches. The bottom line is you have to love the lifestyle and be willing to work harder than you have ever worked before if you want to make due on the land. It may mean working a part time job in town for one or both of you to make ends meet. Another great read is Buffalo for the Broken Heart: Restoring Life to a Black Hills Ranch by Dan Obrien on Amazon.
    It is a life changing decision and I hope it works out for you. A lot of wise folks have given their opines here. This is just my 2 cents worth. Best wishes.
    John

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