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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
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    Default small scale farming on the cheap?

    Thinking about getting into small scale farming. Part of it is for the paranoid end of the world prepping, but mostly because I'd like to turn a little profit on unused land. I have access to land. Much of it wooded and or rocky, but I can work up at least 40 good acres, probably much more. What I lack is the machinery and experience. I can fix and maintain old equipment well enough, but don't have access to anything right now other than a 25hp CUT with a noisy hydraulic pump.

    What crop is the cheapest to get into and can actually turn a profit?

    I think corn and potatoes tend to be what is grown around here. Its a fairly cold climate. I am leaning towards corn since it has more uses than just for eating (heating a livestock), but what does everyone think?

  2. #2
    Super Member bp fick's Avatar
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    Default Re: small scale farming on the cheap?

    As much as I love to teach and encourage the rural/Ag lifestyle, I find it extremely hard to answer a question(s) such as this. The cost of gearing up, from scratch, would likely mean decades of indebtedness which isn't going to help sooth your "end of the world" sensibilities.

    The learning curve is pretty steep on the knowledge side of things and the investment/return curve is worse on the financial side of the equation.

    Having access to land suggests you're not the owner? If you were, I'd suggest a path of learning through renting it to someone with the equipment and know how to assist with the learning curve.
    BP


    "Some chickens, some gardens and a Kubota."

  3. #3
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    Default Re: small scale farming on the cheap?

    Father's land. My aunt rents out about 20 acres for corn. I was hoping maybe I could get old "undersized" harvesting and planting equipment for a few grand. Much of the land I am thinking of using was hay fields back in Grandpa's day (he liked horses, now long gone), and I even helped out for a little bit when I was real young, but I don't think hay is the way to go for my purposes.

  4. #4
    Super Member smstonypoint's Avatar
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    Default Re: small scale farming on the cheap?

    I will second BP's comments.

    You didn't say where you are located, but the agricultural economics department at your land-grant university may have resources on its web site geared toward limited-resource farmers.

    Given your situation, the chances of you making a profit from producing any of the major ag. commodities (e.g., corn, soybeans, wheat, etc.) are slim -- maybe not zero, but close to it.

    Depending on your location, your business skills, etc., there may be profitable opportunities in producing and marketing specialty/niche products. Some ag. economics departments publish prototype enterprise budgets for these products.

    Good luck.

    Steve

  5. #5
    Gold Member Localmotion's Avatar
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    Default Re: small scale farming on the cheap?

    If your aunt already grows Corn on part of the land - I's suggest that would be a good crop to start with. Hopefully you have a good relationship with your aunt - so could share machinery or contractor costs?

    Have to agree with the other posts here though - getting started is the hardest (and most expensive part) - so any help from family and neighbours including shared machinery use or discounted bulk seed purchase etc will help...

    Look foward to following your progress - hope you can post some photos sometime?
    Check out our website: http://localmotion-spain.co.uk

  6. #6
    Elite Member Redneck in training's Avatar
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    TYM 330 HST with FEL

    Default Re: small scale farming on the cheap?

    We have about 30 ac of crop land. Since it was laying fallow for many years we planted round up ready soy two times in a row and we might might do it at least one more time. The reason is getting rid of weeds by spraying round up after weed emerging. Since it was still quite weedy even after round up our yields was less than optimal. Despite that we made reasonable net profit about 7K. We sold the beans for 12.50 bushel. We do 50/50 with our neighbor. We have the land and he has the machines and does the work.
    I would also recommend to join forces with somebody who is knowledgeable and learn from him/her before investing in machinery.
    I think sweet corn is quite profitable if you have the time to sell it by the road.

  7. #7
    Elite Member Duffster's Avatar
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    Default Re: small scale farming on the cheap?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck in training View Post
    We have about 30 ac of crop land. Since it was laying fallow for many years we planted round up ready soy two times in a row and we might might do it at least one more time. The reason is getting rid of weeds by spraying round up after weed emerging. .
    Beans three years in a row?

    Why not some RR corn or a herbicide other than RU?
    "If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking." George Patton

  8. #8
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    Default Re: small scale farming on the cheap?

    My Aunt rents her land out.

    I don't think sweet corn by the roadside would be all that profitable around here.

  9. #9
    Elite Member Duffster's Avatar
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    Default Re: small scale farming on the cheap?

    Quote Originally Posted by Groo View Post
    My Aunt rents her land out.

    I don't think sweet corn by the roadside would be all that profitable around here.
    Why not?
    "If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking." George Patton

  10. #10
    Super Member bp fick's Avatar
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    Default Re: small scale farming on the cheap?

    Truly profitable small agriculture enterprises focus on speciality. One of the finest programs, that has included research, a funded study and continuing education in this field is the University of Wisconsin. If you have an interest, you might spend some time studying this. If you find you have genuine interest, I believe they offer a 3 day course of immersion study.
    http://www.cias.wisc.edu/wp-content/.../grwr2grwr.pdf

    This national site might also pique your interest and getting thinking.
    List of Alternative Crops and Enterprises for Small Farm Diversification
    BP


    "Some chickens, some gardens and a Kubota."

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