How agriculture works thread

Torvy

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Looking to purchase a Compact Tractor in 30-50 HP range.
I'm not an expert in Ag economics, but I would think for most applications, 20 acres does not provide enough economies of scale to make money. Some of us just like to grow stuff and play with equipment in our dotage.
 
  
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ArlyA

ArlyA

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I'm not an expert in Ag economics, but I would think for most applications, 20 acres does not provide enough economies of scale to make money. Some of us just like to grow stuff and play with equipment in our dotage.
We don't know they were trying to make any $$$.
 

buckeyefarmer

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Farms make money?
 

sixdogs

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Not sure if anyone mentioned the KatesAg website but it is very interesting and growing rapidly. It's dryland farming in Montana growing wheat, lentils, etc. Kate is maybe age 17 or 18 with wisdom far beyond her years and plenty of true grit. She is going places in life. It's worth a look.

 

5030

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Every good running, profitable farm I know of (including mine) has a fifth of Captain Morgan spiced rum next to the coffee pot in the shop. Beats creamer hands down.
 

sixdogs

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Every good running, profitable farm I know of (including mine) has a fifth of Captain Morgan spiced rum next to the coffee pot in the shop. Beats creamer hands down.
I used to work for a business that had a string tied to a nail and ran over and behind some filing cabinets. No big deal but we no one was allowed to touch that string. Odd, I thought, but the people that worked there were kind of strange so it so it was OK.

Well, come the Christmas holidays and celebration, the owner came in and pulled that string up from behind the cabinets. Tied to the other end of it was a bottle of either Three Feathers or Wild Turkey. Then he passed out some unexpected cash $$. Strange place but good times.
 

paulsharvey

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I might have missed it, but I read the first 30 or so posts and skipped to the end but;
1) Size needed to make a profit can wildy depend on what your growing. 80 acres of corn is hobby/fresh market kinda operation, but 80 acres of blue berries is a good sized farm. Ive read that Hoppes is becoming a pretty profitable crop up north for all these yuppy beers, and I don't think those are 10000 acre fields.
2) Leasing; land, equipment, contracted planting, contracted harvest, ect. With peanuts, its often not the farmer's equipment, labor, ect harvesting, its contracted out. Lot of guys don't own the land they farm. Also, leasing tractors, pickers, ect is very common. You pay more, but you are not paying depreciation on a 500k piece of equipment that might sit 95% of the year
3) haven't seen anyone mention pine trees, thats agriculture too; and I think a lot of people pigeon hole farming to mean row cropping
4) you can't lock people into one type of crop; if cotton is paying, plant cotton, if peanuts are paying, grow peanuts; if opening a weekend mud bog pays, you open a weekend mud bog; if you grow corn cause grandpa grew corn, it might be because your ground it suited for it, but if next year, there are better options, you need to be prepared to take them.
5) around here, and lot of the heavy Civil contractors and road builders got there start in farming; open a barrow pit, sell fill dirt, do trucking, and it gradually becomes the main business

Edit: One thing that helps, is if there is off season cash flow, from corn mazes, barrow pits, mud bogs, hunting leases, dirt bike races, gun ranges; land has value beyond just growing crops
 
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paulsharvey

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Speaking of different types of farms; one of the guys at our office used to work on a worm farm, for live bait; another worked at a rodent farm, raise feed rats for snakes/lizards. Another guy I used to work around had owned a small chicken and egg operation, but he said with only 200,000 chickens, they couldn't make it work. He told me you need atleast 1,000,000 chickens to make it profitable. Was on a project once, and an old retired chicken farmer told me that in the 80s, a power outage cost him between 2-3m chickens. If those blowers aren't running, it's a count down to a massive die off. Don't know what 2-3m chickens are in % of his total flock.

Another project, building some apartments, we leased a couple acres for a lay down yard from an old retired farmer. He was in the process of selling property off for development. I kinda said 'thats a shame' or something like that. He said, why, its just land, I can sell 20 acres here and buy 1000 acres in Oklahoma with the same money. I think we developed around 40 acres of his old cabbage and potatoes field, into a 240 unit apartment complex, and there where two 20 acres pieces he sold off, getting developed into town homes.
 
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