Any small time farmers here?

SniperGod
SniperGod

I recall an user stating he grew lettuce in a small-scale operation.

I've come to terms with never finishing college since I can't afford it and will be too old for it to be professionally relevant if I keep chasing a career that requires it, but I'm curious about what small-time farmers can net if growing something like spices.

My city has a farmer's market open May-Nov IIRC. The plot of land I'm looking at is $30,000 (1.9 acres) and properly zoned for it.

Other urls found in this thread:

youtube.com/user/urbanfarmercstone
permaculturevoices.com/grow-better-not-bigger-the-market-gardener-selling-140000-on-1-5-acres-pvp051/)

Bidwell
Bidwell

I'd really like to move nearer some friends in Oklahoma (currently in TN) and pursue community college MAYBE while working, but kinda want to give this a shot, depending on the revenue streams. I'll try to crunch some numbers in this thread. I was considering Indian Corn, since the normal stuff is grown in the huge dozens-of-acres plots all around where I live. That and soy.

Playboyize
Playboyize

I've come to terms with never finishing college
I think you should talk with teachers about how you can salvage what you have done so far, perhaps the courses you have taken could contribute to another qualification

nice quints

I expect the market for most produce is highly competitive, you should probably try to find or create a new market, for instance for pickled goods. If that sells then it is just a matter of growing your own produce locally and specializing to cut down costs, with a successful product it will be easier to get a loan from the bank also.

Methnerd
Methnerd

i hear of people making $100,000 farming small plots of land and selling to upmarket organic restaurants frequented by yuppies.. if you can capture that market, sounds good

Snarelure
Snarelure

talk to teachers

I have, the issue is that due to family junk spilling over into finances/scholarships and my living in a different state, I can't afford to finish my degree where I started it, and not everything transfers properly to this state, so I'd have to redo about a semester. Ideally my family could help out considering the whole fiasco is in part due to them being less-than-honest, but I'm trying to just move past the college thing now until I make decent money and want to do it for personal accomplishment reasons.

pickled goods.
Sounds somewhat interesting. My current intent is to find something that's not too terribly difficult or finicky as a crop, since I don't have much in the way of farming past a backyard garden.

I unfortunately don't live in an area with a huge booming upscale restaurant market; I'd have a hard time supplying locally to them, since they've been in business for years, though I'd have farmers markets and will look into other sales venues before committing to tying down myself to some land.

Firespawn
Firespawn

1.9 acres isn't much. You would need at least 3-5 years until you're experienced enough to make a living with this kind of "job"
work a good job without a college degree and above 45k per year and have the "farm" as a side business.
Earnings depend totally on what your able to generate in your market.

Flameblow
Flameblow

there are a few with websites and youtubes. i have watched a lot fo this guy
youtube.com/user/urbanfarmercstone

OP, if you have $30k, or have the ability to get $30k (to buy the land) you might want to consider getting a hydroponic or aqauponic system if you are growing lettuces & greens. the soil & pests add a layer of difficulty and unpredictability to the venture. utilising X-ponic means you can have total control over the fertilizers & nutrients the plants get, you won't need to work with the seasons to get crops and most importantly you can work your crops at a much higher density than in the ground, thereby increasing yields and income.

other crops you might want to consider are sprouts and micro-greens. these can be grown in trays and stacked on shelves. if there are lots of farms or small holdings you might also want to look at sprouts as animal fodder, sprouted wheat or sprouted barley. there is info online about it.

chillies are a on-going meme product and you can easily start a chilli farm in pots in a greenhouse. other good crops might be ginger and turmeric. turmeric is getting more and more press and a market for fresh turmeric might or might not arise at farmer markets. if you could grow that you might be onto a good niche.

TalkBomber
TalkBomber

have the ability to get $30k (to buy the land) you might want to consider getting a hydroponic or aquaponic system
i meant to say get a hydroponic/aquaponic system and rent the land instead of buying. rent a brownfield site or something

whereismyname
whereismyname

Your plot of land is not farmland....30k is an extremely high price for farmland because you are using development land. Have you seen tests of the soil composition to see what could grow there? If it's shit soil, you could spend an additional 5-30k reintroducing topsoil and nutrients. Plus, you need to consider the fact that you need bumper crops so you'll need to switch what you grow so the land doesn't become desolate. With lettuce in general, id say you'd expect about 52,000 heads if all land is used which means you'll need a market. If you sell them yourself you'll make more if they are organic but you'll lose a majority of your stock due to rot/spoilage. If you sell them traditionally, expect about 0.04 - 0.3 per head.

w8t4u
w8t4u

I'm not a small time farmer, my father is an executive of a company which is one of the largest seed distributors/raisers in the us. Average farm land goes for 3-5k an acre which is typical while virgin high tested and high yielding plots go for 8-12k an acre. Renting would probably be more viable and you could get your specific plot for about $2,000 a season to see if it works out. For small plots of land, I would recommend growing high yield/high profit crops such as okra

Deadlyinx
Deadlyinx

Are there any truffle farmers around here?

Booteefool
Booteefool

Are there any truffle farmers around here?
I kind of want to start growing mushrooms. Someone here said they grew reiki and sold those.
Is there money to be made? Like full time job money?
I personally love them (all mushrooms) so maybe it's something I should try out.

girlDog
girlDog

You are not going to be able to make a living farming on 1.9 acres of land. Do you even have any equipment? And 30k is a helluva lot for that little of land

Methshot
Methshot

I farm ginseng on 8 acres of land in Eastern Iowa U.S. - I purchased my property for $4,200 per acre at auction where I was expecting it to sell closer to $5,000 per acre. However, I had the edge as I didn't need developed land and part of the land is on a shared hill. The people I was bidding against were people that were wanting the property for hunting.

I grow ginseng on a 7 year crop rotation and my ginseng is identical to people who find mature ginseng in the wild.

I'm selling dry mature ginseng at $320/lb, and I cultivated 980 lbs from a single acre after 7 years last year. I only harvest 1 acre per year.

BlogWobbles
BlogWobbles

so 44k a year gross? I suppose that's not awful but i hope you're getting some kind of subsidy because that's not enough to run a business on a 7 year cycle

Fried_Sushi
Fried_Sushi

Sell ornamentals. Plants are serious work and take a long time to grow.

askme
askme

You don't start a farm to be rich; you start a farm so your children can be rich. Private agriculture, as always, is all about establishing and maintaining a dynasty. If you want YOU to be rich, consider a different course.

Source: stereotypes and common sayings, also my uncle hails from a farming dynasty and says the exact same shit.

Firespawn
Firespawn

Thanks for all the help, guys. I didn't recognize the price was so out of the norm because in my area, the only fuckhuge plots have a better cost/acre but are a shitload of acres.

Searching around finds more fairly priced land, but it'd require a move. Also no, I don't have equipment, though there might still be some in the family, if my grandfather's stuff hasn't been sold or left outside to rot after he passed.

I'll look into hydroponics

WebTool
WebTool

I harvest an acre each year, it took 7 years to harvest my first one. I made about $100k from an acres' worth of ginseng (dry). This year I will make more. Hopefully next year I will be approved to export my ginseng to a company in Hong Kong who pays double what I am currently selling it for due to it's maturation.

But yeah, the first 6 years I didn't sell anything so I didn't make any money.

Techpill
Techpill

I could give you some input if you're still around OP.
I'm from a small rural area but with lots of farming land. And this guy is right

It's set up by someone older in the family for younger generations to carry on. Of course you can always make money by getting your organic niche which is great. But usually the move is: 1 guy gets a small amount of land and does back breaking labor and slowly gets more and does even more labor. Then has kids(boys) and teaches them how to do it. Now they have enough experience and resources to make it take off and expand it into a huge company that gets passed down through the family as long as someone doesn't fuck up.

The good news is that there's a great opportunity here for guys that want to get into farming. Most of these farmers are getting old and their kid's and grandkid's don't want to be stepping in cow shit everyday to make money, they want to go get a finance degree. So these older guys are sitting on a ton of land that they can't do anything with and will sell it for stupid cheap. Plus the younger generation not wanting to do shit in agriculture means it's a great time to get into the game.

Avoid row cropping like it's the plague. Way to easy to go broke doing that. Like mentioned organic veggies is huge right now. Especially stuff like tomatoes that you can grow year round.

DeathDog
DeathDog

I'm still around, and thanks for the input.

As far as farming being more of a field (no pun intended) for the prosperity of descendants, I suppose I'm fine with that. I honestly have just sort of been knocked off my train of thought with university being such a debacle, and I'm not really sure what I want anymore.

I remember the other user saying organic isn't particularly tough to get into. He'd recommended either leafy greens or spices.

If I get into it, I'll still likely need to get into a different trade or finish CC for seed money, anyway. That pun also wasn't intended, but because I'd need to move to a different spot of the state. Average rainfail is around 50 inches here, if I'm not doing hydroponic stuff.

Ignoramus
Ignoramus

Yeah definitely start small. I'm the same way, if my career field isn't working out I'll go back to farming. Organic actually isn't tough at all but yet it sells for way more(thx yuppies). Yeah all the leafy greens/spices/kale/lettuce is great mostly because there isn't as much startup required.
You could also look into beekeeping especially since a lot have been wiped out.

Soft_member
Soft_member

That's another thing I've wondered; at what point does farming become automated, so to speak?

Surely the guys with farming dynasties aren't out on the fields in their day-to-day at that point. I can imagine there's some point where you start being capable of scaling labor. Also I guess it somewhat depends on your crops how much "off-season" time you get.

iluvmen
iluvmen

Oh yeah it's all about automating. It really depends on what you're doing. Overall I'd say you need some ingenuity. Like one of my friends has 12k chickens and every single bit of running them is automated. It has all the bells and whistles. He had some engineers come set it up for him and it cost about 500k. However it only takes 2-3 people to do every single thing and he'll make that 500k+ back very quickly.

However if you're doing something like row cropping it's much, much harder to automate. You just get more land/better equipment and hire more mexicans. That's why row croppers can go bankrupt with one bad season because of all the running costs, fuel and employees.

If you're getting into organic/hydroponics you'd do stuff like adding arduinos to control pumps and measure PH levels, etc.

It's all about what you choose to go after: livestock, plants, etc. Everyone is for the most part almost entirely different in how you automate it.

kizzmybutt
kizzmybutt

You've been pretty outspoken against row cropping; is there a way to get a higher yield per acre without an exorbitantly higher startup cost? I imagine building stuctures for hydroponics gets costly.

Snarelure
Snarelure

Most family-owned farms will go out of business in the next couple of decades. Huge companies that produce GMOs in bulk will dominate agriculture. The only thing you can hope to make money off of is a niche market, like organic. I'd suggest moving to an urban liberal location like Portland and starting up a hydroponics system in a greenhouse. You'd be close to consumers and could change your crops to any new food fad, like kale.

LuckyDusty
LuckyDusty

I intended to look for a niche, yeah.

ZeroReborn
ZeroReborn

People have made decent money with market gardening on a scale like that (e.g. permaculturevoices.com/grow-better-not-bigger-the-market-gardener-selling-140000-on-1-5-acres-pvp051/) but it will take some time to get set up. If you build a cheap place where you can live on your acreage, you should be able to work a day job and keep your expenses low while setting up the farming business.

BinaryMan
BinaryMan

Bumping because I'm still researching land and the like at the moment.

I'm hoping to get a into CC in the spring, mayhaps, if only because I'm literally lost without the tertiary education meme. I might move to OK, but I certainly won't be in a farmland-buying position if I do.

Bidwell
Bidwell

Do corn, but you can also grow pole beans, and squash, all in the same spot. Look up the three sisters guild. Right there you have an additional two crops you can harvest and sell

viagrandad
viagrandad

Gotcha. Second question; if row cropping can be a bad time, what about those rimol containers?

Lunatick
Lunatick

I ask because I might be able to do one or two of those in preexisting land the family owns.

idontknow
idontknow

Go hydro. Look into DWC deep water culture. This gives you complete control of your crops. Also Hydro speeds up plants maturing. I'm a dip shit and even I managed to set up a small system.

I have been day dreaming making this my own business as well. Where else can you turn a penny into a $1.50 in 5 weeks? Like you hurting on seed money.