More and more people are leaving the cities and buying small rural properties.
How do you make best use of a small holding? Can you actually make a living on 5 acres?
Here's a 5 acre farm plan to help them (and maybe YOU) manage a micro-farm to create a sustainable, profitable business.
To start, let's set some basic assumptions in place:
Assumption 1. The farm will be 'natural': We will use organic and sustainable methods to the degree feasible. If you live where you work, you don't want to introduce toxic substances into the environment.
Assumption 2. Integrated production of livestock and vegetable crops: Livestock animals are beneficial on a small farm, provided you raise them properly. This means raising them outdoors and not in confinement. And the livestock will add another valuable income stream to your micro-farm.
Assumption 3. This is a business, not a hobby: No business starts up without some idea of where customers will come from, or how much revenue is needed, or who will do the work needed on your 5 acre farm. This means we need to think about planning, marketing, and management as well as production.
OK, with these basic assumptions in place, let's look at the plan.
***** Important May 2020 Update*****
New Terra Farm has a new venture this season; we are preparing to launch our legal cannabis start-up, TNT-Buds. We were medical growers for a number of years, the herb helped Suzie tremendously with arthritic pain.
We appreciate your support, funds from book sales are going to help us contribute to the legal cannabis market, which I think is a worthwhile and needed thing.
Happy Growing, Scott & Suzie
Here are the pieces of your 5 acre farm:
Here's a list of the minimum basic equipment needed to efficiently manage your mini-farm:
Here's how it all goes together:
Let's assume you are following the Community Supported Agriculture model for your small farm. Here's a quick breakdown of the revenue possible from the above plan.
CAUTION: this is an example only, actual income will depend on your market, your model, and your skill as a grower. Expenses will probably go up as you add enterprises as well.
Total sales = $115,000
This is not the limit; you could add bedding plants for the spring, or a fall planting of garlic, or value-added products for the winter to the mix.
You could have laying hens in an 'egg-mobile' in the summer, and house them in the greenhouse in the winter. You could raise bunnies on pasture in movable rabbit pens, like Joel Salatin.
Lots of possibilities, limited only by your ability to manage.
If you are considering a move to the country and plan to buy a farm, this article has some information that can help you through the process. Read it here
So, what else do you need to consider when you buy a hobby farm?
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