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Senior Advisor
Posts: 3,228
Registered: ‎04-30-2010
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Re: Need Advice From Experienced Farmers

David,

Starting from scratch will be tough.  An apprenticeship will be a good way to get your feet wet and find out what you like and don't like.

What are your goals?  Let's say you'd like to work on the farm, have a family, send your kids to college and enjoy a long and happy life with retirement.  Many of us have those dreams.

What do you have to offer?  Youth and health (but what about health insurance), a little money, enthusiasm, and labor.

What will your competition have?  Experience, land, money, connections.

What kind of farm enterprise (besides growing weed) wll bring in a good income per acre?  This is a key issue since you are not going to have access to a lot of land.  You have to max out what you have.  Sounds like some kind of flower, vegetable, small animal, etc.  Look for niche markets.

20 acres at $5,000/acre is $100,000.  

Some get a good job that takes care of the basic income and health insurance, then farm after work and on weekends.  Maybe a shift job so you can farm during the day.

If you are going to be small and specialized, you may end up in the organic or similar niche markets.  This site here is more or less straight, conventional farming.  You'll get better advice by talking to people like the Joel Salledins, Rodale, Grass Farmers and such.

If you are looking at a certain area, go to the land grant university web sites for those areas and look for their offerings on the kind of ag you think you'd like and be interested in.  All of them will have new and beginning farmer programs, will feature information on niche markets and so forth.  When you get close to being ready, they have Farm Management program people who can help you run the numbers for some of your interests.