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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Farming Full Time

I am asking you a question that I have been asking myself for 2 or 3 years now.  When does one know when to resign from his full time off the farm job to become a full time farmer.  My off farm job pays extremely well but has rotating hours and that coupled with farming can be stressful on the family.  I've been married 20 years next year and my wife is all for the move.  The farm is 750 dryland acres that are family owned, and the farm has been operating debt free for several years now.  I've got equipment to expand my operation at least two fold, and possibly even 3 fold if I were doing it full time.  I've got no livestock at this time, but at one time we ran a 250 head cow/calf operation as well as a 1000 head feeder operation.  All grassland is currently rented to a neighboring producer, so I could slowly work my way back into the livestock sector.  Anyone have any advice that could be beneficial?

10 Replies
ihmarty543282
Senior Contributor

Re: Farming Full Time

Seems to me all the ingredients are in place to go ahead with it. Sometimes in life you just have to say "it`s now or never"................

BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Farming Full Time

Sounds like you have a great opportunity with family land that won`t be taken away, your wife is all for the move.  Life is really short and you don`t want to be on the deathbed asking "what if?" If you were starting from scratch and the little woman wasn`t supportive, I`d have a different answer.  Good Luck.

Nebrfarmr
Veteran Advisor

Re: Farming Full Time

If there is grass left on that grassland, and it doesn't start raining, and soon, there are going to be some very decent brood cows coming to sale, at some real bargain prices.

Last year, in the fall, I saw bred cows bring $2400, last week, the top was $1100, and fair to good ones were less than that.  The price has literally dropped by half, around here.  Granted, the ranchers sell off the older cows first, but they are still of good breeding, and their calves should make good replacements.  If you have winter feed, in the next 30 to 90 days may be a good time to get some.

As for the crop ground, I guess just run the numbers through for typical yields, and see what it looks like, maybe a local Co-Op has a spreadsheet that uses local prices, expenses, and yields.

Jim B. in Iowa
Senior Contributor

Re: Farming Full Time

To me, the opportunity presents itself when you can make (or not lose) more money from the extras or timeliness on the farm for doing things that you don't have time to do now.  If you can do your own spraying, baling, lime, etc and what you save over hiring this done pays for what you lose from no job, its time.  If the job is costing you timely planting or harvest, and that is costing you more than you make, its time. 

 

Thats the business side anyway.

 

 

If you still have kids at home that would benefit from you being around more...perhaps its time as well. 

Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Farming Full Time

Thanks for the insight Neb, I was actually considering buying a few bred cows yet this fall.  I don't have enough feed stock on hand for a large herd, but I should be comfortable with 12 to 15 head.  Possibly 20 if I decide to graze some milo stalks.  I will have around 240 acres of milo stalks if I want to graze it all, but I would need to move the herd around during the winter months and haul water to a few of those locations.  I guess I need to decide how hard I want to work this winter.  I will not borrow money for a large herd, so maybe I should stick to around 10 head or so on this first year.

Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Farming Full Time

So far, I have been able to do all the required work for my existing acres.  My issue with this in the past was spraying, but I bought a large self propelled field sprayer last fall, and it has been a God send.  I can get over all my existing acres in about 1-1/2 days.  This would even be faster if I had a holding tank for a quick refill.  My only method of reload now is throw the garden hose in the sprayer.  Hurry up and wait so to speak.

Nebrfarmr
Veteran Advisor

Re: Farming Full Time

With cattle, it is better to start off small, especially when you are buying your first ones.  You never know what you are going to get.  Nothing like buying 50 bred cows, and having to  pull 45 calves, and have 5 c-sections. 

If I had any advice, it would be to watch for a 'dispersion' type sale, as those are generally the cows the owner would have kept for themselves, if they had enough feed.  My thoughts are the more gentle the disposition, the better.

Jim B. in Iowa
Senior Contributor

Re: Farming Full Time


@Shaggy98 wrote:

So far, I have been able to do all the required work for my existing acres.  My issue with this in the past was spraying, but I bought a large self propelled field sprayer last fall, and it has been a God send.  I can get over all my existing acres in about 1-1/2 days.  This would even be faster if I had a holding tank for a quick refill.  My only method of reload now is throw the garden hose in the sprayer.  Hurry up and wait so to speak.


 

 

If nothing else, buy a $400 1500 gal vertical tank and set it near your faucet.  Then get a pump and an injection cone to hook to it....at least you have a load of water sitting there each time you return. 

Nebrfarmr
Veteran Advisor

Re: Farming Full Time

What works well, on the cheap, is a cattle watering tank, I think a 10 footer holds close to 1000 gallons.  Clean it up, put on one of those floats that clamps to the top so it won't overflow, and drop a sump pump with a 2 inch hose into it, and fill your tanks up in 1/4 the time as the garden hose.

Of course, it was 'on the cheap' for me, because I already had the tank, float, and sump pump sitting around.