Farming Thread

Tail Gunner

Hummingbird
Gold Member
kel said:
Frankly, even sweeter would be if I could hire someone with experience to do it with me.
I own a farm in Latin America that is professionally managed for a split of the profit, which means that there is a tremendous incentive for the management company to maximize their success (literally, no crop production = no payment). Farmland is one of the best investments in the U.S.

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1) Next, start a farm in a foreign land where both the cost of land and the cost of labor are one-quarter to one-third of the cost in the U.S. or Canada. This results in U.S.-type profits on steroids. Plus you can afford far more land.

2) Next, use cutting edge technology. If I told you the full potential with emerging technology, you would not even believe it. This new technology is really amazing. Less water. Greater yields. Greater profit.



3) Next, grow high-demand high-priced exotic fruit, instead of competing against giant agricultural corporations growing wheat or soybeans.

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4) Next, grow organic fruit that have even higher prices -- and have a huge (and almost exponential) future growth potential.

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Of course, there is still far more to consider. For example, I have four redundant sources of water. I have no intention of living on hope, like some farmers in the U.S. Midwest: "Gee, I hope it rains this year -- or I might lose the farm."

I give farmers who actually farm their land a great deal of credit (at least those who do not suckle at the nipple of socialism by extracting subsidies from taxpayers). I would not want to do it. But absentee farming can be extremely lucrative if done properly. Obviously, Mother Nature can be a real bitch. I wince every time I read a story about locusts, which is actually happening right now in east Africa. God help them.
 

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kel

Pelican
Tail Gunner said:
I own a farm in Latin America that is professionally managed for a split of the profit, which means that there is a tremendous incentive for the management company to maximize their success (literally, no crop production = no payment). Farmland is one of the best investments in the U.S.
I'm mostly interested in doing it myself because it's a lifestyle I want to adopt (living somewhere more rural, being a little more self-sufficient) and I want to do rotational grazing of (mostly, at least) grass-fed ruminants (to heal the land and to make good food).

But this is all very interesting. How do you scout out all that and get involved in investing in it? Seems like a lot of risk, too, and a lot of due dillience needed. Which is to be expected, but compared to "place a limit order on FB", it seems complicated enough to not know where to start.
 

Tail Gunner

Hummingbird
Gold Member
kel said:
Tail Gunner said:
I own a farm in Latin America that is professionally managed for a split of the profit, which means that there is a tremendous incentive for the management company to maximize their success (literally, no crop production = no payment). Farmland is one of the best investments in the U.S.
I'm mostly interested in doing it myself because it's a lifestyle I want to adopt (living somewhere more rural, being a little more self-sufficient) and I want to do rotational grazing of (mostly, at least) grass-fed ruminants (to heal the land and to make good food).

But this is all very interesting. How do you scout out all that and get involved in investing in it? Seems like a lot of risk, too, and a lot of due dillience needed. Which is to be expected, but compared to "place a limit order on FB", it seems complicated enough to not know where to start.
Extreme due diligence is required -- for the jurisdiction, the farmland, the legal issues and the rule-of-law, the management company, crop selection, water rights, etc. Once all that is accomplished, however, the risk is minimized.

For example, like what I said about having four redundant sources of water. You do not simply buy a nice looking plot of farm land and then hope that it rains. Start with a country with a strong rule-of-law, which treats foreigners mostly like it treats its locals.
 

kel

Pelican
Tail Gunner said:
For example, like what I said about having four redundant sources of water.
Yeah, water is something I think about a lot for my personal farmstead. Looking for a place with a pond, both for water and to use as a geothermal well (not sure how deep a pond needs to be for that).

Doing all this in some other country I don't live in seems very daunting as someone with a full-time job, but I admit I'm interested. I'll keep researching. Please post more here if/when you do another.
 

Tail Gunner

Hummingbird
Gold Member
kel said:
Tail Gunner said:
For example, like what I said about having four redundant sources of water.
Yeah, water is something I think about a lot for my personal farmstead. Looking for a place with a pond, both for water and to use as a geothermal well (not sure how deep a pond needs to be for that).
Learn how to think outside the box, too. For example, you do not necessarily need to buy a place with a pond. My brother bought a place with a natural spring. He then dug a pond that was filled by the natural spring water. Then he filled it with trout.
 

kel

Pelican
Tail Gunner said:
For example, you do not necessarily need to buy a place with a pond. My brother bought a place with a natural spring. He then dug a pond that was filled by the natural spring water. Then he filled it with trout.
A natural spring would be even more choice than a pond. Digging is my plan, in any event, on the land I'm looking at now which is near a lake, too. I can capture a lot of the rainwater that flows through a depression towards that lake.

Greg Judy, who makes good videos about rotational grazing, mentioned once that he rented land for grazing from someone for a few years in exchange for agreeing to dig them a pond on that land.
 

kel

Pelican
Speaking of springs, btw, there's a website findaspring.com to locate public springs near you. I go occasionally and fill up a big water cooler bottle with spring water near me.
 

PUA_Rachacha

Woodpecker
Have any of you guys watched The Biggest Little Farm yet? I thought it was really well done, albeit quite romantic about the farming lifestyle. My wife and I watched it, and we had different takes on the film: for me this is something I would love to do given the rewarding challenges every day, being out in nature, and experiencing what God has created in such a visceral way. My wife just thought that it was a lot of work, although she is down for us starting a homestead when I'm in the tail end of my career (around 10 years from now).

I've been wanting to farm like this since devouring The Omnivore's Dilemma 10 years ago. I was pretty close to leaving my corporate gig behind to venture on this path, but the big bucks ultimately dissuaded me. I don't regret the choice that I made since I'm pretty financially stable nowadays, but I have never let go of my dream of becoming a farmer. But I'll much more likely become a gentlemen farmer who is mostly sustenance farming.

Here's the trailer. I highly recommend anyone who is remotely interested in farming to watch the film.

 

kel

Pelican
I watched Biggest Little Farm. It was fine but I was over it pretty quick. I can imagine it would be very inspiring for me a few years ago, but I already went down the youtube farmstead rabbit hole and have been converted.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
Anybody ever look into Alpacas?

I don't think its up my alley unless a couple on the farm just for fun. There seems to be a lot of chicks who are basically obsessed with them. You have to market them yourself, but definitely some tourist bucks for having a few alpacas.


This farm in Ontario Canada has a little shed out back they Airbnb to people who want to spend a weekend with an alpaca. This farm also charges for having some dedicated alpaca time.

Alpaca Shack Rental - $75/night side income
 

PUA_Rachacha

Woodpecker
kel said:
I watched Biggest Little Farm. It was fine but I was over it pretty quick. I can imagine it would be very inspiring for me a few years ago, but I already went down the youtube farmstead rabbit hole and have been converted.
Converted to what?
 

kel

Pelican
PUA_Rachacha said:
Converted to what?
"Converted" meant playfully. I became intrigued by farmsteading and particularly rotational grazing and, since then, have been laying the groundwork for my own farmstead where I raise sheep and layer hens.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
One of these JD 410 balers is for sale back near my hometown for about $1500, I will have to check condition. Might be handy to do my own baling. I am creating a pasture this year so can bale it up and keep the ole' baler on hand for whenever needed.


Anyone worked with this baler or baling in general?
 

billbudsocket

Robin
Gold Member
NoMoreTO said:
One of these JD 410 balers is for sale back near my hometown for about $1500, I will have to check condition. Might be handy to do my own baling. I am creating a pasture this year so can bale it up and keep the ole' baler on hand for whenever needed.


Anyone worked with this baler or baling in general?
Can you take the cows to the grass vs. grass to the cows? Feeding bales in a bale ring just makes a muddy mess. If the cows eat on pasture they fertilize your fields and stomp carbon into the ground.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
billbudsocket said:
Can you take the cows to the grass vs. grass to the cows? Feeding bales in a bale ring just makes a muddy mess. If the cows eat on pasture they fertilize your fields and stomp carbon into the ground.
That is actually my plan, except bison (not cattle). In my first year, I have to establish my first pasture, let it root in. So I will want to bale that first year up and bring the livestock on.

The process could repeat or if I convince my family to let me put in some forage over there.
 

Laner

Hummingbird
Gold Member
NoMoreTO said:
billbudsocket said:
Can you take the cows to the grass vs. grass to the cows? Feeding bales in a bale ring just makes a muddy mess. If the cows eat on pasture they fertilize your fields and stomp carbon into the ground.
That is actually my plan, except bison (not cattle). In my first year, I have to establish my first pasture, let it root in. So I will want to bale that first year up and bring the livestock on.

The process could repeat or if I convince my family to let me put in some forage over there.
For that price its worth having around. Like all farm equipment, it will need work and some instruction from the seller on how to use it - farmers are notorious for 'tweaking' things.

We get 7 hay harvests a year here. That converts into money and feed and is good for the soil to do every so often. All my family that have cattle or horses also have hay fields. They put animals out to pasture for sure, but sometimes you need to bring them to you. Milking is one of them.
 

kel

Pelican
NoMoreTO said:
That is actually my plan, except bison (not cattle). In my first year, I have to establish my first pasture, let it root in. So I will want to bale that first year up and bring the livestock on.
How big is your land? I'd like to hear more about your whole operation, as someone hoping to get some land and start doing rotational grazing of sheep with pastured chickens following them a few days behind. Always good to see how other people are doing it.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
kel said:
NoMoreTO said:
That is actually my plan, except bison (not cattle). In my first year, I have to establish my first pasture, let it root in. So I will want to bale that first year up and bring the livestock on.
How big is your land? I'd like to hear more about your whole operation, as someone hoping to get some land and start doing rotational grazing of sheep with pastured chickens following them a few days behind. Always good to see how other people are doing it.
I actually am just getting started myself. I was hoping to work about 100 acres of family land but family politics didn't play out as smoothly as I thought it would.

I ended up recently buying a small farm with what can only be called a house on it that isn't salvageable. I've got an offer accepted for this 90+ acre parcel, there are 50 workable acres there. The field is oddly shaped but overall I am pretty excited about the property. I am working on financing so I will know for sure in another week or two.

I am hoping to put some pasture in this year and get things rolling, but depending on timelines might just cash crop it for a year and plan.

I'm looking primarily into Bison at the moment. The other big part is the possible construction of the home (that'd be another thread).

So how do you rotate sheep and chickens through the same land? What is your idea?
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
Laner said:
For that price its worth having around. Like all farm equipment, it will need work and some instruction from the seller on how to use it - farmers are notorious for 'tweaking' things.

We get 7 hay harvests a year here. That converts into money and feed and is good for the soil to do every so often. All my family that have cattle or horses also have hay fields. They put animals out to pasture for sure, but sometimes you need to bring them to you. Milking is one of them.
Then I'll need a mower, conditioner/tedder/rake.
 

kel

Pelican
My plan is to do daily moves - maybe even twice daily at first when I'm full of enthusiasm and looking to get experience - of the sheep and then four days later send chickens through that same paddock. The idea is flies lay their eggs in the sheep shit and after four days the maggots are juicy. The chickens scratch through the shit to get a healthy meal and spread the shit around in the process to even out the nutrient distribution.

I'm very interested in bison but they do need a lot of land, which it sounds like you've got. I don't know where exactly I'll end up, but it'll probably only be on 20 acres or so. Funnily enough, I was hoping to buy some land my family had that's gorgeous and really the kind of place I'd like to live. There's not much land there, but everyone along that stretch actually owns a long, thin plot of land and most of them only use part of it (where there house is), so I could probably rent this unused land off adjacent people for dirt cheap (previously they, like my family, had just let a nearby farmer grow hay on it to save themselves the trouble of having to maintain the land as required by the HoA). It doesn't look like that's going to work out either. That would've only been six acres, and in a place with very harsh winters, but still a gorgeous place that I wouldn't mind living at all. Oh well.

Speaking of winter, I'd like to do year-round grazing, which is allegedly possible, though then you're underutilizing in the summer and if I'm on a very small plot that might be prohibitive. In general figuring out carrying capacity, vegetative productivity, knowing how big of a paddock to make based on how much grass is there and how fast you think it's growing elsewhere.... Mike Bloomberg should really give it a try sometime if he thinks just any idiot can do it. And that's coming from me, a computer programmer, the highest and most rarified of intellectual pursuits according to him.

Here's a short film about regenerative farming and sustainable agriculture, including a couple doing bison (skip to 5:45). It's a bit hippie-dippy but still inspiring.
 
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