Is a Hobby Farm for profit or just pleasure? Can’t it be for both or must I choose one or the other? What would it take for me, or us as in the case of Pauline and myself, to make it pay? What options do I have. What can I raise and what do I do with it then.? These and probably many others are all good questions and ones you should be asking of yourself if you are considering Hobby Farming?
My Opinion? First off lets determine what a hobby farm is to insure we are talking or even thinking about the same thing. Hobby Farm; The name itself implies something that is done more for the pleasure of or enjoyment derived from it than the potential income to be obtained. A HOBBY farm is small acreage. Most are 10 to 15 acres at the most. Now there are others with larger acreage say 35 to 50 that are thought of and operated, primarily, as a hobby and some no doubt larger still. But there are others smaller as well, One two acres or even a residential lot. Small acreage seems to be the rule. But I think the original question posed is can a Hobby Farm be profitable. And if so will it be from livestock or vegetable farming or a combination of both.
Lets look at it for a moment. The average household, in the US at least, gives a lot more thought to the source of the food they eat and serve to their families now than they did even a few years ago. When I was coming up we raised a lot of our food. We always had a garden and we always had a pig or two, a calf or two and a few chickens. We always had a couple of dogs too but thankfully things never got that bad. (You can smile now). There were two dominant influences in these choices. First and probably foremost was that even though both dad and mom worked paying jobs they did not make a lot of money. There were six kids raised over at least two generations. The other factor was they had both come from a farming background. They knew how to raise and put up food. They were accustomed to doing that, so they did. They were not concerned with the pesticides that went on the vegetables or the additives in the animals feeds. They knew what it was because we were the ones that controlled those things. Today there is a lot more concern over these issues. So the average household now looks a lot more for sources of food that do not have unwanted pesticides and or food additives: The local Farmer’s Market. Organic farm to store produce stands. Farmers that raise, slaughter, process, and market farm grown meats of many varieties directly to the consumer. So is there a chance to make money on small acreage? I think so but how and doing what?
We’ll start with vegetable, or what was referred to as truck farming, at one time. In this case raising enough of the right crops to satisfy the markets in your local area. In the traditional sense that would require more than say 10 acres we discussed earlier. Most profitable farms are now thousands of acres. Yes there are still those with a couple hundred or less but not like there once were. So How? There is something called Intensive Gardening
l intensive gardening
that if practiced allows for the production of a lot more produce from a much smaller parcel than was once thought possible. Often practiced in just the back yard of a residential lot. If you would like a little more information check outhttp://hobbyfarmlife.com/intensive-gardening-spring-is-coming/. Tie that in with companion planting and maybe you have a start. http://hobbyfarmlife.com/good-news-for-gardening/. I said might now! Remember this is a hobby.
Ah, but you would rather raise animals than dig around in the dirt all the time. They are less work. You just put them out in the field and let them take care of themselves. You might want to do a little more research on that!!!!!!!. But you think maybe that is what you want to do so let’s take a look at that as well. Remember you may only have 10 to 15 acre, at the most, to work with.
Cows! Farms always have cows right? Ok the market for beef has been good the last couple of years. A cow takes one to two acres of good pasture per head for year round grazing and you will still have to buy hay for the winter. You are right there are smaller breeds to be had http://hobbyfarmlife.com/heritage-breeds-what-why/ . For the smaller operation self sufficient farming several of the older breeds of different animals make sense to me.
OUR DEXTER CATTLE
ME AND THE CHICKENS “my best side”
Chickens? How about chickens; eggs or fryers? Another possibility. You now find the bird itself, both alive and already processed for sale at farmer’s markets and flea markets regularly. Organic eggs as well are readily available as well even in the super markets now. And a good price is paid. Another chance or opportunity depending on how you look at it I guess. What else?
Well there is always rabbits. What can we do with them. They come in all shapes and sizes and colors some are even grown for the length of the ears. For meat for fur for pets even the skin may be marketable. I already have some info on that so I’ll pass that along to you here and save you having to look it up. http://hobbyfarmlife.com/rabbits-for-fun-and-profit/
That leaves goats. Being as diverse a culture as we are we now have a lot of people that want goat for meat and for milk. They, the goats, eat a lot less than a cow so you can have a lot more of them than cows. The milk is reported to be excellent and have some health benefits over cow milk. Of course the same can be said for cow milk. Anyway I did a little research on that awhile back as well but am going to let you look that one up for yourself. Can’t make it too easy for you. http://hobbyfarmlife.com/milk-goat-cow/ OK so I lied to you! Goats are very diverse now to. Big goats, little goats, dairy goats, meat goats. There is even a fainting goat. Guess that is nature’s answer to playing possum for the goat world. Come to think of it I caught a picture and short info clip a while back on a goat that ways 800 pounds. They are bigger than my cows. It may have been in Russia or in northern Europe somewhere.
I’m not getting into Imus, or Alpacas, Llama, or Ostrich. Why? Because I know less about them than about these other animals we looked at. So that about ties it up. Think about it. Do some research and you decide if you can make your Hobby Farm profitable while living the good country life.
Let me hear from you. I won’t know what you think unless you tell me. Just leave me a comment or email.