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Old 12-04-2012, 07:08 AM
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Help Need help have a farm, but what do I farm?

I have 13 acres that has a farm number. I have aporox 15 months to put something in place before my husband is out of work and will have to travel. I love my job but would quit to go with him if I had to.

We are working on chickens right now. We have talked about rabbits. I usually grow a small garden the deer eat most stuff up so have ro keep it to stuff they wont touch.

Anyone with insight or ideas how we can make enough money on our farm so that he does not have to travel. Post here or pm any ideas are welcome and appreciated

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:32 AM
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In what part of South Alabama do you live? I live in South AL - the Florida/Ga/Alabama tri-state area. This won't be producing money in 15 months but I would highly recommend blueberries and thornless blackberries. We are planting that on some of our land. It takes a bit longer to get established than row crops, but after the initial investment you don't have to keep planting year after year. Blueberries are becoming a big crop in our area and they have opened a processing plant. But you can also do a u-pick operation. I have a source I can refer you to for the plants. A person in Georgia that we buy from. She sells the plants for around $2-2.50/each, which is a good price. Both blueberries and blackberries are well adapted to the southern climate so they're fairly easy to grow and easy to do so organically and you don't have to use pesticide b/c the bugs don't bother them. I'd recommend a dog to keep the deer at bay. We haven't had a problem with deer but I think that is in part b/c we have a small breed of dog that is known to hunt and she chases away anything that comes through our yard.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:36 AM
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Oh - and as far as chickens go - you won't be able to make money on them. We've had chickens the last 3 or 4 years and even if you hatch your own you won't come out ahead. The cost of feed is just too high. I can buy chickens and eggs at the grocery store for less than it costs me to feed the chickens (when you consider the money you would save raising your own chickens for meat or selling the eggs the cost is higher than purchasing at the store). We keep chickens b/c we love them and we want to have the ability to produce our own meat if the economy continues to worsen, but it is definitely not something you can do on a small scale for income. If you were large scale and could buy feed in bulk you might have a chance but buying in 50 lb bags from the feed store - no way you can compete with the large producers.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:57 AM
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Could you do greenhouse growing or hydroponics? that would keep the wildlife/deer away.
My thought is growing plants like at Disneyworld. could be done year round. Think of commercial possibility... Grow and learning farm, enlist help of local agriculture students.
Use as field trips for the community & schools to learn how to grow their own food supplies. End of the field trips, folks can buy fresh grown produce. Or expand into a lunch stand
mini restaurant to grow yr own food supply and sell yummy food to visitors. In my area, Hubers and Stumlers family farms in Starlight Indiana have a pick yr own farm and family restaurants, hay rides, winery, ice cream shop, cheese shop, gift shop. Possibilities are endless!

Shhhh! Be va-wee, va-wee quiet. Dee is shopping for bargains!


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Old 12-04-2012, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnisaS View Post
In what part of South Alabama do you live? I live in South AL - the Florida/Ga/Alabama tri-state area. This won't be producing money in 15 months but I would highly recommend blueberries and thornless blackberries. We are planting that on some of our land. It takes a bit longer to get established than row crops, but after the initial investment you don't have to keep planting year after year. Blueberries are becoming a big crop in our area and they have opened a processing plant. But you can also do a u-pick operation. I have a source I can refer you to for the plants. A person in Georgia that we buy from. She sells the plants for around $2-2.50/each, which is a good price. Both blueberries and blackberries are well adapted to the southern climate so they're fairly easy to grow and easy to do so organically and you don't have to use pesticide b/c the bugs don't bother them. I'd recommend a dog to keep the deer at bay. We haven't had a problem with deer but I think that is in part b/c we have a small breed of dog that is known to hunt and she chases away anything that comes through our yard.
My Husband has a good friend who's family has been in the cattle business for decades. They own a few thousand acres here in the central Florida area. 2-3 years ago they dedicated some of their land to blueberries and are now selling those as well.

As smart business people who have the means to do whatever they want, they chose blueberries. So, there must be some good money in them.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnisaS View Post
In what part of South Alabama do you live? I live in South AL - the Florida/Ga/Alabama tri-state area. This won't be producing money in 15 months but I would highly recommend blueberries and thornless blackberries. We are planting that on some of our land. It takes a bit longer to get established than row crops, but after the initial investment you don't have to keep planting year after year. Blueberries are becoming a big crop in our area and they have opened a processing plant. But you can also do a u-pick operation. I have a source I can refer you to for the plants. A person in Georgia that we buy from. She sells the plants for around $2-2.50/each, which is a good price. Both blueberries and blackberries are well adapted to the southern climate so they're fairly easy to grow and easy to do so organically and you don't have to use pesticide b/c the bugs don't bother them. I'd recommend a dog to keep the deer at bay. We haven't had a problem with deer but I think that is in part b/c we have a small breed of dog that is known to hunt and she chases away anything that comes through our yard.
Sent you a pm: thank you

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Old 12-04-2012, 11:02 AM
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My husband has lured the deer in there because he loves to watch them. So I can't blame the deer because they eat my stuff. good idea about growing stuff. Cattle, I'm not so sure about as I don't have a clue about them.

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Old 12-06-2012, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnisaS View Post
Oh - and as far as chickens go - you won't be able to make money on them. We've had chickens the last 3 or 4 years and even if you hatch your own you won't come out ahead. The cost of feed is just too high. I can buy chickens and eggs at the grocery store for less than it costs me to feed the chickens (when you consider the money you would save raising your own chickens for meat or selling the eggs the cost is higher than purchasing at the store). We keep chickens b/c we love them and we want to have the ability to produce our own meat if the economy continues to worsen, but it is definitely not something you can do on a small scale for income. If you were large scale and could buy feed in bulk you might have a chance but buying in 50 lb bags from the feed store - no way you can compete with the large producers.
I have to disagree with this. People will pay more for free range chicken. People will pay more for farm fresh eggs. You'll need to pass whatever regulations your department of agriculture has in place for poultry farming. Cleanliness, spacing, disease testing etc.
I make money with chickens. I am in my 3rd year. The bulk of the start up costs was the housing. Now, I will admit my husband is fanatical about structures on our land so we spent more on this then most people. You can find lots of plans for pallet coops online (made from old wooden pallets) or you can find free playhouses on Craigslist and modify them.

I have Guineas, ducks and 3 breeds of chickens. Close to 80 total currently. I have several incubators. I sell a few thousand of their children a year...more and more each year as I expand. I started with a free website, some free vistaprint business cards and a big mouth. lol I talked to everyone I met at feed store and chicken swaps and networked like crazy. I don't do meat or eggs, only chicks. (I do ship hatching eggs) I also have worked hard to have good quality 'show' stock in 2 of my breeds, so people drive for hours sometimes to pick chicks up.

As any type of farm you're probably not going to pick one thing and just start making money like crazy the first year. You'll probably want to diversify a bit and chickens can make their own money if you have a useful or popular breed. I know people that sell hundreds of meat chicks every week spring through summer. If you want to add chickens to your farm, message me and I'll be glad to help! Most of the farms I know that make good money stick to organic principles and sell at farmers markets and to fine restaurants.

See whats going on down on the farm!
www.MuranoChickenFarm.com
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:41 AM
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Depending on what kind of area you live in or if you have specialty restaurants close, you could grow some specialty herbs or veggies. If you are near a large city, the farmers market is a great place to sell specialty items. Chefs will pay for exotic fresh garlic, herbs, tomatoes, potatoes and edible flowers.
Human hair spread around gardens is a great way to keep deer away. Everytime we cut our hair we put it around our fruit trees and garden.
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:22 PM
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It may take longer than 15 months to get it up and running but growing a diverse bunch of crops using a permaculture system would work really well for the size of your farm. The basic concept is blending perennial crops like berries, fruit trees, nut trees, veggies along with herbs, annual veggies and animals to create a long term sustainable farm.

Succession planting is easy to do down south. Using row covers, cold frames and green house would create year round production and let you minimize the struggle with the extreme heat in the summer.

These concepts are organic and even if you don't go through the trouble of getting certified you can let your customers know exactly how you grow your food.

You have enough room to grow quite a bit of food for your chickens. The chickens can become an important tool in pest reduction and improving the soil. If you can free range them they will be much cheaper to feed and they eat garden pests.

Aquaponics would be a great option for growing tilapia fish and using the waste water to grow salad greens.

If you can have some bee hives. Honey and bees wax are great products and the rest of your farm will appreciate the bees.

You will be better off growing a diverse selection of crops.

I would check out
Growing Power
they do amazing things on just a few acres in Wisconsin.

Four Season Farm - Welcome to the site of Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch
He and his wife grow food all year in Maine!

Joel Salitin does amazing things with meat production but he has great info on chickens, pasture maintenance, and other great ideas of maximizing production on the cheap.


If you plant shrubs and trees research putting in swales to reduce the need to water them.
Swales For Water Harvesting
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