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Old 03/28/12, 07:32 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Best place in America to homestead?

Hello all,

My wife and I are really considering a shift to a self-sufficient life in which we grow our own food and raise chickens, rabbits and goat (maybe some beef too). We currently live in central Texas on about 2 acres in a residential neighboorhood where we can grow vegetables and have a small number of chickens, but we want to buy about 20 acres where we can really go self-sufficient (maybe even get off the grid totally). I wanted to gather opinions about where in the country would be the best place to look for a 20 acre ranch to be able to homestead most effectively? We need to keep the cost per acre pretty low, and we want to find the best conditions (rainfall, long growing season, good soil, etc.) Any advice is welcome.

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Old 03/28/12, 07:53 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Saint Albans, Maine
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Saint Albans Maine;

Only 15 minutes from the Interstate and no zoning... a building permit is still only $5.00.
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Ken In Maine
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Old 03/28/12, 08:13 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 3,232
Originally Posted by Ken in Maine View Post
Saint Albans Maine;

Only 15 minutes from the Interstate and no zoning... a building permit is still only $5.00.
How much is the land up that way - way too much snow for my liking....short growing cycle.
Be a fountain, not a drain!

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Old 03/28/12, 08:15 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 3,232
Alot of things to consider.....what will your source of income be, you will need income besides the farm? You will need to look at sales tax, state income tax - alot of factors besides the cost of land.

Hubby and I picked Ky because there's no state income tax on retirement income. The land was affordable and we lokied the seasonal change..... We paid $42,000 on 46 acres of raw land. No bldgs, no barn, no nothing. In 1996...
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Old 03/28/12, 08:23 AM
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Location: Illinois
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Mid-western Illinois has been GREAT, so far.
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. Barry Goldwater.
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Old 03/28/12, 08:34 AM
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Location: Oklahoma
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Parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri would be my best recommendation. Some of these places are very rural and there's no zoning, no permits, and cheap land. Keep in mind you might live next to a meth lab but homesteading can be cheaper in these areas.

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" James 5:16
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Old 03/28/12, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Dawsonville. ga
Posts: 408
i cant give you a "best state". But I will give you a region to start to look at. I would consider the appalachian mountains. Land can be real cheap its usually great soil and perfect for goats "if you see that in your future". Here in the southern region of the mountains we have really good growing seasons and its easy for your animals to be primarily on a pasture diet. Its something to consider
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Old 03/28/12, 09:50 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SW Nebraska, NW Kansas
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Personally, I'd suggest the central Great Plains. Generally, only towns will have zoning/permits/fees, rural areas are left to our own devices. Land is pretty cheap if you buy range rather than tilled (we paid $16K for forty acres a couple years ago) and if you put some effort into compost, ALL soil bcan be good.
Plus, if you choose one of the sparsely populated "frontier" counties, neighbors are far enough apart they still value one another. The word "neighbor" is both a noun and a verb
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Old 03/28/12, 09:52 AM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sandhills South Carolina
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My wife and I asked ourselves this same question before we picked up and moved. We did a *mountain* of research and settled on the Carolinas.

Here's why we picked South Carolina:
- There's two complete growing seasons (Yes! Two!)
- Land is cheap and plentiful (dirt is about $1000/acre, price goes up with timber value or location)
- The Summer is the wet season (when everything needs water. Brilliant design, eh? )
- Cost of living is low
- The early major settlements were the Carolinas. The land is given to growing just about anything you'll need to garden

We're sold on South Carolina, but any of the Southern states would really provide the same things.
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Old 03/28/12, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: New York
Posts: 1,708
The "Eden" you are searching for I believe is unattainable although:
Most every place that there is a person "homesteading" has it's good and it's bad points - just ask them......
Its either: to hot and humid in the summer, to cold and snowy in the winter, there's the threat of tornado, hurricane, earthquake, flooding, drought, etc happening, lets not forget taxes, zoning, neighbors, isolation or not, rocks or clay, and more.....
But other than that, where they have set down roots is great, ideal, couldn't have found a better place, works for them, etc.............

With all this I do hope you find your "Eden" as I found mine in Cent NYS......
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Old 03/28/12, 10:29 AM
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Location: middle GA
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I think just about anywhere in the south/southeast works. You usually get 2 crops, although you have the heat, you don't have as much trouble with drought, although Georgia has been in drought lately. Even the southern parts of the midwest, although I don't know how much land is going for there.
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Old 03/28/12, 10:45 AM
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Location: Kansas
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I live on 1 acre in Kansas.

On this lot I could raise enough vegetables for my family of 5, as well as providing enough feed for a few layers. 4 hens would give 2 dozen eggs a week.

If I had another acre I could raise grain as well: corn here yields 150 bushels and acre and wheat perhaps 50????

In other words you can do an aweful lot with your 2 acres, if you did not have a mortgage and utility bills. If you homestead in Texas, WATER would be very important!

I think that an income would be the most important thing, as nails are not free. Neither are salt, gasoline, taxes, medical bills, and so forth. Some homesteaders have a very TINY income, but all homesteads must have some.
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Old 03/28/12, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Oklahoma
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If I wanted to stay in Texas I would consider NE Texas. Beautiful and lots of water. If I move it will get prime consideration.
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Old 03/28/12, 11:21 AM
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Location: Zone 8a, AZ
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So what you want is a slice of perfection for the cost of a slice of non perfection. Hmm...that will be tough. When I lived in MT we had inexpensive land, some water, isolation, not too far from town, no near neighbors, no zoning or building permits, no sales tax free firewood and WINTER THAT LASTED 7 MONTHS A YEAR. Someplace you gotta find "most" of what you are looking for and some that you can just deal with. Good luck to you though.
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Old 03/28/12, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Keep the weather in mind - it is hot and getting hotter in many parts of the country, and tornadoes are in many places where they weren't before. If I were going to leave upstate NY for warmer weather, I think I would look in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, someplace where there is warmer weather than here, but not too hot.
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Old 03/28/12, 05:19 PM
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Thanks for all of the great input! Right now we are hot on looking at 20 to 40 acres in Southern Missouri, but that might change. The only down side I can see right now with Missouri is the slight possiblity of a tornado, but I need to do much more research. Just to answer the income question, I am about 10 years from retirement from teaching at a large Texas University which will give me about a 65% pension (plenty for two to live on). Any additional suggestions are still very welcome.
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Old 03/28/12, 07:10 PM
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Location: West Central Arkansas
Posts: 3,615
The quality of life is where you should look. You already have a great place, you just don't know it. Look at the climate you want. Look at the land and what you want to do for your selves on it. I have a couple of friends that make a living Market farming and only use at the most one acre of 5 acre farm and 7/8 of an acre out of 23 they lease. Living being 20 -75 grand depending on what they grow and how much. Type in Ozark Alternatives and Foundation Farm to verify. Good luck with your dreams. By the way the best homestead in the nation is mine and it is already taken.
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Old 03/28/12, 07:50 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: South Texas
Posts: 948
Before you buy in Southern MO, look at the soil. Lived there for 10 years and got so tired of dealing with the rocky thin soil. No matter how many rocks I picked up, there were more behind them. Fence posts were near impossible to put down and the rains washed away any amendments we added to the dirt. We did garden but it was extremely hard work and not always a good outcome. Moved from there to southern Texas and I have found my eden. We have 17 acres next to an irrigation canal. In addition, we have a well so we water all we want and keep things growing year round. There are no rocks in the soil and it is good black delta soil (cameron county). I can literally see my garden grow by the day. We have a milk cow that does great on just the bermuda grass here and the horses love it. Cost of living is low and we have no trouble finding cheap farm help when needed. It is hot but I like it hot and never have to deal with cold or snowy winters again. If you have never lived north of Texas, you might want to visit during a cold snap to see if you could even stand it. There are lots of farmers markets around should you decide to sell there. The land cost more than in MO but then you can do way more per acre than we could with our mountain of gravel. The key here is to make sure your land has irrigation of some sort.
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Old 03/28/12, 08:19 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 6,322
Not here. We've got 2 seasons: winter and August. Water is hard to come by and expensive. The area is overrun with people who saved all their life to be able to come here and retire and they are all terrible drivers.
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Old 03/28/12, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by oregon woodsmok View Post
Not here. We've got 2 seasons: winter and August. Water is hard to come by and expensive. The area is overrun with people who saved all their life to be able to come here and retire and they are all terrible drivers.

Exactly right.
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