Can you make $20,000 Homesteading

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Livingguy, May 17, 2004.

  1. Livingguy

    Livingguy Member

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    Hi,

    This is my first post to the forum. I come from a far off country somewhere in Asia, I cannot express my religious views here for the fear of persecution. I work but hate working in the corporte enviorment. Although I have a good Job here but I feel turned off by the politics,lying, cheating and just about everything I find in these corporates. I intend to immigrate to canada in a year and plan to homestead somewhere may be in Saskatchewan or New brunswick.(I am open to any suggestions as to the place).

    I dont have experience of working in a farm but I have raised and kept chikens many times in my urban house, kept sheep and goats and raised a few veggies.

    I am reading a lot about homesteading and farming.

    I wanted to know is it realistic for 1 person working on a 15-20(Is this size a lot for one person to work on ??) acre peice of land to be able to make
    15,000 to 20,000(canadian) dollars a year.

    I have read pastured poultry and You can farm by Joel Salatin and am wondering are these models replicatable?

    I intend to do chicken and rabit mainly for cash besides a veggie garden, fruit trees and a few dairy goats mainly for own use and to sell any excess.

    I am willing to learn and open to any new ideas.

    Have a nice day.

    Living Guy
     
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  2. I-Koncepts

    I-Koncepts Guest

    I always thought it would be neat a Married couple buys a few acres, and make extra money on the side, by Babysitting kids.
     

  3. Snowdancer

    Snowdancer Well-Known Member

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    Hi Livingguy, welcome to the boards.

    I don't know your age or physical capabilities, but 15-20 acres is a lot of land to work alone. We have 40 acres and it's more than two people can handle at times-of course we're in our 50's.

    Now, if you're able to trade some of the necessary work for maybe produce, eggs or poultry with a neighbor you might have a better chance of keeping up. Certain times of the year are very busy and it's amazing how much work there is to do in each 24 hr day.

    Do you or will you have a tractor and implements or will you be hiring someone else to do the heavy work? If you plan on doing most everything with small equiptment or by hand then I'm going to go out on a limb and say no-one person couldn't keep up.

    I don't know about Canadian taxation but are you talking about making that amount of money before or after taxes?? If it's after taxes that's a pretty ambitious amount to make since I would guess you'd have to make at least 18% more to cover those taxes.

    I'm not trying to discourage you. I wish I had your enthusiasm and drive!! I just don't want you to think you can make that kind of money your first year or two. It can be done but it does take a while to get a base of customers so you need to plan on having money to hold you till the sales of poultry& produce starts to pay for itself.

    Good Luck & I wish you the best,
    Kathy
     
  4. Livingguy

    Livingguy Member

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    Kathy Thanks for your comments, I felt overjoyed when I found this forum, I felt I have finally reached the right place.

    I am 30 and would be probably using a tractor, If that helps. This target of income is not for the first year but this is what I would target to get in my third year.

    But I want to start with a viable model and plan, ofcourse one can always refine and improve the plan, make mistakes and learn but I want the fundamental assumptions to be right.

    I have 2 little children who will keep my wife occupied(she might take a day job teaching at their school) so I am not expecting any help from her on this venture other than prepared food:) and taking care of my sore limbs, any thing which comes would be a bonus.

    My basic Idea is to find a workable model, and then try to learn it, test the components and try to implement it.

    Any recommendation in books/video etc will also be apprecited.
     
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  5. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You cannot make that amount in my area of the country solely from a farm. The most important thing is to have your MARKET lined up before you plant/grow anything. You can have the very best product around but if you cannot sell it it doesn't matter how good it is, its worthless without a buyer. Most success stories I have read come about with a single crop i/e/ garlic, cut flowers, lavender, beef cattle, etc. These folks basically grow for a broker who already has a market for the product so in essence you are still working for someone else. It seems to me that most homesteaders have the outlook/plan of being able to supply their family's food needs so the one working-off-the-place family member's earned $$ goes much further, so you don't need as much cash coming in. Just my thoughts.
     
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  6. Zuiko

    Zuiko Well-Known Member

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    I am not too familiar to either Canada, or this farming thing yet. However I would reccomend living close to a good sized city (we live 25 minutes from Hutchinson, MN 13k people) Hutchinson has 3 Grocery stores, a menards, target, walmart, office max, runnings fleet and farm, etc. We have been reworking buildings to get them ready for animals so we have made several runs to walmart, menards, and runnings. It would be okay if the city was a little smaller and a little farther away, but there are many thing we wouldnt be able to find at the little towns (500-800 people). I would also stress finding cheap land, you will be paying for it for 30 years, unless you have cash or a lot tied in where ou are, so 100/month in payments would make a big difference. The book The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour was interesting. If you get to be self sufficient, then you need some money beyond that for tractor payments, if appliciable, and house payments. I am 17 and still havent moved out, so I am practicing with animals, for both fun and to see how well I can make money, in 3 years, I am planning on moving out, I will just find a cheap little farm and try to employ those lessons, maybe fully or maybe also with a job.
     
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  7. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    If you have a market, Salatin's model will work. His $25,000 in six months figure is based on a few thousand broilers. You would definitely be able to net that within three years, but only if you have people to sell to. It also presupposes that you will slaughter on farm, and you would need help for that. It's just not feasible with two people unless you slaughter a couple hundred birds a week at least. You also need to consider whether you have a good source of bulk feed in your area, a place to store it, and PLENTY of fresh water available to the pasture. You would also need a pretty substantial composting operation to deal with the offal.
    We follow Salatin's model very closely, except we bring them out to have them slaughtered. We would save about $250/100 birds if we did them ourselves, but we just can't swing it with my husband working off-farm.

    Figuring out the numbers in your area would be easy. You can PM me your email address and I can try to email you my expense/profit spreadsheets, as well as an interactive spreadsheet I found on the internet that you can modify for your use.
     
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  8. eb

    eb Well-Known Member

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    Not to hijack the thread, but anyone have any luck finding someplace that will slaughter poultry? On my farm I would like to be able to sell organic chicken, and beleive I would have no problem selling it locally...BUT, I do't want to slaughter any birds (except maybe for personal use), and my understanding is anytime you want to sell products off the farm(meat), it needs to be processed at a USDA inspected/regulated processor...where would I find these? and anyone have any idea how much it would cost to process chickens?

    BTW: I am in Western, Massachusetts (the *other* Massachusetts).
     
  9. eb

    eb Well-Known Member

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    Hello and welcome to the board....

    I think you could make that amount of money, but only if you have a nearby market to sell directly to consumers from your farm.

    My opinion is that if you are selling things wholesale/commodity basis, you would have a very hard time making much of any real money selling just about anything on a small basis

    My opinion, is that you need to have consumers in your area that are willing to pay a little extra to buy direct from your right off the farm...I really like the CSA business model, where you get X number of consumers to pay you "Y" dollars every year for a share of what your produce on the farm....this relieves you of the burden of hawking your veggies at farmstands etc every week...because you pre-sell everything you produce.

    In my area shares (enough for a family of 4) run from $250-$500 or more dollars...so if, for example, you could find 100 families, each willing to buy a share for $375, you would gross $37.5K per year...now wether or not you can have $20K in profit left after expenses is going to be a matter of how well you can keep your costs down...but you get the idea.

    This model works well when you are withing easy driving distance to a good number of people...it works less well when you 1 of 1000 farms in your county with no other consumers around....

    Good luck.
     
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  10. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Ha! Good luck, eb. Our only inspected facility dropped inspection this year. Apparently they're trying to get another one started, but meanwhile...ugh don't get me started. Meanwhile, the state apportions $750,000 to bury rotten potatoes, but we can't get $100,000 to support small farmers... :no:

    As I understand, in Mass, your birds need to be inspected by a Mass Department of Public Health (DPH) inspector, so you need to find a state-inspected slaughterhouse. USDA alone doesn't cut it, though many slaughterhouses carry both licenses.

    You can contact the Department of Public Health, your state Extension service, or probably the Department of Agriculture to get a list.
     
  11. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    I am excited for you exploring your dream and wish you only the best.

    That said, I will say I dislike questions like, "can I make a living on my farm land" since that is entirely subjective. It will all depend on your resourcefulness, skills and willingess to work. So, short answer is, yes, you can make $20 K, you can also make $40 K or $12 K, etc. Only you, your decisions, your choices will limit your income potential.
     
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  12. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    We have a CSA now for this very reason. If you add up $10 an hour for time spent off the farm, it shows you very quickly how retarded it is to engage in any activity that takes you off your land, unless it is extremely profitable.
     
  13. Snowdancer

    Snowdancer Well-Known Member

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    eb, you might want to check out this site, it has links to processors. It's where I found the two(for the whole state of KY :rolleyes: ) inspected processors for my state.
    There's a lot of info for anyone with pastured poultry here, not just processors.


    http://apppa.org/APPPA/resources.htm
     
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  14. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    The USDA, at least, allow processing up to something like 25K birds a year on the farm with limited facilities. That's how Joel Salatin does it on his farm. However, different state add their own rules and regulations. What Joel does in VA might not be allowed by CA. Start with your local county ag agent and work upward on finding out exactly what rules and regulations apply in your situation.

    Time again to make my offer: For a free e-book copy of, "How to Earn Extra Money in the Country", e-mail me (no PM please) at scharabo@aol.com. I will send it as an attachment of about 1 Meg. Due to attachment size, some services, such as free hotmail.com and webtv.net can't handle the attachment. You should be able to find someone willing to download it to a diskette for you. Contains about 500 or so possibilities.

    By the way, I cater to a nitch market by selling shop made or modified blacksmithing tools through eBay. My market is beginners or hobby simiths who don't need a factory made tool. However, on some tools I am the only on-line source in the U.S. I have averaged netting about $1K per month (not including my labor) over the past six months. With Internet selling about the only impact location has on sales is the difference in shipping costs.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  15. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe it's what Ken meant, but check with your extension ag agent, not the state ag guys-at least here in Maine, the extension roots for the little guy; the state ag guys act like they're sent from God to protect the consumer from those money-grubbing, dirty small farmers. You can research your state laws by visiting your Secretary of State webpage, and the laws are usually searchable in the APA rules section.

    Mass laws are similar to ours in Maine, and we have a 1000 bird limit for on-farm slaughter. You still have to get a retail license, have water and septic tested by the state, and you can't take the finished product past your driveway. It's extremely limiting.

    Salatin gets past his state laws by contracting the birds out (presale), so that in theory, the customer is purchasing the birds live. He then offers "free" slaughter as a "gift" to his customers, which precludes him from obtaining a custom slaughter license, when in fact the slaughter is structured into the pricing. He is technically a custom operator (sells live animals). What Joel does in VA is barely legal (if not at all) in VA, but his method is a example of how to secure a blind eye from the authorities by doing things smart--smart marketing, public speaking, customers loyal to his product, national recognition, etc. It amounts to a little technicality and a whole lot of ingenuity.

    BTW, I recommend anything Ken writes. He's got some tricks up his sleeve.
     
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  16. Livingguy

    Livingguy Member

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    Thanks all for your kind comments and help. I am taking notes and will use them to make my plan. A lot to plan I guess, I have never seen a snow fall and Canada will have snow for many months, so the dynamics of the game are different than what I am use to. I will keep coming back for help and will be happy to share whatever little I know.

    Had another question, often websites selling real state, list Property taxes applicable to a pirticular property without mentioning if they are annual or monthly? what is the convention for such things are these monthly or annual taxes? And I understand Income tax will be in addition to these taxes.

    Are there any other county/Muncipality charges which are due on a recurring basis. I know I will have to check the local areas eventually but your guess will be better as I am seas apart in a totally diffrent part of the planet. There is more similarity beteeen Canada and USA compared to Canada and the place where I am now.
     
  17. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Read anything by Joel Salatin.

    I have heard him speak. Basically, he and his wife cut their expenses to the bone, raised most of their own food, and drove a real clunker of a car until they were established. Also, he grew up on a farm so he already had the technical know-how. He is pretty good at sales, too, since he started out selling at Farmers Markets as a kid.

    And, yes, he now makes a VERY good living!

    Remember that almost all of Canada has a short growing season. That means that you plant the tomatos, raise the tomatos, and have just a couple of weeks of harvesting tomatos.

    In California where I grew up, you can plant the tomatos, raise the tomatos, and pick off of the same plants for 7 months. I have seen it done. By the time the plants were killed by frost in December they were HUGE, and by March it was time to buy the plants and plant tomatos again.

    Needless to say, it is easier to make a living with vegetables in a country with a long growing season, and even then it isn't easy to get the customer base before you run out of your start-up funds.

    I cannot give you any specific information on Canada as I do not live there: I will leave that to the Canadians! :p
     
  18. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    My advice would be to seperate the concepts of homesteading and income. Because you're a homesteader does not mean that you have to grow, raise, plant or harvest anything. If your background is in welding (just an example)... I'd forget about being a rabbit farmer.

    $20k a year for a family of four won't get you much in Canada. You may be able to survive on that, but barely.

    cheers
     
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  19. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    Salatin gets past his state laws by contracting the birds out (presale), so that in theory, the customer is purchasing the birds live. He then offers "free" slaughter as a "gift" to his customers, which precludes him from obtaining a custom slaughter license, when in fact the slaughter is structured into the pricing. He is technically a custom operator (sells live animals). What Joel does in VA is barely legal (if not at all) in VA, but his method is a example of how to secure a blind eye from the authorities by doing things smart--smart marketing, public speaking, customers loyal to his product, national recognition, etc. It amounts to a little technicality and a whole lot of ingenuity.

    I know a LOT of folks that do that here in IL, but none to the extent that Joel does... Maybe 25 instead of 25K - at least that is what is admitted to... Under a certain number of 'pieces' (cause it works for things like rabbit, duck etc as well), there really aren't that many rules. But, you'll never make a living at 25 rabbits, or 25 chickens - that's probably why.

    May I second the recommendation for Ken's book?? I still go back to it every time I'm looking to add something new to the repertoire!! Excellent material and great sources!!

    Sue
     
  20. K. Sanderson

    K. Sanderson Active Member

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    I think there is a small misconception here about Joel Salatin's operation. To the best of my understanding (I have two of his books and have read another), he does sell his cattle live and the buyer pays for slaughter. But the poultry operation is quite legal as it is being run. In New Hampshire, where I used to live, we were allowed to sell up to 1,000 dressed poultry from our farm, or at Farmer's Markets, without having to get licensed and inspected. It varies from state to state, as others have mentioned, and I believe VA is one state that allows a higher total.

    Before you decide where to live, I suggest you decide what you want to raise, and make sure the legal situation, the markets, the climate, and the soils will work for you. In deciding what to raise, keep the labor situation in mind. If your wife is fully occupied raising small children (and they *are* a full-time job), then you need to plan your enterprises around the amount of labor you can provide by yourself. Eventually perhaps your children can contribute (I really recommend Joel Salatin's ideas on this issue), or you may become profitable enough to hire help. Or you might be able to take on an apprentice or two.

    I hope things work out for you!

    Kathleen