Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,214 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I saw where unlike everywhere else in the nation, the states that make up New England actually have more farmers this year than last. Why do you think that happened there, and why do you think it cant happen elsewhere?

It said that almost all of the new farmers are in there 20s/30s. And most of there farms run from 5 to 50 acres.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
I'm hoping that they're artisan farmers with crops or goods for a niche market. Like fine goat cheese, milk fed pork, grassfed beef, organic veggie CSAs, or medicinal herbs. (Not weed. ;) )

I'd love to see more young people get back into farming. Getting into Big Ag is problematic for young people. But growing for niche markets is quite possible. And those who enjoy their products are fortunate indeed.
 

·
I calls em like I sees em
Joined
·
13,912 Posts
What Horseyrider said. They are close to some huge population centers, where people can afford to and are willing to spend for artisan food products.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,424 Posts
I'm curious about the criteria for being classified as a farm. FBB indicates these farms range from 5 to 50 acres. Do they have to show a certain amount of farm income on taxes or just register in some way as a farm?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
292 Posts
I'm a young(ish) New England farmer. I'm 34 and my wife is 26. We own 80 acres in Vt where we farm some veggies and sheep for farmers markets and local resale. We produce quite a bit of hay which we sell mostly to horse people.

The reality is, the jobs that our parents had ( you know the ones that they kept for 40 years and got paid a livable wage ) they just dont exist anymore. We had to find other, more creative ways to make a living. We don't make much but we get by, our freezer is full and our house stays warm in the winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,864 Posts
I'm curious about the criteria for being classified as a farm. FBB indicates these farms range from 5 to 50 acres. Do they have to show a certain amount of farm income on taxes or just register in some way as a farm?

I think if you are producing a sizable portion of your own food and spending a good portion of your time to do it, you are a farmer in my book.

There's some people here, I'm trying to remember the guys name he's pretty active with posts here...arty or something with an A. He posted some amazing pictures of his operation, acres of veggies, cattle, pigs, chickens. And he spends alot of time canning and etc. It's all for him and his family. Now is he NOT a farmer because he doesn't resell his product but consumes it directly?

I don't believe that the only legitimate 'farms' are those who sell their food for money to buy other things. I think if we were to take a tally of ALL farms we'd be surprised at how many people are farming.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,864 Posts
...Why do you think that happened there, and why do you think it cant happen elsewhere?....

I think it happens here for several reasons; There is more of a demand for that kind of stuff here. Closer to urban centers. We dont have the large factory farms too much here like you have out west. I find the east to be less corporatized than most of the west, more small independently owned businesses. Weather is good and alot can be produced on a smaller holding. Their is a tradition of small family farms here.

That said, i think the trend is also happening in places like Northern California, Oregon, and Washington.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,424 Posts
I think if you are producing a sizable portion of your own food and spending a good portion of your time to do it, you are a farmer in my book.

There's some people here, I'm trying to remember the guys name he's pretty active with posts here...arty or something with an A. He posted some amazing pictures of his operation, acres of veggies, cattle, pigs, chickens. And he spends alot of time canning and etc. It's all for him and his family. Now is he NOT a farmer because he doesn't resell his product but consumes it directly?

I don't believe that the only legitimate 'farms' are those who sell their food for money to buy other things. I think if we were to take a tally of ALL farms we'd be surprised at how many people are farming.

I think you're with misunderstanding my question. I would like to know within the parameters of the survey, what they consider a farm. In my province, farm is defined by a minimum dollar figure in sales. If that were the case for this survey, I would be very interested in the smaller holdings.

I'm not saying it can't be done, I am saying small holdings that generate maximum income is interesting to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
857 Posts
more small farms pop up here,veggies/alpacas/beef-pigs/eggs.smaller because of cost.ex:14acres(corn field) rural-kinda/sorta-no sewer/water/elec.just a field=$5000 an acre!sold in a week!in our county-Cayuga-its very very hard to find more than 15acres(tillable)for sale!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,354 Posts
The USDA Census of Agriculture is done every five years; the latest is 2012. In the United States, a farm is defined by anything that has $1,000 a year in sales, not acreage.

The state by state comparison with the differences from 2007 are shown here: http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Full_Report/Volume_1,_Chapter_2_US_State_Level/

One of the interesting features are the comparisons of one category labeled: "Value of agricultural products sold directly to individuals for human consumption." can be found in this chart, starting about halfway down..... http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Public...,_Chapter_2_US_State_Level/st99_2_002_002.pdf

I would assume this shows a growing trend to selling at roadside, farmer's markets, and word of mouth.

In this data, I don't find anything that summarizes the New England area, so maybe someone has done some lengthy digging and spreadsheeting to come up with Bill's report?

geo
 

·
zone 5 - riverfrontage
Joined
·
6,815 Posts
I am an organic farmer in Maine.

I migrated here because of how rural it is, along with the low land prices, low taxes, low cost-of-living, and it is drought-free.

We have had an increase in number of farms for over 10 years now. Along with increased Farmer's Markets.

My farm produces maple, honey, eggs, pork, herbs, veggies, etc.

Is this a 'niche' market? I am not sure. Many vendors here take SNAP/EBT. Some FMs have USDA grant money that matches your EBT money. So fresh/local produce is lower priced them grocery stores.

For non-EBT customers, FM produce is often 5% to 10% higher priced.

Organic grains are also becoming a big item.

Not really very close to urban centers, Portland [60,000] is a 3 hour drive from us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,852 Posts
I saw where unlike everywhere else in the nation, the states that make up New England actually have more farmers this year than last. Why do you think that happened there, and why do you think it cant happen elsewhere?
In Vermont the head of agriculture changed how they do the counting. They used to say we only had about 1,000 farms because the old head of agriculture only counted big farms or dairy farms. The state government's focus was very, very heavily biased towards dairy.

New head of agriculture. He pointed out in a newspaper article that dairies are failing and Vermont needs to look beyond dairies for the future of farming. He started counting every one raising products from the land. Suddenly the number jumped to about 9,000.

There was no real change on the ground. Still the same number of farmers farming. But the government changed the way they do their statistics so it made it look like there was a big jump. A lot of it is about federal monies and the rest is politics.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
17,215 Posts
I'm a young(ish) New England farmer. I'm 34 and my wife is 26. We own 80 acres in Vt where we farm some veggies and sheep for farmers markets and local resale. We produce quite a bit of hay which we sell mostly to horse people.

The reality is, the jobs that our parents had ( you know the ones that they kept for 40 years and got paid a livable wage ) they just dont exist anymore. We had to find other, more creative ways to make a living. We don't make much but we get by, our freezer is full and our house stays warm in the winter.
Ive always assumed Vermont land like the rest of New England to be quite expensive.
How do you afford 80 acres of it without one of those high paid dependable jobs of the past??

Or am I simply wrong in assume with so many people nearby land would be expensive?
 

·
zone 5 - riverfrontage
Joined
·
6,815 Posts
Ive always assumed Vermont land like the rest of New England to be quite expensive.
I am fairly new to New England, having grown-up farming in California.

When I was shopping for land to buy here, my observations were that land can be more expensive when it is near urban regions or tourist destinations.

When you get away from the coast, away from the cities, and any tourist resort; then prices drop a lot.

Much of New England has population-density between 2 and 10 people per square-mile. Out in these rural areas prices are low.



... How do you afford 80 acres of it without one of those high paid dependable jobs of the past??

Or am I simply wrong in assume with so many people nearby land would be expensive?
I have seen local properties with farm house, barn, fencing and 80 to 100 acres selling for $80k.

We bought unimproved land that is forested with river frontage. 150 acres was ~ $65k. [two parcels, one with water frontage and one without]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,852 Posts
Ive always assumed Vermont land like the rest of New England to be quite expensive.
Prices varies enormously. Location-location-location. In the urban areas (>2,000 people), bottom land and bedroom communities along the main roads the land can be $50K/acre for tiny lots. Out where we are it is about $500/acre for bigger lot size like 100 acres on average with many far larger. As the lot size goes up and the terrain gets steep and rocky the price drops. Don't buy where it's expensive and beware of the taxes - they're higher in those expensive places too.

How do you afford 80 acres of it without one of those high paid dependable jobs of the past??
I know of many people who've done it many different ways. Some with jobs like you say. Others in other ways.

In our case we worked for myself and I invented stuff I sold as well as to earn enough for a down payment on high mountain land with a falling down house on it. I wasn't interested in the house, just the land with water and timber. The house was enough to live in for a while although virtually impossible to heat. I started doing maple syrup and sustainable timber to pay the mortgage. Eventually I was able to farm. That's our full time job. It pays the mortgage and everything.

In all of those cases we worked from home keeping our expenses very, very low. Almost all of our income went to buy the land and then the tools to farm. No fancy toys. No fancy vacations. Keep your belt tight.

Or am I simply wrong in assume with so many people nearby land would be expensive?
Depends on what you consider expensive and where you want to be... No amenities here like cell service, public water, public sewer, etc but the town does plow the road in the winter which is nice of them. Be sure to vote to make sure they don't start doing a whole lot more than that. Services cost money which raises taxes and increases the value of land - something we don't need to have happen.

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top