The original question of how many acres are suited for a farm is a loaded one, but one indeed that many people have and do not know how to derive at the final figure.
The banksters look at just about all farm acreage with a house and outbuildings as a lot in town with a house on it, the appraisers i know have said the same thing, for there are more houses in town than there are farm houses and acreage, so they tend to appraise higher, then they tack on the land cost as bare farmable ground and you get sky high pricetags that the banksters will loan against to the owner, or the owner wants to sell becuase they can realize such a high profit after being in the family for 100 years or so.... bought back then at "cheaper than dirt" prices and farmed all those years.
A person has to appraoch the idea with what they intend to do on the ground, and then access the ground to see if it is suitable for the idea and can it make the payments on the worst of years ad hope for the best of years in the process.
What crops would a person intend to grow, standard crops? if so the county agent can provide in most areas the average yield of the crops for a given area, and you can figure up what the profit potential is for those crops.... Specialty crops? again the county agent might be the best information source, but you are going to need soil samples and tests be run to see if the crops will do well on that specific ground [not a cheap proposition but well worth the insurance of willit grow wellin that environment]
Machinery costs need to be figured in with the land costs, some old time farmers have some machinery that can be bought with the property, most of the time the nieghbor buys the ground and does not want the machinery or wont offer as much as the owner can get at auction and well it goes for way to high of a price tag for most new folks to get everything they need at auction..... auctions get heated and not always the best place to get a piece of machinery, though some go for next to nothing still.....<---- yeah kind ofa double speak but it pays to know what is selling in the area and what peices are available sitting before you go to an auction.
Raising livestock? you still are going to need to know how to farm some, what crops to plant to get the best pasture for the area, and what to grow to have hay for the numer of animals you have for winter, and grains to fatten up the young stock for the next year too..... with the price of feed high this year i have heard of folks turning out their horses in some areas and other places turning folks away from the auction cause no buyers are available for the brood stock, and the fat stock is not selling as high either.... not always a good thing to be in sometimes, but the making it through the lean years will usually get the folks to come out on the good years.
Now to the contract you made for a year lease, can you sublet it? how much is the buy out if you walk away? contact the owner and see if you can pay 2 months more rent and during that time move to the farm house [contact gramps first, make sure you have an agreement that will not cost to much and maybe can be set back for the time you are paying on the contract in town.... work out a deal] if nothing else explore the possibility of filing a chapter 13 reorganization and move to the farmhouse, een threatening to so so could get the owner of the house/apartment in town to agree to just back out of the lease, and the bankruptcy court would disolve the lease and give the owner nothing cause you are no longer there..... doing so will allow reorganization of all your debts [if you should have any] and puts you in place where you would rather be, on the farmground, and should your kin purchase the place, then you might be able to work a deal out to rent the whole peice from him too, in a few years if the world is still spinning the way it is, you will be a better position if you work it right to do what others only dream of..... cause you got out from under any credit problems through the banruptcy if you go that way..... <---- I am not a lawyer, and the advice you really need to understand that as an option can only be recieved from a qualified bankruptcy attorner... personally after going that way several years ago, I feel my family is in a better position, though i made a couple of wrong choices at the time by trying to deal witht he banksters and not just vacating the property at that time.... other folks will of course have different findings as everyone is different.... and contrary to popular belief, bankruptcy is not a bad thing for everyone, it can be a good thing.
It all boils down to choices, and the variables are so widespread that the answer then can not be given as a specific unless very detailed data is provided and that even then can be skewed wrongly.... It takes about so many dollars to make a living, and Gary's example of 3000 acres where he lives to make farming may not in fact be needed here where i live, for yearly the crop yield is in the 100-120 bushel per acre end as opposed to some places where lighter yields are the norm, however you pay around $5000.00 per acre for that farmground cause the farmers all went out and mortgaged it to build bigger houses, bigger barns and buy bigger machines to put put in those barns..... then you get to buy the houses that are on those expensive acreages... and by the time you get it all figgered out, you end up farming and working in town to make ends meet.
On the NP rez
North Central Idaho