Income options on 10 acres?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by busyfolk, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. busyfolk

    busyfolk Member

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    My husband is wanting to buy part of his family's land and move from the town/city setting out to a very rural/farm area. However, job opportunities will be less there, and we expect he'll not be able to make the same pay as he does here. We think we can manage this if we can think of good income options for our land. We are only wanting to buy 10 acres. What are some of the better income options?

    To make matters more complicated, we are beginners (well, DH spent his early childhood on the farm and was an FFA member in highschool), plus we will also be busy homeschooling our 5 dc, and he will also be busy with whatever job he finds.

    Is it asking too much to find a relatively simple income option, that doesn't require tooooo much time, and can be done with just 10 acres?

    Novice in Midwest
     
  2. mommykood

    mommykood Active Member

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    My easy answer: yes! :) LOL I think most farm work, and rural work, is time-consuming and not very profitable (at least versus a "city" type work option).

    However, my best bet for your family would be to simplify your lives, as much as you can possibly do. This would include the following, but also whatever floats your family's boat:

    1. Raise as big of a garden as you are able. A big enough garden would greatly reduce much of your family's food cost, especially for a family of 7 (we have a family of 6 here, so I am aware of how much food costs for a family this size).

    2. Barter/trade away extras in your garden to get other foods you may not have in your homestead, saving your food costs even more.

    3. Raise two of each animal; one for your own family's meat, and one to sell to market. Hopefully by selling one animal of the two, you will end up back about "even," money-wise, and you will still have your entire animal's meat for *free!*

    4. Avoid restaurants, "stuff" stores, and other money pitfalls (with a family of 7, the savings from this alone will be amazing!). We gave up restaurants completely in our family of 6 since last March, and we have saved an estimated $2-3K this year alone by simply thinking ahead, and avoiding convenience foods (both in the grocery stores and in restaurants).

    5. Pay cash for everything and anything - NO Credit Cards!! Studies show an average of 18% LESS money is spent if *cash* is used instead of ANY other form of money... It is much harder to visually "hand over" cash versus credit cards...

    5. Keep only one family vehicle - plan outings for the weekends when all errands can be done at one time, instead of many times during the week.

    6. Grocery shop only 1-2 times a month; plan all meals from scratch; "impulse buying" is much reduced if you only shop 1-2 times a month.

    7. The November 2004 issue of Countryside had *tons* of ideas for profit-making on "one acre" of land...

    Make herbal soaps;
    raise blueberries;
    raise bees;
    grow bedding plants;
    try a subscription garden;
    board, raise or train dogs;
    raise small animals and more;
    sell homeopathic products

    Good luck! :) We are looking forward to moving to our owner-built homestead in two months! :)

    Jen :)
     

  3. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Good ideas Mommykood, but I have to disagree with # 5,

    "Keep only one family vehicle - plan outings for the weekends when all errands can be done at one time, instead of many times during the week."

    If they are going to be doing the things you suggested they will almost certainly need a truck. Not many pickups around that can safely carry a family that size.
     
  4. mommykood

    mommykood Active Member

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    True, I guess there would be a few options here:

    A. Maintain and keep 2 vehicles; one "family" size vehicle for "family trips, as well as one "farm truck" (read: cheap and ugly! LOL) for tootling around the farm

    B. Maintain and keep one "farm truck" for tootling around the farm and for tootling to town with only a *few* key family members each time. (For example, if a family member has an appt. in town, only take that specific family member with, on each trip to town, 1-2 times a month.)

    C. Depending, money-wise, another option would be to maintain only a "family" size vehicle, with a hitch installed, to pull a trailer when it is necessary. (That is what we do - we have no "farm truck" yet, but we do have a Ford Windstar with a hitch and an 8x12 trailer that we use quite often).

    **A tractor may also be necessary on a farm of 10 acres, so that would also be able to help out with the "tootling around the farm" aspect... :)

    **On our homestead, which is 14 acres, we will have our Ford Winstar, with a hitch, our trailer (when necessary), perhaps a "farm truck," and a tractor. However, we have been saving our money up for about 5 years to pay cash for it all (the van and trailer have already been paid cash for).

    We will be on the lookout for an older (read: mid-1900s) tractor with attachments, as well as an ultra-cheap-ugly "farm truck" to pay cash for in the next few months... :)

    Jen :)
     
  5. busyfolk

    busyfolk Member

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    Thanks for all that info, MOmmykood. Some of those things you posted are things we're considering. His grandparents used to have a kennel on that land and they also raised/sold irises and peonies. So we are considering trying to revive the flower or dog business.

    I also think we'd have to have two vehicles. With my husband needing to have SOME form of work away from the home, I'd need a vehicle for doctor trips, etc. I am not one to leave home much during the week, but we do keep two vehicles now. However, we try to only have one car payment and are months away from having none again.
     
  6. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    If you send me an e-mail request direct to scharabo@aol.com (sorry, won't respond to pm requests), I will send you a free copy of my e-Book: How to Earn Extra Money in the Country.

    If you will be pulling your children from public schools to homeschool them you may be surprised (OK amazed) at how much it will cost you for the study material and support. Quickly join a local homeschooling support group type structure for help. You will find lots of homeschooling advise on this forum also.

    Several of the forum members (including myself) use eBay as an income source. Do you have a speciality you might use there?

    On a second vehicle, don't overlook an older, but in good condition, station wagon-type vehicle.

    I would strongly recommend not moving before your husband has a job (absolutely firm) in the area bringing in the income your need it to. If possible, have the infrastructure support there beforehand (such as a house).

    If your husband's current job has excellent health and retirement benefits I would think long and hard about quiting it.

    You did not say how far away you are moving. It may be possible for your husband to continue to work where he is (perhaps living in an efficiency apartment or something) and coming home on weekends/holidays/vacations for a couple of years to get you well started.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  7. mommykood

    mommykood Active Member

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    Another option to save money, given this variable, would be to sell out the car that still has payments on it (any type of montly payment with interest should be avoided if at all possible). With the cash from the sale, you can pay off the loan for the vehicle, and then pay cash in full for a cheaper, slightly late-model vehicle. We did this, and saved ourselves *lots* of money.

    We had a loan for a Lincoln Navigator (used; loan amt. was about $400 a month over 4 years). Last February/March, we sold the Navigator for cash; paid off the bank loan; and bought a Ford Windstar 1998 for $2k cash... We have saved about $3k the first 12 months we have had the Windstar ($5k in payments for the Navigator over 12 months versus $2k cash outright for the Windstar with no montly payments).

    *All* of the homesteading books and articles that I have read regarding homesteading financials state for all homesteaders to *avoid* any type of monthly payment at all costs! :) Paying any type of interest rates are just giving money to other people, throwing what little money us homesteaders do have right down the drain. Just a thought... :) (OTOH, Maybe I am just a hard-core cheapskate! LOL)

    Jen :)

    ETA: There are tons of ideas at the archived Countryside forum:
    http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/homestead/Countryside/Wcd49bc1dfe3fa.htm

    Have fun reading! :) (I am going to be reading these, too, to get some more ideas! :) )
     
  8. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    There is a wonderful old book called, "10 Acres is Enough" that is well worth a read.
     
  9. busyfolk

    busyfolk Member

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    There is a house already at his Grandma's farm. It needs some repair and upgrade work, but is definitely in livable condition. We are wanting to buy the house and ten acres. The farm is 3.5 hours away from where we live now.

    We already have an older Suburban with trailer hitch as our family vehicle -- no payments. MY husband's commute vehicle is an older Buick station wagon that he is just a few months from having paid off. (It was bought used from a dealer).

    We are already homeschoolers. WE already have the core of our curriculum. We just need a few things like math workbooks added each year.

    The ten acres we want to buy also includes a very neglected orchard. We are not sure if it can be revived, though.

    I think I might have missed a few posts. I'll have to read more carefully. And I also need to have my husband get in here and respond more to your thoughts. :)
     
  10. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

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    My husband was in a bad accident at work and couldn't go back to work so we had to find an alternative way to make a living from our homestead. I, now have an ebay store and I am able to support us and our pets, and 3 horses. Because our bills, including our mortgage, are so low we can live off this income. But we do not have a motor vehicle! And since we did away with that money pit - we can afford all the other things we want more easily. But we only live 6 miles from the nearest town. Our mail box is a mile away and I do all our postage and labels online and my husband rides a bike, a horse or walks to our mailbox everyday to keep up our reputation of fast shippers. I might add that I do most of my shopping online as UPS and FedX do come to our home - even though the US postal service will not. Ebay is a very good way for homesteaders to make a very good living, but you have to work at it. The sky's the limit.
     
  11. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    I was going to recommend Ten Acres Enough but Haggis beat me to it. It is a fabulous book written in the late 1860's that has been reprinted by Small Farmers Journal and is available from them. Even though a lot of info is obviously dated, there is much he says that is still relevant today.

    At least some of the trees on the orchard can certainly be brought back into production. It will take time and work, but a good income can be made from a small fruit orchard. That is the basic idea in Ten Acres Enough.
     
  12. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    The very old farming books at the used book stores sometimes have information about reviving old orchards. Apparently their lives can be extended for a bit.

    I am fullfilling a dream by setting up 5 acres to make an income off of. I am starting up blackberries, raspberries, bee hives, and asparagus. The down side is there will be no income the first year of operation in any of those.

    The up side is that here in Kansas, the average bee hive produces 60 pounds of excess honey to be sold, and in the upper midwest it goes higher.

    I was able to find a market for my backyard berries by giving away pints of berries to people with market stands and stores, after I stapled a business card to each pint. I could have sold 3 times what I had to offer. They started calling that evening.

    Selling things in the farmers markets myself DID bring in some money, but the return per hour was very low. But, I DID need more practice in selling, so I saw it as being the lessons that paid me, as opposed to a a class that I would have to pay to attend. While I made less money by selling through another vendor, my return per hour was higher and there were things that I could do around the place that more than made up for me earning $15 less per week from my sales.

    I have found that having a large garden cuts the food costs, and seeds can be bought at the dollar store for very little. Of course, since it IS summer, I have found that the increase in entertainment costs (camping, fairs, and so forth) have more than made up for the savings in food.

    Oh, well. I would have gone to the fairs with the kids anyways, and the food was both very good and very inexpensive.

    .
     
  13. busyfolk

    busyfolk Member

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    Thanks for that good info about farmer's markets. I'll have to research what is available in that area for markets.

    We are in KS and will be moving from KC area to north central KS. That is good to know about honey. I will be sure to research that further. :)
     
  14. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I suggest not trying to concentrate on one aspect solely, but trying to have a number of 'profit centers'. For example, the orchard. It may provide income from both the fruit and bee hives.

    Last summer at the Hardy's 4th of July gathering one person there said he had a greenhouse and raised 30,000 tomato plants of something like 20 varieties. All were sold at a farmers' market. However, she just didn't sell them, but was an authority of sorts on each of the varieties and could recommend those best for the intended use. I believe she said she had a handout on each variety. After the spring run the greenhouse was shut down and they concentrated on their arts & crafts business.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  15. busyfolk

    busyfolk Member

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    Thanks, Ken. We would definitely try to be diverse.

    DH has informed me that the orchard was actually cut down a couple years back by land renters per Grandma's request or approval. I had forgotten. We would like to replant someday.
     
  16. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    A potted dwarf tomato such as Red Robin which only gets 8-10" high brings a good price at early farmers markets where folks are impressed with ripe tomatoes around the first of June. They have to be started about now...
     
  17. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Try and get a copy of Booker Whatley's book How to Make $100,000 a year on 25 acres..lots of ideas in there...don't know if you could get rich though! Basically what he stresses is to have a number of farm ventures bringing in income year round. Even my group of 17 hens brings in enough income in the year to pay for their own feed and the farm taxes....this is because all the egg money goes in a can instead of being frittered away. Work weekends in a city and have people clammering for my eggs at $2 a dozen. When the honey crop is in it is the same thing. Know a friend of mine who routinely makes $4000 a year at the farmers market and she doesn't sell anything the least unusual in the way of veggies. We used to own an orchard and couldn't haul enough grapes and pears to the market --usually sold out within first hour. Now we have a waiting list for our grass fed Black Angus beef--make a profit there with 5 cows. My smallest goal is that everything earn enough to support itself! The bees should be doing that this year; they do take a large investment of money and time initially. With kids to help you could really go places though. Have some Mennonite friends who started a pastured chicken/turkey business and they have more customers than they can handle...expanding each year d/t the high demand for real food. Good luck. DEE
     
  18. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Don't raise dogs to make money. You can make money by having many dogs, not showing or training any of them, and breeding cheap stock. But, then you'd be a puppy mill. You can make money breeding dogs responsibly if you use very expensive (rare and healthy) dogs. But, if you don't really want to spend time with them, you'd be better off with an orchard and some sheep. You can buy weanlings, raise them through the summer in the orchard, and sell them in the fall or winter for meat.
     
  19. busyfolk

    busyfolk Member

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    Thank you, Mutti and Maura. I have to get to the library to try to find these books.

    Maura, I have already told my husband I don't like the way his Grandparents raised their dogs. I think she did border on being a puppy mill -- at least by the time I saw the kennels. But when I told him how I'd like to do it, he said it would be too small a venture to make money. So, that is probably out. :)