We Need Your Advice

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Patti, May 26, 2004.

  1. Patti

    Patti Well-Known Member

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    Hello! My husband and I have 30 acres of property... we do not use it all. We only use the part that has the barn, and our large garden.

    We were trying to think of different "home business" ideas. We thought of putting out a stable and boarding horses, a petting farm - and also we have heard we can do things through the state and get paid, like start the wetlands - or plant prarie grass etc. Does anyone have any good ideas?

    I want to continue to be a stay at home mom, and we would like a better income.

    We are only looking for ideas with our land please. :eek:
     
  2. heelpin

    heelpin Well-Known Member

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    Plant trees.
     

  3. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    What about a corn maze in the summer? Lots of our local farmers make one, and charge admission. You could lease the pasture to a farmer also. I'm not sure what kind of insurance is required for a boarding stable, but that could be profitable as well. I grow market flowers for a florist friend. I have rows and rows of zinnias, cosmos, yarrow, daisies, etc. She buys them from me for $3 a bunch. It's not a huge profit, but it's fun and pretty. What about a pick-your-own operation? You could do strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries. Or, what about buying a handfull of ponies and doing a touring pony ride? You could also breed miniature horses, miniature goats, or alpacas. You could make a go-cart track, or a model airplane field as well. I dream of having extra acres all the time, but every inch of my tiny five acre homestead is in use! Best of luck!
     
  4. Patti

    Patti Well-Known Member

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    You both have good ideas! :)

    We did lease 15 of our acres out to the farmer next door, but we decided not to do that anymore - as he does not pay enough for it to be worth it to us.

    Keep the ideas comin' - I'm up for all ideas you have. :)
     
  5. limhyl

    limhyl Well-Known Member

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    An aple orchard for market gardening and cider pressing in the fall. Organic of course if you want the best return on investment.
     
  6. Patti

    Patti Well-Known Member

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    I do like the apple orchard idea. :) I am into all natural ways of raising produce... pesticides cannot be good imo.

    We do have 30 apple trees on one side of our property...

    I like the idea of having the apple trees, strawberries and other berries natural - even "chicken eggs" fresh from the farm. It's lots of hard work, I am wondering what type of profit would come from something like this... ?
     
  7. Jagger

    Jagger Well-Known Member

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    Ohio...but not for long
    What about a campground? A cabin/cottage/chalet rental for honeymooners,weekend getaways etc.. Think about what you like to do. Do you like animals? Growing plants? Pick from something that interests you. No use doing somthing you dislike. Do you have much money to invest? What does the property look like? Wooded? Pature/fields? A longer term thing that i think would be good if the property is wooded look into growing ginseng or goldenseal. Other mediclincals(sp) could be profitable as well. I know nothing of keeping bees but it seems that it would also be a worthwhile venture as well. I want to grow and sell produce. I also am in the fur industry as a trapper and a furrier, i also dabble in taxidermy. What is needed in your neck of the woods? So many possibilities.

    Jagger
     
  8. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Haunted Hayride. A farm here in Maine uses about 10 acres and rakes in THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of dollars each year. They have about 10 "stops," things like a haunted jail where zombies come at riders with chainsaws, a small pond where Swampman comes out of the water at the guests, and the Witches Club where the guests are given "Spooky Cider" and "Monster Eyeballs," which are donut holes. Between stops, people jump out of the woods and our from behind rocks. All of the props and sets are carefully designed, but cheaply built. After all, in the dark, details don't show up. They have 4 or 5 tractors pulling hay wagons that probably hold 25-30 passengers. Their gimmick is that they donate a "portion" (could be 1%) to a local charity, so they can get away with charging more because some goes to a good cause. They run 5 days a week.

    I would guess they haul down at bare minimum $30,000 in the three weeks around Halloween, and that's not counting the income from a hot dog stand that's parked right by the ticket line.
     
  9. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Where are you located in Michigan?? Horse hay can make good money or like they said a corn maze if your near enough people. Here in west Michigan grapes seem to be huge also any kind of fruit trees.


    mikell
     
  10. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    1. Don't forget liability insurance, no matter what you decide to do.
    2. Start slowly, work up a client base. Don't over invest in one business until you are sure you have a market for your idea.
    3. Keep excellent detailed records.
    4. Consult an accountant.
     
  11. There are many things you can do, many good ideas so far.

    Realize that most of them require one of 2 things, sometimes both:

    Lots of labor & time & investment and a payoff years & years from now. Like an apple orchard, or a tree farm, or organic produce, etc. Remember that you will have to work all summer for years, and won't get a 'paycheck' from it for 5 years or more....

    A really big & really expensive liablity insurance policy. If you invite people to your 30 acres to 'have fun' you need to sit down with several insurance agents & chart out _exactly_ what coverage you need. Do not go low-cost on this. Or one of those fun-loving people will own your 30 acres. Many of these types of enterprises can be considered a 'fad' thing, and after people come for 3-5 years, they will grow tired of the activity & you will fade away unless you keep investing money in new & different activities.

    If farming is an active thing where you live, shop around for a different farmers to rent it. You can go for so much cash per year, a crop share (you get about 40% of the crops, pay for about 40% of the seed & chemicals, and may get tax benifits for actively farming). Also if horses are popular in your area then raising hay can pay, may want to get into a long-term contract with a hay producer as the small acerage is not so bad for them, and they can pay more for a long-term lease which is what they need. It can be difficult to get serious money for small lots like yours, road time with big farm machinery to get there is more costly than actually farming the land....

    Government programs have long tails and lots of hidden requirements & agendas, proceed with caution. If you take their money, assume you sold the land to them & will not ever have use of it again, but you will continue to maintain it & pay some taxes on it. Some programs are good, some are, um, restrictive to say the least.

    --->Paul
     
  12. Bret F

    Bret F Well-Known Member

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    A farmer in this area planted about twenty acres into grains and native plants and brush, and started raising pheasants, that he charges people to hunt year around. He claims to make a lot more off that field than the rest of the place that he still farms.

    Bret
     
  13. Jane in southwest WI

    Jane in southwest WI Well-Known Member

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    Here in southwest Wisconsin we rent out about 70 acres of our 147 acres. Average price per acre around here is about $50. So for us that is $3500 a year; enough to cover property taxes but not a significant way to make money.

    I forgot to mention that the land being rented is crop land for conventional corn, soybean and/or hay.
     
  14. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    dont deal with the government. If you do have lots of vasoline handy because in the end, someones gonna get their horizons expanded and it wont be the government.

    trees are a good one, I used to grow potted trees. good payback if you can find buyers.

    tulips are a high priced item, bulbs and the cut flowers.
    if you own the mineral rights, I wonder if you have any gas/oil on the property? gas pockets hide in odd places.
    dig a good sized pond and raise "organic" fish for the local yuppies.
    or stock it and set up a pay lake.

    30 acres is a lot of firewood. I used to sell hybrid poplar trees. you can set up a conveyor system, you plan an acre every year and in the 7 or 8th year you harvest your first acre. the trees pop up everywhere when you cut em and they burn HOT. fast but hot, and they do make excellent firewood. every now and then i get to cull a few around here that are in my way and a 7 yr old tree is massive, they grow almost 8 feet a year with the right food and good rain.

    how about a go cart track to keep the local kids out opf trouble?
    a mini golf course?
    a used car lot?
    a marijuana farm?
    wait... we aint that enlightened as a country yet scratch the mary jane farm idea....
     
  15. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    If you do the wetland, the government will definately get involved. It's a nightmare around here. They have taken thousands of acres, & there are thousands more that the owners can't do as they see fit with.
     
  16. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    West Central Minnesota
    I am in a similar situation. Live on 15 acres but only use the area around the barn for a small garden. There is a possibility that 2 nephews might come back to live with me full time so earlier this year I had to look hard at my property to figure out if I could earn a real living here or if I should sell out and move to town.

    I took a copy of the property survey and conducted an income potential audit. The hitch is that, while I don't mind hard work, I don't want to work very hard at something I do not enjoy, lol! So, what I came up with, for my property in my area with my own interests, talents, abilities, AND ability to finance start-up construction for, was this:

    1. 5 acres with old house which is already rented, need to increase rent to $800/month. Yearly income potential $9600.00.

    2. Beehives- I already have around 80 of these but need to work them more efficiently to realize a goal of $300/year income on each hive. YIP: $24,000.00.

    3. Dog boarding kennel- utilizing an unused area behind the house I plan to build a 20-run kennel. Hope to keep an average of 10 runs filled 5 days per week, 50 weeks/year. YIP: $37,500.00.

    4. Horse boarding: 3 acre pasture currently not in use. Plan to build a small 4-stall barn and board 2 horses @ $150/month. YIP: $3600.00 plus I get all the manure and used bedding for my compost and garden.

    5. Firewood sales- I get free firewood, already cut to length, throughout the year from tree-trimming companies. I am stacking it to dry and expect to sell $400.00 worth this year. Not a huge income, but requires very little effort and can be easily expanded to meet demand.

    6. Sale of surplus eggs: YIP: $240.00
    7. Sales of cut-your-own flowers: YIP: $300.00
    8. Sales of worms: YIP: $500.00
    9. Sales of miscellaneous surplus homestead products (popcorn; millet; herbs; veggies; pineapples; bananas; compost, rabbit manure, etc). YIP: $470.00.

    10. Yard waste- this is something I already do but hope to expand upon- I let a couple of landscape companies dump yard wate on my property. Right now I charge $5/load, but I think I am going to increase that to $10.00/load. I am averaging 4 loads/week so based on current figures I am taking in $80/month. This would at least double to $160/month just for tipping fees. In addition I frequently recieve trees which I pot and sell for $10 each; large pots that landscapers leave when they plant shrubs and small trees; wooden pallets, which have no $$ value but which I use around the place for my compost bins; and oddly enough, tools and other useful items. YIP: $1920.00.

    All that adds up to a potential $78370.00. Not bad for hanging around the property doing things that I would enjoy doing anyway. That is income potential, not profit, but the only capital expenditures required are to build the kennel and the horse barn. Other projects, like the banana and blackberry patches, are already established and expansion comes from the existing plantings at no cost other than my own labor. Operating expenses must be deducted but are not very high for any of these projects. With no mortgage payment, everything else paid for, no debt, a large garden and raising our own chickens I think we will be able to live quite well.

    Oh, I forgot the goats! I plan to use 3 acres in front of the house for goats. I bought a used candy dispenser and plan to fill it with pelleted goat feed. For 25 cents, customers kids can feed the goats- that should take care of part of the feed expense. The goats are intended for our own consumption, but we could expand that and sell some if it works out. Big expense here for fencing and purchasing seed stock.
     
  17. OUVickie

    OUVickie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sounds like apples would be good if your trees are producing - then you could sell them at a Farmers Market in your area.
    If you can think of some crops you could rotate seasonally, you could expand on that. Depends on what grows well in your area and when. Such as Sunflowers, Herbs, Winter Wheat, etc.
    Everyone here has such great ideas!

    I have a friend that used to raise Quail and Pheasants on their acreage and sold them to the upscale Restaurants in the City. You can do the same thing with herbs.
    Lots of potential when you have land! :p
     
  18. Patti

    Patti Well-Known Member

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    Michigan
    Wow! Lots of great ideas! I like the idea of having a place where people can come in the summer (or maybe the winter too) - and camp kinda old fashioned... water pumps for their water, outhouses, bon fires at night (in the summer) put out a a few little cabins like on Little House on the Prarie, teepees...I know of lots of "homeschool groups" who might think this is a neat little idea... :yeeha: It wouldnt really cost much to get it up and going, and insurance may not cost that much if we keep it nice and simple...

    We could put in a little old fashioned General Store too!
     
  19. patti,

    be sure to check with your zoning board. I live out in the country next to my parents 90 acre farm and yet there is little besides farming I could do with it. I'm referring to your cabins or camp ground idea.

    I have an old house and wanted to build a new one back behind it and use this (small) one for my business (I sell on ebay). My business includes no customer pick up or deliveries of any kind (except mailing supplies). The county said NYET, I'd have to tear down the old house within 6 months of completion of the new house unless the new house had it's own septic. IF the new house has it's own septic then it has to be seperated off on it's own track of land which is minimum of 200 ft of road frontage and 2 acres (they would prefer 300 ft and 5 acres). And that means having it surveyed, etc.

    Makes no sense, I could build a huge barn to house my business but using this one and instead building a new home is a no no. twerps.

    Mel-