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Well I will be 45 on Wednesday! I have farmed for the last 23 years and did ok but not really made much money. I also have a couple of side businesses and neither is doing very much as far as income........I have raised beef cattle and alfalfa hay. My mom owns the farm I am just the caretaker. That is ok. Have a degree in agriculture. I have decided that I either need to get a real job or do something that makes some real money.... ie>> I need to make at least 15,000 dollars a year min. So what do I do? any ideas?
 

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Hi Scotty:

I work in an office as a Tech Support Manager, and I would love to have the experance you have working on a Farm. Life is never fair...

With an Ag back ground have you considered the local home improvement stores? Lowes and Home Depot need people in the garden sections who can discuss plants and gardening. At $9.00 an hour for 40 a week you should gross $18,700.

Andrew
 

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Yes, look over Ken's book! With your experience and degree you should be able to do something to make a living on the farm!

Here there are farmers who have a HUGE pumpkin patch operation that open up each fall and they have school groups that come for several counties to tour the farm, pick a pumpkin, go on a hay ride, etc. At Christmas they decorate all the barns and stuff and folks come from throughout the state for Christmas on the Farm. They charge like $6 a car load and it's unbelievable how many people come. And it's just a farm out in the country.

Another farm here does a maze now every fall to supplement their earnings.

Do you have a barn or other outbuilding that you could set up like a little craft store, or perhaps teach some kind of classes in???? best wishes!
 

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I think you set your sights too low Scotty. You have a college degree, 25 years farming experience, and you think that $15k is real money? I wouldn't go out of my house for $15k/year, let alone work a fulltime job. I don't know you from Adam, but if you have farmed successfully for 25 years you very likely posses a wide range of practical skills which could be used to generate $$$$.

What part of the country are you in? and, what do you enjoy doing besides farming? what are your "side businesses"?

Please give us some more info and I'll bet that someone on this board can come up with some useful ideas which might fit your situation.
 

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This reminds me, several years ago Booker T. Whatley wrote an excellent book called (something like, I never remember the exact title) How To Make $100k on 25 Acres. Basically, he advocated a CSA-like approach which he called subscription farming, where the farmer pre-sells shares in the harvest of that years' crops. He advocated a wide diversity of enterprises which would complement each other on the farm and achieve maximum efficiency at the same time. Now I don't believe that any one farm would engage in more than a few of the projects at one time, and some of them seemed pretty impractical to me anyway. But, his idea was sound. One of the ideas which sounded promising to me was raising feeder lambs on 20 acres- I think at the time the book was written the project was projected to earn around $50k/year. It involved rotational grazing on alfalfa pastures and direct marketing the lambs. I would have tried it in a heartbeat except......I live in Florida and cannot grow alfalfa here. But I always wished someone else would try it and succeed- maybe that is something that would work for you. If you are interested let me know and I can snail mail you the article.
 

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Are there any community colleges in your area that have AG programs? I'm sure they would love to have someone with your background as an instructor, even part time.
 

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Scotty,
You might want to check with your state or county government for any openings on something like the highway department. Government retirement and benefits and the pay is not bad. That would still leave you time in the evenings and on weekends to do a little farming. That's exactly what I'm trying to do. Leave the rat race in Orlando, FL and move to West Virginia. I miss the country!!!
Good Luck,Steve
 

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Are there any commerial farms in your area. The agricultural department here ahs job listing on their website. Inspectors travel from farm to farm. With experience and a degree, you would be looking at 30k + a year. And the hours are 5 to 1, so you would still have time for your farm.
 

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Two words-VALUE ADDED. If you decide to raise something, do something to it before selling. Quarter your chickens and sell them as parts for more per pound. Sell duck confit for $15 a lb. instead of whole ducks for $8. Turn the excess fat from your cattle into suet cakes with millet you grow as a cover crop-sell for $4 or $5 each. Groom a trail across your unused winter field and charge $3 a pop for cross country skiers-or skaters on your pond (but make them sign waivers, says the lawyer's wife...) Instead of selling trees, sell wreaths and swags made from them. Take that milk and make cheese to sell for $5 a pound instead of 8 lbs. for $3 (1 gallon). Go out in your field and cut out that invasive bittersweet and sell wreaths from it for $20 minimum a piece. ***** willows sell at craft shows for $4 a handful; stuck in a dollar store piece of pottery with a pretty ribbon, they sell for $15. All the extra eggs you have can be made into cream pies that I can get $13-15 for here-and with the crust and all the other ingredients it might cost me $1 to make max. Don't just sell garlic, sell garlic braids for $10 or $15. We've had very good luck with processing-and if you choose your projects wisely, your hourly rate can be right up there with the Jones'. The only trick here is that you run into a whole lot more regulations/licensing, but the fees are generally nominal and the application process is generally at best a formality. Good luck with your ventures.
 

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Well first I'd like to say, Happy Birthday!!! I just had one about a week ago and I know how they can creep up on you like nobody's business, LOL. Looking at your sites, the first thing that came to mind was that since you build heaters, you should look into HVAC. My hubby is trained in this area and he loves it, most of the time. But who likes thier job all of the time? With the second business, do you have a store front? There is a family here where I live that turned thier farm into a very big business, selling meat to all the local grocery stores as well as having a store front. They also process deer from the local hunters. There are upick farms, orchards and nurseries all around us. are you worried about retirement savings or do you really feel like youre not earning up to your potential? With a degree and all your expierence you should have your pick of careers. Doing what you like has worked so well this far, maybe you just need to look into boosting your current projects. Hope it helps!!
 

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here in ky farmers are faced with ever diminishing tobacco markets - for most, tobacco is all they know - i've attended several ag field days conducted by uk that targeted diversification for current tobacco farmers - the alternatives of course included truck crops and cattle - also went further afield and discussed shrimp/fish farming, vinyards, goats, etc. etc. - the consensus from the presenters was that the most dollars can be made from the fewest acres and the fewest manhours by raising ornamentals - houseplants in greenhouses and trees and shrubs in open fields - a bit time consumptive at first if your budget requires you to start all your own stock but the initial outlay is minimal compared to other ag endeavors -
just a thought - and, good luck
 
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