Food costs money, so in a way, growing food is like growing money. And who doesn’t want to see their money grow? Growing your own food can be one of the best feelings in the world. An excellent way to do this is by starting a hobby farm.
Starting a hobby farm can be confusing. There are many questions to answer, like how to start, where to start, what tools you need, and which animals or crops you should grow. If you are looking to start a hobby farm, you have come to the right place, as this article will guide you on how to do just that!
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What is a Hobby Farm?
A hobby farm is one created without the intention of making money. While the hobby farmer may make some money from the farm, it is not their primary source of income. They will mostly be doing it for fun and to fulfill their own needs. So if you are raising some chickens, cows, goats, or growing some fresh vegetables in your backyard, then you are a hobby farmer.
The fundamental difference between the hobby farmers and the homesteads is that hobby farmers are only farming for fun or spending time. But homesteads expect a full-time income from the farm.
It should be considered that hobby farming is not determined by how much you invest in it. That is, you may need to invest as much as the homesteads. It depends on how you are planning your farm. If you want to start with a big plan, you may need to invest a lot. But it is always a good idea to start your hobby farm with a small amount of investment. The reason is that you are not going to take it up to the industrial level. You may need to learn a lot about farming during the first few years.
Who Is this for?
As I already said, hobby farmers are individuals with a passion for farming. Most of the hobby farmers are retired people and want to fulfill their long-awaited dream. Also, some of the young people start hobby farming by following their passion.
So if you have enough time and do not want to depend on the farm’s earnings, then hobby farming is for you.
Six Steps to Start your Hobby Farm
Here are six steps you should follow to start your hobby farm:
1. Set Goals for Your Farm
A wise person always has a goal before starting a project. So if you are thinking of starting a hobby farm, you need to set goals for your farm. Ask yourself whether you are doing it for money or pleasure. It will develop your farm’s strategy for conducting itself. You have to understand that a hobby farm is a different kind of activity. Hobby farmers don’t do farming for money. Their target is to produce some crops, consume them for personal purposes, and maybe sell the remaining in the market. That’s it.
To achieve any goal, you need to do due diligence and do proper research. You should decide what type of farm you are willing to start. There are many types of farming. Most are animal farms. But many love to begin bee farming.
The choice is yours. If you do proper research before starting the farm, you will know what you need in order to start.
3. Research your Land
Researching land before starting the farm is very important. The reason is that the land’s soil can not always sustain all types of animals or vegetation. For example, if you live in the mountain, you can’t get cattle there. For this land, you can start a garden.
On the contrary, if you live in the northern state, you should avoid coffee or sugar cane. If you are not sure, you can ask your neighbors about their farming experience. You will probably get an idea of what you can start.
4. Inquiry about the Zoning Laws
It is essential to know about the zoning laws before you start a farm. The reason is that there may be some limitations from your zoning laws as well as homeowner’s contracts regarding what kind of animals you can farm and what types of plants you can grow. You should contact the county zoning department and the homeowner’s association to know about the rules of hobby farms.
5. Choose Animals and Crops
Now is the time to get the real taste of your dream hobby farm. Choosing animals and crops is a little bit tricky. But don’t worry. I am going to give you a short guide.
First, think about what animals and crops are most appealing to you. If you plan to start a bee farm but can’t handle bees, it may be better to look at other options. Try and think about an animal that inspires you to farm. Start with that animal. The same thing goes for the crops as well.
If you have multiple options for deciding the animals and crops, you should make a list of your choices. Now, research each of the animals and plants to find out which will be profitable. I know you are not starting a farm for money, but still, you should consider this because you are investing your time and money. You can go to the library to learn more about animals and crops. Also, talk to other farmers. Even light conversations with other farmers can be educational.
6. Plan your Farm
A well-planned farm can help you to become a successful farmer. It would be best to have a proper plan for your hobby farm. Try considering where your animals will graze and where they will take shelter. It would be best to decide where to grow the crops to feed them and where the garden will be. Also, plan how you will provide water to the farm and what tools you will use.
Moreover, it would be best if you also planned for the crops. You have to plan for watering the plants. You need to have a water stock if you don’t have a permanent water source.
You need to plan the fencing of the farm. Make a plan on how you will utilize the tools. Make a list of the cost you may incur. Besides, you will also need to calculate the budget for repairing the farm or tools. Make a budget for at least one year. It will help you estimate how much you grew and how much profit you made.
Invest in Livestock:
I hope you have followed the previous steps and finalized your plans for your animals and crops. That’s great. Now finally, it is time to invest in the livestock. Consider starting the farm with a bit of investment. It is the most viable idea for the hobby farm.
Moreover, seeing your farm growing will give you peace of mind. If you are starting with chicken, buy 5-10 hens for the first time. If you are beginning with cattle, buy 1-2 for the first time.
Finally, you have to think about how you can save money. Saving money means not only buying the animals, crops, and equipment with the best deal but having a simple trick to optimize your farm. For example, you can grow fodder to save the food cost of the livestock.
Having a hobby farm can bring you great enjoyment. You can grow your own food and enjoy yourself while doing it. A hobby farm is both useful and entertaining.