Press-Republican

Hagar

November 24, 2013

Small farm requires careful planning

I visited with a small farmer a while back who had a whole menagerie of livestock on his place; cows, goats, chickens and who knows what else.

He had accumulated his livestock over time as his family’s interests had evolved and he enjoyed the variety. As is often the case with small farm and beginning farmers, family members often play a large part in determining the mix of agricultural activities. Caring for small livestock is a great way to teach young children responsibility and start educating them about animal science and the facts of life.

I also encounter many folks who move to the country to reconnect with nature and live a simpler life. Many often have a family farm that has remained in the family and want to make it productive once again.

Small farming is by and large an endeavor that is started to improve a family’s quality of life, not necessarily to produce income, but to live a more sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle. Often someone buys a home in a rural area that includes some acreage and raising some livestock and vegetables fulfills an idealistic dream of becoming a farmer.

However, some thought on how to make good decisions and choices is important. Farming is hard work whether it is small or large scale, and like any endeavor, should be given a great deal of thought prior to jumping right in.

The first step in starting a small farm should be to evaluate your resources. The environment, the land and your existing facilities will have a large impact on your ability to produce crops or livestock.

Many times, if the land has been abandoned as farmland or is being sold for housing, it has been for reasons that may limit its agricultural value. A farm’s soil quality, drainage and pH all have an effect on productivity. Old farmland that has been abandoned for some time often has poorly drained soils, stony soils and low fertility.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Hagar
  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Watch out for farm machinery

    Accidents on roadways involving farm vehicles can be avoided with a little bit of caution, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Better bulls improve beef quality

    Artificial insemination can be used to get the most from a beef-cattle herd, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    March 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Healthy environment good for farming

    Best practices and conservation are top priorities for modern farmers, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    March 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Planning for greener pastures

    While it can be time consuming and costly at first, good pasture management pays off in the long run, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    February 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Chicken raising has rewards

    Many people interested in growing their own food supply may enjoy this hobby, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    February 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg A season for learning

    Crop Congress at Miner Institute just one of the opportunities available for farmers to keep up with the latest information, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    January 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers getting information in different ways

    The Internet ushered in a whole host of conveniences that farmers can take advantage of with little effort, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    January 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Animal husbandry important in winter

    Keeping animals comfortable during cold weather is only one responsibility of caring owners, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    December 22, 2013 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Taking care of business

    Year's end is a taxing time for many area farmers who have to keep track of all their own finances, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    December 8, 2013 1 Photo