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Old 06-25-2012, 07:05 AM   #1
kristenjoy
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know anything about farming large # of acres for profit?

It appears my husband has become interested in making a move for our family. A BIG one. We currently live on 20 acres of land in the Central Texas area. He cuts and bales hay for other people in the summer and the rest of the time (and year round, he has 5-7 employees) he also owns lots of heavy equipment to clear cedar, build stocktanks, make ranch roads, etc. We make a good amount of money, but the overhead expense is frustrating, to say the least! I guess he has always been intrigued with the idea of farming a large piece of land for crops like cotton, corn, etc. We travel up to the panhandle of Texas every few years to visit some family in the area. One of them even did that type of farming, probably over 20-30 years ago. I'm just curious if anyone here has any experience in farming this sort of land he is interested in doing. We are looking at staying in Texas and probably the panhandle area then. 600-1000 acres probably. I think my main concerns are if we end up living on part of the land we harvest, I'm just not sure I would want to be exposed to all the herbicides and pesticides. I'd love to do organic farming, but I have no idea how hard that would be to get into, if it is worth it, etc. I'm also really curious how much profit we would be able to make at doing this. Would it be enough to live off of comfortably and be able to save some back? I'm planning on homeschooling our boys, so that wouldn't be much of a concern. I imagine every other change could work itself out. Anyway, if anyone has any help or ideas for me, I'd love to hear them, thanks!

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Old 06-25-2012, 07:26 AM   #2
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Re: know anything about farming large # of acres for profit?

My parents farm 3500+ acres of corn each year, some years soybeans also (in Iowa with much better soil than Texas). It wouldn't make any sense to do an organic crop that is not meant for human consumption (or any crop that is sold at market prices organically) your yields would be very poor. The overhead for this type of farming vs hay is rediculiously much higher. To make it you really must be a marketing wiz, a farming genius (the bottom 80% in farming intelligence can't make it), hope for perfect weather & rainfall your first 6-8 years, high quality soil, and have an awesome farmer to mentor.

It is very hard to get into, even when you grew up with with parents who farmed & you inherit it all (even most in that situation fail). There is no such thing as living comfortably until you are at least 20 years in. You must save several years of income to survive when you have several bad years in a row (which happens frequently). You must upgrade, upgrade, upgrade whenever possible, attend expensive seminars so you can keep farming on the cutting edge - otherwise you cannot compete with the big guys and are eaten alive. The big guys control the prices land is bought & sold at (they can always afford to pay more than the new guy & will always outbid you - crop land is sold & rented to the highest bidder).

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Old 06-25-2012, 07:37 AM   #3
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Re: know anything about farming large # of acres for profit?

One more thing to consider:
Corporate farming has taken over & replaced the family farm in many locations. Unless your family = one of the big guys you don't have a chance. In most locations prime for crop farming there is no such thing as starting a family crop farming operation unless you can afford & are only seeking an $$$$$$ hobby. If you don't become one of the big guys before corporate farming moves into your neighborhood you are truly toast overnight.

Knowledgeable farmers strongly discourage their children from farming.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:03 AM   #4
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Re: know anything about farming large # of acres for profit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by raymark View Post
One more thing to consider:
Corporate farming has taken over & replaced the family farm in many locations. Unless your family = one of the big guys you don't have a chance. In most locations prime for crop farming there is no such thing as starting a family crop farming operation unless you can afford & are only seeking an $$$$$$ hobby. If you don't become one of the big guys before corporate farming moves into your neighborhood you are truly toast overnight.

Knowledgeable farmers strongly discourage their children from farming.
My husband has been farming for the better part of 15 years and it really depends. He makes it work by doing ag-entertainment, especially fall based stuff (hay rides, haunted houses, etc.). Granted, I work, but he pulls a strong/steady income with farming. Crop insurance is key though to him.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:11 AM   #5
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Re: know anything about farming large # of acres for profit?

This is great to know, thanks to those who have replied already! If anyone has anything else to say, I'd love to hear it!
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:15 AM   #6
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I second crop insurance. Also, get the crops certified with the USDA. Not very hard to do, you go to their office and tell them what you planted and when. This qualifies you for government money. I'm slowly learning everything myself since marrying into it. My husband also has a business otherwise too, so we don't just rely on the crops. (we have wheat and corn in Kansas)

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Old 06-25-2012, 01:38 PM   #7
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Re: know anything about farming large # of acres for profit?

Crop insurance only helps a little & is one of many additional insurance expenses that will be necessary for crop farming.
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