10 Thoughts on Buildings and Shelters…the Dollars and Cents of Starting a Small Farm — 5 Comments

  1. This post hit the nail on the head for me. We are not ‘handy’ but we keep trying anyway and the crappiness really bothers me. (Pa thinks whatever he’s done is a work of art.) You got across the need for balance and I’m ready to keep going again!

    • Definitely keep going! We’re also always harder on ourselves than we should be! We’ve also found that paint can work wonders. You can take a crazy patch-work of rusty old used tin and create at least a semblance of order by painting it all one color.

  2. Question. My family is moving to Florida in a few years when my daughter heads off to college. We plan on owning a small farm. We’ve decided on chickens, ducks, mini nubian goats and bees as livestock, i grew up on a farm and loved raising them. Vegetation wise is basic gardening of vegetables and herbs. Eventually we’d like to develop into a u-pick buisiness. How do I figure the acreage we’ll need?

    • Well, the first thing I would say is the very most you can afford! 🙂 You’ll find a way to use it over the years.

      More seriously, though, the first question is how intensively do you imagine managing it. Is someone going to be there full time and be able to rotate animals and drag hoses every day? Are you both going to be working full time and most of your farm work is evenings and weekends? The more intensively you manage, the higher stocking rate you can use, so the less acreage you need. You also need to decide how much off-farm input you want. Do you want your animals grass-fed, so you need more pasture, or are you more of a feed lot mindset where you don’t mind hauling in feed all year round and your farm yards are for living space, not grazing space? Feed lot space is much smaller than grazing space. Do you hate mud and bare ground (we do!)–then you need more area. There’s no simple answer, but these question should head you in the right direction, and I HIGHLY recommend Small Scale Farming by Carol Ekarius ( I would say we could easily do what you’re proposing on 1-3 acres and have it green all year round.

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