Many folks start a hobby farm for a variety of reasons. Hobby farmers grew up on farms, they want to be self-sufficient, they love animals, and they want to save money at the grocery store.
Hobby farming is a farm that is up to 50 acres, but it isn’t your sole source of income like a small farm or homesteading.
However, homesteading and hobby farming do overlap in size, purpose and sometimes in a little profit. Make sure you check with your accountant about taxes related to any income you earn from your hobby farm.
To maintain your hobby farm, you need an alternate source of income where a small farm or a homestead makes money from farming. For example, you and your partner may still need your 9-5 job, or you could invest in a hobby farm during your retirement years.
You also need to clarify why you want a hobby farm. Starting a farm, whether for homesteading or as a hobby, takes a lot of work. If you already work full-time, expect to work your weekends away cleaning up stalls, weeding out your vegetable gardens, or fixing a fence.
How to Start a Hobby Farm
You first need to figure out why you want to start a hobby farm. Do you hope that hobby farming allows. you to..
- Be self-sufficient
- Be healthier
- Teach your children about where their food comes from
- Be more connected with your family and the earth
- Pass on traditions of canning, freezing, and storing fruits and vegetables to feed your family throughout the winter
- Channel your creativity
- Enjoy your retirement?
Once you figured out your purpose for starting a hobby farm, you need to look at your budget.
Your full-time job or retirement income will not only be sustaining you, but you’ll need to spend money on the outset to buy farming equipment, a plot of land, animals, their feed and bedding, as well as any other modifications for your farm.
Additionally, if your plot of land doesn’t have a home on it, you’ll need to build your home and any other outbuildings, such as a barn, to house your animals.
Starting a hobby farm isn’t something you do impulsively. It takes thought, money and a sound plan to launch into hobby farming.
Here are eight hobby farming tips as you get started:
- Do your homework. For example, if you live in the suburbs right now, and you don’t know a Jersey cow from a Holstein, then you need to study up on cow breeds.
You need to learn about farming—the joys and the pitfalls. You also need some DIY skills. Plus, you need money to start your hobby farm.
- Start small. You don’t need to get a big herd of cattle right off the bat. Instead, you can start small with a few hens and a rooster. If you want cattle for meat and milk, start with one cow.
However, if you never lived on a farm and had farm animals, you need to learn about specific animal breeds including their needs for shelter, food, and water.
You also need to find a large animal veterinarian in case your farm animal gets sick, or you want to breed your herd.
- Hobby, by definition, is relaxing and not a business venture. If you want to make your farm profitable, it’s no longer a hobby farm.
Instead, it’s a homestead or a small farm. You need to define your farm for tax purposes—even if you don’t plan to sell anything from your farm such as eggs, milk, and honey.
- Don’t go into debt. Hobby farming is an expensive endeavor especially if you’re starting from scratch. If you don’t have a written budget and a plan for your farm, you could lose it as well as go into bankruptcy.
- Educate yourself. Don’t go into any type of farming, including hobby farming, without understanding what’s involved with it.
Even if you decide to have a few chickens, a rabbit, and an oversized vegetable garden, you still need to understand an animal’s needs as well as the marriage between healthy soil and a successful garden.
There are books, videos, and workshops on farming. Go to your local extension service to learn more about animal husbandry and gardening do’s and don’ts. There’s even a magazine called Hobby Farms. You can find more hobby farming ideas on Hobby Farm’s Facebook page.
Get to know other farmers in your area and ask them questions. Many of them would be happy to share their agricultural secrets and tips with you.
- Learn DIY. If you never fixed anything in your life, you need to learn DIY skills. It’s a lot cheaper for you to fix a broken fence or repair the barn roof rather than hiring a contractor to come to your farm to repair it.
Get the necessary tools to make repairs before they happen. You can also watch YouTube videos and join the DIY Network to hone your skills.
However, if you need to call a pro, do so, if the project is out of your wheelhouse. A professional carpenter, plumber, or repairperson will get the job done correctly—which can save you time, money, and headaches.
- Be flexible. Farming, like the weather, can be unpredictable. Animals get sick, it rains too much one summer, or your farm isn’t thriving. Have reasonable expectations and go with the flow to some extent.
If you’re new to hobby farming, you need flexibility with yourself and your spouse as well. You’ll get into a new routine, but it can be difficult some days when nothing cooperates with your farming routine.
- Enjoy the process. You may have high ideals for your hobby farm, but because “hobby” is in that phrase, it should be an enjoyable endeavor too. Granted, you’ll learn by trial and error—but it should be fun rather than just hard work.
How Brinly Lawn Care and Garden Attachments Help You Get Started
As it was stated earlier, you need the right equipment to build a hobby farm. Our lawn care and garden attachments help you with your farm chores—especially in the garden or with small meadows.
Brinly ground engaging attachments help you with all of your groundbreaking and garden-making chores, while our tow-behind carts assist you with taking tools and soil amendments to your many flowerbeds and vegetable gardens.
Are you ready to invest in Brinly’s ground-engaging attachments and tow-behind carts? Then you can buy your Brinly equipment at any of these fine retailers.
If you can’t find your favorite Brinly lawn care and garden attachments, call our customer service at 877-728-8224 or fill out our contact form.