Brand new to all of this -- help? :)

beltane

Member
Mixed Farmer
Good afternoon everyone!

I am an American with strong ties to Britain - but will be farming over here in the US. I am brand new to it all, I am not from farming stock - just a blue collar, working class family. I own 24 acres (8 of which is wooded and I plan to keep that way) and I want to know... where do I start?

What books can I read? Who should I speak to? My neighbor is a cattle farmer of Angus beef, about ~300 head but doesn't know much about small holding farming, or what I want to do.

I would like to have a cow/calf rotation each year (so I can make butter and cheese) -- and am thinking about mixed rotational farming for goats/sheep perhaps (I am unsure - no one does this out here in the US, small holdings are a new and fresh idea out here, and Britain has all the perfection of it) but I am slightly overwhelmed with the prospect of planning everything. Just need some help to point me in the right direction. I've got loads of motivation and luckily, good investment dollars to help me with my plans. I just need a plan.

Anything you can tell me, anything at all, will be helpful.
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
Agree with above... these will be US homestead forums far better equipped to help you than we can. 16ac of pasture I take it? How much land does your neighbor need to support his 300head? Depending on soils and climate you might be able to keep 1 cow/ac or you might be lucky to support 1 cow on your holding... 40 sheep or 4 sheep. Whatever you do, don't give up the day job....
 

beltane

Member
Mixed Farmer
Yeah, what the people here in the US and call it "homesteading" isn't my plan at all. This isn't my backyard. It's cultivated farmland.

I own a gun -- but what does that have to do with anything regarding farming?
 

Ball acre

Member
Location
Somerset
Yeah, what the people here in the US and call it "homesteading" isn't my plan at all. This isn't my backyard. It's cultivated farmland.

I own a gun -- but what does that have to do with anything regarding farming?
Good luck. Where about are you in the US? Put some pictures up of your land.🙂
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Great advice above - firstly determine where, who, and what your market is.

Anyone can grow stuff, plants grow themselves,, but to turn that into income and have something left as profit, is where the skill lies.

What region are you in?
Do you know your "zone"? eg 6b
How big and close is your nearest population base, and do they have farmer's markets there?

There is a heap of info out there... I would suggest you google 'Joel Salatin' and then see what related stuff the algorithms throw at you, he's quite passionate about "from the ground up" farming and smallholding and has some great ideas and concepts - plus he knows how to market it to the public
 

Flatlander

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lorette Manitoba
There is a great documentary on Netflix called the biggest little farm. Well worth watching and would give you some good ideas as to what’s possible to make your dream reality and not a nightmare However I’d strongly recommend going to help out some neighbours with cattle and other types of animals and draw on their experience. You can learn a lot from books but farming is more hands on and gut instincts than by the book.
 

beltane

Member
Mixed Farmer
Great advice above - firstly determine where, who, and what your market is.

Anyone can grow stuff, plants grow themselves,, but to turn that into income and have something left as profit, is where the skill lies.

What region are you in?
Do you know your "zone"? eg 6b
How big and close is your nearest population base, and do they have farmer's markets there?

There is a heap of info out there... I would suggest you google 'Joel Salatin' and then see what related stuff the algorithms throw at you, he's quite passionate about "from the ground up" farming and smallholding and has some great ideas and concepts - plus he knows how to market it to the public
Yes I am in 7b and yes, there are farmer's markets all over where I live in North Carolina - it is a farming state.

Thank you for the tip on Joel Salatin - I appreciate it and will look into it!
There is a great documentary on Netflix called the biggest little farm. Well worth watching and would give you some good ideas as to what’s possible to make your dream reality and not a nightmare However I’d strongly recommend going to help out some neighbours with cattle and other types of animals and draw on their experience. You can learn a lot from books but farming is more hands on and gut instincts than by the book.
I have seen that documentary -- that is in California, *very* different than here in North Carolina. For instance here, we need 0 irrigation, whereas in California they are constantly under drought conditions. But the notion of what they achieved is what I'd like to do here and hopefully successfully enough to be an example for other farmers.

I have contacts with the small farm unit at NC State but they are offering only vegetable farming coop support and that is not what I plan or want to do. There are other farms here, yes, but no one is doing what *you* are doing in Britain. Not here. Not yet. Not really. In some people's backyards, sure. But here, people compost and plant tomatoes and a row of cucumbers and think they're farming. lol

I just want to try some different things, things that people here aren't doing -- but are common in Britain. I'd like to build some hedgerows -- hawthorn can grow here (hell, anything can grow here in NC) and I would love to see how it would improve field borders. As it stands, my land has wooded borders already and loads of supporting wildlife, just need more information so I can begin to make a plan.

Thanks everyone who has responded so far. <3
 

Flatlander

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lorette Manitoba
Sounds like your asking for help but know the answers. I can tell you from experience that taking what you know works in one country to another doesn’t always work. If you want to grow hawthorn go ahead and plant hedges but as far as being helped you’ll need to know what your trying to achieve then ask the right questions. A cow calf rotation? Either the cow is rearing the calf or you sell the calf and milk the cow. Have you thought beyond that point fir making butter and cheese. fir example equipment and storage fir the product your wanting to make. Might want to check into regulations for selling to the public. Especially as the US has a reputation for hungry lawyers. Good luck with your venture it sound very challenging in more ways than one.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Yes I am in 7b and yes, there are farmer's markets all over where I live in North Carolina - it is a farming state.

Thank you for the tip on Joel Salatin - I appreciate it and will look into it!

I have seen that documentary -- that is in California, *very* different than here in North Carolina. For instance here, we need 0 irrigation, whereas in California they are constantly under drought conditions. But the notion of what they achieved is what I'd like to do here and hopefully successfully enough to be an example for other farmers.

I have contacts with the small farm unit at NC State but they are offering only vegetable farming coop support and that is not what I plan or want to do. There are other farms here, yes, but no one is doing what *you* are doing in Britain. Not here. Not yet. Not really. In some people's backyards, sure. But here, people compost and plant tomatoes and a row of cucumbers and think they're farming. lol

I just want to try some different things, things that people here aren't doing -- but are common in Britain. I'd like to build some hedgerows -- hawthorn can grow here (hell, anything can grow here in NC) and I would love to see how it would improve field borders. As it stands, my land has wooded borders already and loads of supporting wildlife, just need more information so I can begin to make a plan.

Thanks everyone who has responded so far. <3
Good stuff, yes you really need "something different to bring to the table". We have such a low popn. density here that our main market is farmers, travel/transport to a city kills most of our options.
Always find myself envious of people with customers, but, the space is nice 🙂

So much you can do with milk, most farms are just far too big to do anything other than give it away. Then have a moan about how much they need to give away to stay afloat. Lol.

One of our big winners when I was in the dairy industry was having a separator in the dairy, even cream and reduced cream was really sought-after in a rural area, and other than cleaning the separator afterwards it was such a quick "money maker".
They made icecream in town, basically the icecream factory there let us run a batch one weekend a month, and it was a goldmine

if you can keep looking for things that other people don't want to do, then you get all the cash they don't make.
 

beltane

Member
Mixed Farmer
Good stuff, yes you really need "something different to bring to the table". We have such a low popn. density here that our main market is farmers, travel/transport to a city kills most of our options.
Always find myself envious of people with customers, but, the space is nice 🙂

So much you can do with milk, most farms are just far too big to do anything other than give it away. Then have a moan about how much they need to give away to stay afloat. Lol.

One of our big winners when I was in the dairy industry was having a separator in the dairy, even cream and reduced cream was really sought-after in a rural area, and other than cleaning the separator afterwards it was such a quick "money maker".
They made icecream in town, basically the icecream factory there let us run a batch one weekend a month, and it was a goldmine

if you can keep looking for things that other people don't want to do, then you get all the cash they don't make
That is brilliant, thank you, thank you, thank you
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

court-640x360.jpg
A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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