Is Buying a Hobby Farm in Your Future?
By Burt Carey
More and more Americans are escaping big city or suburb life for one in the country on their own 40 acres, trading traffic and honking horns for the quieter, simpler life of a farmer. They’ve traded business apparel for denim, floppy hats and boots.
Buying a hobby farm can be exhilarating and frustrating all at the same time, even for the most prepared among us. Here are some things to consider before moving to the countryside.
First, you won’t find your Green Acres by driving around looking at properties with for sale signs. Whether you want to grow vegetables, raise cattle or other livestock, or buy a retirement cottage in the woods with a pond, employing a real estate agent that specializes in farms will save your time and money.
Also consider that you’re not likely to find a turn-key operation that suits yours desires perfectly. The majority of hobby farm owners develop their properties over time, adding barns, stables, fencing and other amenities as they go.
Hobby farms come in a variety of styles to match with the owners’ goals. Some farmers want to raise livestock, pelts or produce to sell at local markets, which requires locations relatively close to urban population centers. Farms farther away from big cities are less expensive than those close to a city.
Hobby farms can range from hunting properties to country estates to a house with outbuildings. What typically happens with these farms is that the house is in pristine order but barns, stables and other outbuildings have been neglected, or vice-versa. You’ll need to consider the types of floors used for the outbuildings, whether they are dirt, gravel or concrete, how well or whether they are insulated, and the availability of electricity and water.
For those who want a farm for personal use, such as for horses or growing gardens to produce their own vegetables and fruits, a small tract of land in the 5- to 10-acre size is probably plenty of space. But if you’re looking to market what you grow, you’ll be looking for a farm anywhere from 20 to 50 acres in size.
The history of any farm you want to buy may dictate what types of vegetables or fruits will grow there. Here you can’t study enough. Your research should include soil types, the availability of water, the chemicals used by nearby farming operations, terrain, climate, and the marketability of the produce your wish to grow.
On the animal husbandry side of farming, your farm will need barns, paddocks, chicken coops or kennels, depending on the number and type of animals you want to raise.
As you look to purchase a farm, whether for personal or commercial use, be sure to ask about existing equipment, livestock and other assets. Many sellers will include tractors, chickens and existing crops in the sale price.
Source: Baret News