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    Farm boys and girls - advice needed

    I've got a small farming history, and have lived in the country my whole life, save for the last 4 years. I bought my first house a few years ago and moved to town. I'm ready to get back out in the country, and my fiance and I are looking at a hobby farm. I've worked on farms in the past, but they were large, full scale dairy farms with lots of equipment, field land, acreage, and resources available.

    The place we're looking at is 7 acres, with a hog barn, small hay barn, and a large pole shed. Oh, yeah and there's a house there too.

    I'd like to have some animals, obviously, but like I said, it will be a hobby farm and not an actual working farm, so at the moment I'm at a loss for resources.

    Without any actual field land to produce food for the animals in the winter, I obviously need to buy feed or hay from someone in the area. That's not an issue. The price and quantity is the issue. Any idea's on how to buffer those costs? I'm looking at having a handful of goats, chickens and ducks, and 2 or 3 pigs. Any idea how much feed/hay/straw I'd need to buy for food and bedding? Or a general idea on the cost?

    Also, the hog barn has an underground pit for waste. At the dairy farms I've work on, we had spreaders and hundreds of acres of field. I won't have that if we buy this place, and I have no idea what other people with hobby farms do with all that animal waste. It will likely be WAY too much to use for compost. (I will be having a garden and will probably use manure from the other animals for composting) Would local farmers be willing to pump it to use on their fields? Or would a septic company pump it, etc...I have no idea. I would have 4 acres of "prairie grasses" that I could probably pump it into, but if we get this place I considered turning the prairie grasses into pasture land and getting some bigger animals. I've been looking at scottish highland cows cuz they're frickin' awesome.



    Anyway, if any of you have experienced anything like this, or have any ideas I'm open to suggestions. We're no where near buying this place but if we do I'm doing it on the condition that I have some animals. I know how to handle it during the summer months, but winters in MN are cold and everything is covered in snow....which makes food and bedding difficult when I don't have any fields for food or bedding.
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    The cow is adorable!

    Would you have any sheep on your farm?

    I don't know anything about farming, but this sounds fun! Good luck!

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    I'm not sure what market prices are in your area, but I would consider raising a couple of market hogs or beef for sale to help offset your feed costs.

    Check with your county or a local college with an Ag program. Ohio State has an "extension office" program that assists farmers with programs. Minn may have something similar. They may have the resources to set you up with someone to remove your pit waste, get you reduced or bulk feed prices, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pudge113 View Post
    I'm not sure what market prices are in your area, but I would consider raising a couple of market hogs or beef for sale to help offset your feed costs.

    Check with your county or a local college with an Ag program. Ohio State has an "extension office" program that assists farmers with programs. Minn may have something similar. They may have the resources to set you up with someone to remove your pit waste, get you reduced or bulk feed prices, etc.
    Excellent info. Our county has an "Agriculture extension" office...I'll check there. My biggest issue is pit waste....I think I could get maybe 4 round bales (at most) to last me the whole winter considering I'm not gonna have a lot of animals.

    I was planning on using the pigs solely as feeder pigs, not breeding or show or anything else. Maybe getting an additional hog and 1 or 2 cows would benefit in the long run with, like you said, offsetting feed costs. Sell the meat, buy feed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    The cow is adorable!

    Would you have any sheep on your farm?

    I don't know anything about farming, but this sounds fun! Good luck!
    There is a farm out in the boon docks (where I used to live) that has about 30 Scottish Highland Cows. They use them for show. They're very hardy cows that can handle very rugged weather and terrain. They're very hardy. And yes, quite adorable.

    It's a possibility. I've looked at several different sheep breeds.

    And I don't know a LOT about farming...but I have a general working knowledge. And I enjoy it.


    My brother and his girlfriend had intended on buying a farm when they got married. Now that that's not possible, I'm trying to do it for him. It won't be a full scale working dairy farm like he intended, but it's the best I can do. The place we've found it perfect for what I want (despite a few small glitches i've already mentioned) but other than getting a full scale farm and quitting LE, this is the best I can do.
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

    "The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".

    We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmur5074 View Post
    It's a possibility. I've looked at several different sheep breeds.
    That would be awesome! Maybe I could come by and hang out with your flock some time....


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    Maybe you could just leave the pig waste where it is, and run an electric generator off the gas.

    My grandmother just let her hogs poop on the ground like all her other animals did. She would rotate the farm animals around and raise vegetables on the part she rotated them out of. I think she would till it all under and let it sit for a few months before she planted anything.

    She raised some HUGE tomatoes. Some of the vines looked like small tree trunks, and her zucchini squash grew so fast she couldn't pick it all before it grew as big as small watermelons. Sometimes we'd help her load a pickup truck up with vegetables and take them into Natchez to sell by the roadside.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCharlie View Post
    Maybe you could just leave the pig waste where it is, and run an electric generator off the gas.

    My grandmother just let her hogs poop on the ground like all her other animals did. She would rotate the farm animals around and raise vegetables on the part she rotated them out of. I think she would till it all under and let it sit for a few months before she planted anything.
    Hog waste is unsat for fertilizer, and that's how people get sick.
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    jmur5074's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maclean View Post
    Hog waste is unsat for fertilizer, and that's how people get sick.

    It's ok if it's composted though right?
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

    "The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmur5074 View Post
    My brother and his girlfriend had intended on buying a farm when they got married. Now that that's not possible, I'm trying to do it for him. It won't be a full scale working dairy farm like he intended, but it's the best I can do.
    That's awesome!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCharlie View Post
    Maybe you could just leave the pig waste where it is, and run an electric generator off the gas.

    My grandmother just let her hogs poop on the ground like all her other animals did. She would rotate the farm animals around and raise vegetables on the part she rotated them out of. I think she would till it all under and let it sit for a few months before she planted anything.

    She raised some HUGE tomatoes. Some of the vines looked like small tree trunks, and her zucchini squash grew so fast she couldn't pick it all before it grew as big as small watermelons. Sometimes we'd help her load a pickup truck up with vegetables and take them into Natchez to sell by the roadside.
    Geez, what did your grandmother feed those hogs? They sure made some potent fertilizer.

    How about raising Alpacas? I do not know much about farming but I do remember seeing a lot of commercials a few years back pushing Alpaca Farms. Don't know much about alpacas either. LOL!!

    Suri Alpacas in Minnesota: Old McDonalds Farm

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmur5074 View Post
    It's ok if it's composted though right?
    I'm not sure if allowing the shit to rot with other shit makes it safe.



    Pig shit carries trichinella sporalis, I'm not sure I'd put it on food crops.

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    Raising cows,feed them twice a day, if you don't have a well that can produce water at will for you that is something you may consider. See if you can swing a deal with a land owner near by to feed your stock when you can't. I have a few round bails of grass hay here in Oklahoma for $100 a bail. I'm not sure of prices up that way.

    How much of that acreage is grass/prairie land? Are your cows going to free graze and eat twice a day?

    As far as waste goes, they poop where they poop, clean it once in awhile if you want to or let it be.
    Just because your sign off after you're shift is done, doesn't mean that it's over and put blinders on. You're a cop 24/7 wether you like it or not. If thats something you can't handle, you should find a new line of work!

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    Another advantage of having a farm is that you'll have a source of food in a major disaster that destroys the transportation system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmur5074 View Post
    There is a farm out in the boon docks (where I used to live) that has about 30 Scottish Highland Cows. They use them for show. They're very hardy cows that can handle very rugged weather and terrain. They're very hardy. And yes, quite adorable.

    It's a possibility. I've looked at several different sheep breeds.

    And I don't know a LOT about farming...but I have a general working knowledge. And I enjoy it.


    My brother and his girlfriend had intended on buying a farm when they got married. Now that that's not possible, I'm trying to do it for him. It won't be a full scale working dairy farm like he intended, but it's the best I can do. The place we've found it perfect for what I want (despite a few small glitches i've already mentioned) but other than getting a full scale farm and quitting LE, this is the best I can do.
    I think that's wonderful and I hope you're able to make it happen.




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    Quote Originally Posted by maclean View Post
    I'm not sure if allowing the shit to rot with other shit makes it safe.
    Good point!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapper_132 View Post
    Raising cows,feed them twice a day, if you don't have a well that can produce water at will for you that is something you may consider. See if you can swing a deal with a land owner near by to feed your stock when you can't. I have a few round bails of grass hay here in Oklahoma for $100 a bail. I'm not sure of prices up that way.

    How much of that acreage is grass/prairie land? Are your cows going to free graze and eat twice a day?

    As far as waste goes, they poop where they poop, clean it once in awhile if you want to or let it be.
    Holy shit. Round bales here are going for around $25. During the summer months it'd be free grazing, during the winter it'd be hand feeding. About 4 acres are prairie grass, none of it is pasture.

    Manure in the barn area or in the prairie area isn't the issue. The issue is a big underground pit that may be filled with pig manure. Eventually (with only a few pigs it will take awhile) it would be filled with manure. leaving me with a few thousand gallons of liquid pig shit.
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

    "The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".

    We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

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    I just found out that a local septic pumping company will pump a manure pit that size for around $100....MUCH less than I anticipated. So it's really not an issue for me anymore.


    I've also done some research on winter bedding/feed. I figure 4 round bales ($25 bucks a piece local price) would be plenty for a handful of goats, and shredded paper, leaves/grass clippings, wood chips, straw, and sheered wool would all be used for bedding, and the only thing I'd need to buy is straw or wood chips. I would imagine the bedding woudl last awhile considering most animals won't do their doody where they lay.

    I am beginning to think it's do able. If I could just sell my house I could move onto the next step of getting this place.
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

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    We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

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    Yeah, pigs can have lots of diseases and parasites that humans can catch, but they aren't necessarily infected if they're managed right - I'd ask your vet & extension service just to make sure. You wouldn't even want to be walking in a pig pen that was infected by some of the things they COULD have.

    I think a lot of those can be prevented or minimized by worm treatments, vaccines, and antibotics.

    I'm also not too sure how long the worm larve live outside the hog without another host, but that might be why she rotated them every year, and plowed the land under a few months before she planted anything.

    I remember one time she was saying that it's not good to let pigs stay in the same spot longer than a year - She was saying that's why the commercial farms have to use so many antibotics and other treatments, because they have WAY too many pigs occupying the same spot for years and years.

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    Put goats and/or llamas on it.

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    Farm Boys And Girls - Advice Needed

    I am also in Minnesota and I have just a 5 acre hobby farm. It is kind of ironic, because as a kid growing up on a small dairy farm I wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of there. After getting out of there after graduating high school and going to college, I realized it is actually a good life. I don't miss milking dairy cows, but I just have two riding horses. In fact, I just came back in from riding my gelding a few minutes ago. Anyway, have you given any thought to boarding horses? I will be the first to admit that it can sometimes be a hassle, but it is a way to subsidize the cost of the hobby farm. Plus, depending on who you get and how many boarders, you may have someone with an interest in taking care of things when you are out of town. I don't currently have any boarders, but one I had you several years. She loved it and did more work around the farm than I did! When we were out of town, she loved taking care of the farm.

    Oh, and on the issue of horse manure, I have a neighbor across the street that traded favors with me. He and his wife absolutely love to garden. He offered to clean my horse barn out if he could have the horse manure. I warned him that it might be "too much" since it hadn't rotted into black dirt yet, but he said that for what he raised ot would be great. He cleaned the entire barn out for me. Talk about a good deal for him and a good deal for me.

    Oh and, depending on the township you live in, why not consider running a modest mini storage on site to help defer the cost of the farm? My cousin in Coates bought an old farm and his barn is used for winter storage for boats, ATVs, etc. He doesn't want a constant hassle, so he only takes customers that leave it all winter, so he doesn't even have to bother with snowplowing out to the barn. In fact, you may find the business lucrative enough that you put up another pole barn just for more customers!

 

 
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