A hobby farm can be a great way to enjoy your love for farming without the stress of owning a profitable farm. Hobby farming gives you the chance to get your hands dirty, grow a few crops for your family, and maybe even make a small side income. Hobby farmers often have adequate capital and they may even have livestock and equipment. They are not concerned with profits or even hitting a certain number, though, it’s purely something they do for fun.
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How do you know if it’s right for you?
What do you Want to Farm?
The first question to ask yourself is what is it that you want to farm? Do you want to
grow crops or raise livestock? The work involved in the passion you have can help you decide if it’s right for you. For example, if you want to raise chickens, that’s an easy way to start. Yes, there’s a lot of work involved, but it’s much easier than raising any other type of livestock. In fact, many farmers start here. You need food and water for them and they will provide you with eggs, which you can use or even sell.
If you want to grow crops, you may have some harder work cut out for you. There are many factors that determine your success including the weather, the condition of the soil, and the way you care for the crops. You may have failures at first. In fact, your entire first year could be a complete flop. Is that something you can handle? Even if you aren’t doing it for the money, it can be disheartening to have it not work out, so this is something to keep in mind.
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Do you Have the Budget?
Since you are just setting up a hobby farm, you shouldn’t rely on the income coming in to cover your costs. Make sure you have plenty of money that you can spend on your farm without any money coming in. If you end up with a small profit in your pocket, then that’s great. If you don’t, though, you don’t want it to send you into financial distress.
Even though you aren’t starting a profitable farm, you may want to consider
creating a quick plan so that you can see just how much the farm may cost you. This way you can make an informed decision when it comes down to choosing the crops and livestock you want to farm.
Can you Do Without the Tax Breaks?
There’s no doubt about it that you are going to spend a pretty penny setting up your hobby farm. Don’t think you are going to get the tax breaks someone that operates a farm as a business will get though. If you make money on the food or livestock that you farm, you may owe a pretty penny in taxes. Of course, this differs based on your location. It’s best if you discuss your tax issues with your local
USDA office to make sure that you are not going to make yourself tax poor as a result of your hobby.
Do You Have the Time?
Another important consideration is your time. As we all know, time is money and hobby farming takes a lot of both. Do you have the time to dedicate to the farm even though it won’t make you money? It could be the food that you use to put on your family’s table, so your prompt attention will be necessary. If you don’t have the time, though, you could lose your investment in your new hobby.
Hobby farming can be a great way to spend your time as a retiree or even as a way to make a little side income. Before you jump into it though, consider the costs and the time involvement. This way you will know if it’s the right choice for you or if sticking to a small backyard garden is the better way to go.
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