If you like to grow your own vegetables or thought about raising a few farm animals to have around, them hobby farming is just what you’ve been looking for. Hobby farming can have a lot of definitions, but the core principle remains the same. A hobby farm is a small farm, usually under 50 acres, that was developed mainly for pleasure instead of generating an income source.
But just because a hobby farm does not turn into a business, it does not mean it can’t be both a fun and profitable activity. In this case, profit does not mean selling goods in exchange for money, but rather using the farm to transform your lifestyle into a more sustainable one.
If hobby farming sounds like an interesting activity, but you don’t know how to start, the tips below are meant to give you some help.
Start small and expand organically
Hobby farming is supposed to be fun, so if you’ve never done that before, start with a few small projects first. Think of it like painting – you wouldn’t start painting an entire mural the first day you learn how to hold the brush. If you start by taking care of four species of animals and five different crop types, chances are you will start to feel overwhelmed.
In the first year, try to stick to two major projects, and as you get more experienced you can start expanding. Taking things little by little will maximize your chances of success and help you learn as you go. But if you were to take on too many projects at a time, you may not have the time or experience to devote to them. Hobby farming is supposed to be a relaxing and fun adventure, so don’t complicate things.
Turn it into a practical thing
To be considered a hobby farm, your farm should not generate income, but it doesn’t mean you can’t turn your farm into something profitable. A hobby farm can be very practical and can end up saving you a lot of money in the long term.
Being able to grow a portion of your own food means less money spent on groceries, and we all know how expensive fruits and vegetables can be at the store sometimes. Once you start to get a hold of it and understand how easy it is to grow your own vegetables, you will think twice before paying such high prices at the store.
But besides the financial part, home-grown food tastes a thousand times better and has more health benefits than any type of food you will get in a grocery store. Just wait to taste your first farm-grown tomato and you’ll see it for yourself.
Manage your finances well
A hobby farm is, after all, a hobby, so make sure you are not spending more money than you have. While you may be able to get a small profit from using your grown goods instead of buying from the store, or selling some of the goods so that they don’t get spoiled, hobby farming should still be treated as a hobby.
If you are planning an expansion, don’t go into debt to complete it. Do you need a new tractor? Start saving up and complete the purchase once you have the money. And while we’re here, you may also want to consider insuring your tractor, so that your equipment is protected in case of an unfortunate event. As insurance experts like Duliban Insurance explain, tractor insurance for personal tractors can start as low as $14 a month but can end up saving you a great deal of money in the long run.
Join a community
Hobbies are more fun when they are shared with people who have the same passion, so why not join a hobby farming community? You can find many of those online or, if you live in an area where farming is a common activity, you can ask around if there is a community you can join.
By talking to other farmers, you can learn more about growing your farm and get some practical advice. Sure, you can find a lot of information online, but talking to people who do this on a daily basis can be even more useful.
Take the time to connect with farmers around you, learn from them, and share your knowledge when needed as well. If you end up meeting farmers from around your area, you can even plan a farm visit and share each other’s journey.
Do it yourself
If you truly want to be a farmer, you need to learn how do fix some things yourself. This will save you a lot of money and turn your hobby into an even more rewarding one. Learning how to fix the irrigation system or how to build a chicken waterer, instead of purchasing one, will feel a ton more satisfying.
The less money you take out of your pocket to keep your farm running, the more profitable it can turn. Plus, you get to learn a new set of practical skills that will help in your daily life as well.
Sure, some things call for expert advice, so if it takes more than you anticipated to make something work, or if you end up feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to call a professional for help. Things such as plumbing, fixing the electrical system, or taking care of an ill animal are better to be left to those more experienced.
Remember to just have fun with it
A hobby farm can turn into a profitable activity, but don’t forget its main purpose: to help you relax. Experiment with your farm, take the time to learn and become a farmer at your own pace, otherwise, you will end up feeling overwhelmed.
Taking care of a farm means being responsible for your animals and crops, but don’t forget to have fun with it. Even if you end up failing sometimes, take it as a lesson and move on. Everything you do at the farm should improve your life, not make it more difficult.