Agriculture Thread - Doomers Welcome

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Sped Xing

!Bigfoot! sightings please call 908-314-7784
kiwifarms.net
@Orange Rhymer wanted to me to make this thread, and what @Orange Rhymer, @Orange Rhymer gets.

So post stuffs regarding making food the old fashioned way, instead of just buying it at the store like a normal person.

About my own experience, with vagueness to avoid PL. I am a meat goat producer in Texas. I am in the process of moving from a 20-40 acre starter farm to one that's 160-200 acres. I have been in the game since 2012, and I've learned a lot the hard way, as well as some from school and outside jobs. Hopefully within a few years I will have ramped up production, while being careful not to overgraze or underbreed, to the point I can support a family from my own land alone. Once I pay off the land loan (a 20 year note) I am confident I can manage without outside income.

I could rattle on forever about breed selection, breeding goals, nutrition, forage production, management techniques, preventive medicine, and so on. It's my only passion in life. But, even if anyone is interested in that, it would make for a TLDR of an OP. So I thought, perhaps, I'd drop a few things to consider if you want to become a farmer just like Sped.

I'm sure you could say all the platitudes for me-- only do this if you love it, hard work and great rewards, be one with nature, yadda. Here's a couple actually useful things off the top of my head.

1) Financing is a bitch. Anyone who has bought a house is nodding, but it's worse than you think. There is SO much paperwork involved in financing a farm that one suspects the tree lobby is involved. And it's confusing and deceptive. For Burgers, you may be tempted by the Farm Service Agency's promise of a no-down-payment loan up to 600k with 2.2% financing on a 40 year payment plan. Too good to be true? Well, be prepared for literal weeks worth of man-hours dotting all the "T"s and crossing all the "I"s. They may not tell you this, but when the federal gummit has a lien on your land, you have to ask permission in writing to do anything that disturbs the soil below plough depth. So good luck building a fence, burying a dead animal, building a tank, or hiding your Kiwifarms Silver in a timely manner. EPA representatives are free to enter your land at any time to scrounge around for a reason to sue you, and despite what captain Planet says, the main function of the EPA is to put small businesses in the morgue so they don't fuck things up for the bug guys. Is all that worth it? Maybe. Farm finance is hard. I recommend checking around for a Co-op that will pay you a rebate on your interest.

2) Specialize. I mean this for people who are just dipping their toes in farming, the greatest form of legalized gambling. It goes dead against all the investment advice you've ever heard, but I promise. Learn to do one thing really well, and you can make money without needing to invest a cool million from the start. Diversifying is definitely right to do, once you already have a moneymaker. I specialized in selling seedstock goats, but other high-labor-high-return strategies could be beekeeping, specialty dairy, fresh vegetables for the farmer's market at 800% markup-- any of these lend themselves to gradual expansion and generalization. If you already have dairy cows, look into making your own hay and grain. Bees are wonderful for a fruit orchard. If you can garden nice veggies, you have the beginnings of understanding real boy production for the supermarket.

Just. Just don't get horses or grow grapes for wine. Millionaire dickheads like to piss money away in those markets, and that makes them a loser's bet for actually making money. Maybe a Kiwi can prove me wrong on that?

3) Learn about sales. If you are trying to make money, and you don't have 2,400 acres of prime cropland and your own half-million dollar combine, you're going to need to know how to find leads, introduce yourself and your product, and move buyers down the pipeline. Your big money is likely to be on-farm sales, at least with animals. The Auction House should be where you send the ones you don't want other people to see; auction buyers aren't premium buyers, and if all you do is raise your kids / calves / emus and put them on a truck, you're a dumb boomer and get what you deserve. Learn about sales.


So yeah TLDR let's talk about what separates man from the aborigine.
 

Orange Rhymer

kiwifarms.net
TL;DR
I'm a terrible 'farmer', living in outskirts of major metro. Burb/urban. I have an extra half-lot compared to my neighbors b/c of zoning fuckups. So last year I hit the homegrow veggies pretty hard.
I grew: tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, pumpkins, cabbage, carrots, radish, potatoes, french onions, strawberries, cabbage, lettuce, honeydew melons, watermelons, pumpkins, and TOBACCO
I constructed an enclosed structure with 3 raised beds: (2) 4'x8', (1) 4'x4'. Chicken wire (1") keeps out the larger creatures, does nothing for chipmunks. 1" allows bee/butterfly pollination, though.
I constructed an open raised bed structure (30" high) (1) 8' x 16'. Animals devastated this. No protection = open buffet.

My Experience:
Tomatoes: They grow late by me (Zone 5). Ravaged by chipmunks in late summer. They love the fucking things. I lost @ 5% due to animals. VERY disease resistant. Aphids may become a problem, not if you use a generic insecticide.
Cucumbers: Mid season yield, BY THE DOZENS. However fungus DECIMATED my crop by late summer. Can't complain, critters don't like them and I got dozens. Fungicide may help, but by the time you see the signs, it's too late.
Green Beans: Creatures don't care about them, VERY disease AND insect resistant. Spread like wildfire in late summer. But...They're green beans...
Root Veggies: I'm having a hard time with carrots, radish, and potatoes (and others). Soil compactness is giving me crappy root veggies, but wonderful greens. KEEP YOUR SOIL SUPER LOOSE for these things.
French onions/lettuce/cabbage: Plant and forget. Some problems with insects in late summer. Use trimmings from store and grow for free. I'm growing cabbage in winter.
Melons/Pumpkins: Did GREAT, but came to maturity in MID fall. Animals RAVAGED them all. Fungus can be a problem.
Tobacco: I got a TON of plants from a $3 seed packet. I'm drying the leaves now in paper bags. I moved the best plants indoors for winter growing.

Hydroponics/Aeroponics: The Aerogarden systems are a waste of time and money. Unless you are using your entire basement with $1000s of LED grow lights, your yield will suck.
 

Milkis

New feeling of soda beverage
kiwifarms.net
Nice OP. I like agronomy.

1.) How much do you rely on your fellow farmers? Were any of them goat ranchers like you?
2.) Do you feel like any level of government has your back? Or are you getting fucked all the way down?
3.) Are the goats your passion or did you choose them for good business?
 

Sped Xing

!Bigfoot! sightings please call 908-314-7784
kiwifarms.net
Nice OP. I like agronomy.

1.) How much do you rely on your fellow farmers? Were any of them goat ranchers like you?
2.) Do you feel like any level of government has your back? Or are you getting fucked all the way down?
3.) Are the goats your passion or did you choose them for good business?
1) I have learned a shit-ton from talking to other cattle and goat producers. Seedstock is definitely a "get to know people" sort of business, but I'm sure that applies to people who do straight meat production as well.

I've also learned what NOT to do from a lot of producers. It's like any business in that respect-- learn from the really good and the really bad.

I should perhaps sum up "seedstock." Basically, you breed animals that larger producers will pay a premium to add to their herds because they expect to make more money off your genetics. In that business it's crucial to talk to lots of producers, so you know what they *want.*

2) We did get a grant for crossfencing from the National Resources Conservation Service. It was copay, and we were required to get the specified fence and pay the service they approved to build it, so it wound up costing about as much as doing it ourselves. However, it's better than the fences I've built, and I didn't have to do the physical work. Time and money and all that.

I don't really mean to motherfuck the Federal government, Nor state nor county. There are useful programs out there. It's just they ALWAYS have strings attached, and they take time and lots of paperwork to get. There's way more paperwork involved even just in running a farm than Hollywood thinks. We use a service called "livestocked" now which easily pays for itself in keeping records straight and accessible.

But mostly my involvement with Uncle Sam is just paying taxes.

3) I got goats because I bought a piece of land to hide out in, and needed an agricultural exemption. I found I liked the animals, and since I can't be a Chinese General of the Warring States Period, farming is the next best thing for a lifestyle that requires people skills, math, recordkeeping, math, chemistry, biology, and plain old hard work.

"You said 'rape' twice."
"I like rape."


If you really like math, farming might be up your alley. It occurred to me that a less pretentious comparison would be to say farming is LARPing for 4X players. If you've ever made a spreadsheet to compare DPS and penetration as it affects shields, armor, and reactor energy for *fun,* you'd probably enjoy figuring out how much hay you'd need for what month, how to arrange a pasture or crop rotation for peak efficiency, and so on.

And more fun than a videogame, the answers are always fuzzy. You sometimes just have to try something and see what happens. See how @Orange Rhymer has tried all sorts of things, and I'm sure not at random, and evaluated the results.

Autism and farming go together like baby goats and chewing on bluejeans.
 
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Slappy McGherkin

Bartender? Make that a double.
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
I garden, but not on true agri-farm level. It's great having fresh fruits and veggies and the self-sufficiency that comes with it. And now legal pot. I worked on farms growing up - horse, dairy, chicken farms. Hard work, but always enjoyed it. You had a real sense of accomplishment after baling a field of hay, cutting silage for the cows, hell, even spreading manure! Also make my own sausage and sauerkraut (and other canning). Depending on crop yield, I sell some at the local farmer's market and folks love the absolute freshness and pure organic veggies I grow. It's also worth pointing out that I live in the Southwest, so I grow year round. Different crops for cool weather (cabbage, brocolli, chard, bok choi, Romaine, carrots, celery, etc.) versus summer (squash, melons, peppers, tomatoes, etc.)

For fruits - tangelos, Mexican limes, pink grapefruit and lemons all in the backyard. Stonefruit (nectarines, plums, peaches, etc.) all do for shit here. I've tried, but it's too damned hot.

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Edit: Typo spells no guud.
 
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Slappy McGherkin

Bartender? Make that a double.
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
I should perhaps sum up "seedstock." Basically, you breed animals that larger producers will pay a premium to add to their herds because they expect to make more money off your genetics. In that business it's crucial to talk to lots of producers, so you know what they *want.*

Friend of mine in Texas farms and shows meat goats. They've taken several blue ribbons at fairs and livestock shows, which I suppose raises that seedstock value you mention.
meatgoat.jpg
 

Liber Pater

ᚠᛟᚲᚲ ᛃᛇᚾᚾᛁᛉ
kiwifarms.net
Any beekeeping Kiwis in this thread? It's an industry I would like to know more about. I know one person who used to do it but they have been shifting into more lucrative agricultural pursuits over the past few years.

I would also be interested to hear from any Pacific Northwest agri-Kiwis (if there are any). What does your setup look like (square footage, crops/animals raised, yield, etc)?
 
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Sped Xing

!Bigfoot! sightings please call 908-314-7784
kiwifarms.net
Friend of mine in Texas farms and shows meat goats. They've taken several blue ribbons at fairs and livestock shows, which I suppose raises that seedstock value you mention.
View attachment 1893230
Showstock is its own world. Smart people can make a killing with it, and there's an educational aspect for the kids involved. So ahead of time I want to say that I do genuinely respect the show people and what they do. It's just not what I do or what I know about.

I wouldn't put a show Boer doe out in real pasture conditions in Texas. I know a show goat guy who puts apple cider vinegar in their water, has nice clean beds for them to sleep in, and basically treats them like members of his family. His kids have phenomenal average daily gains, and meet all the breed specifications on eye color, conformation, and so on.

I call my best goat after the Bassist from Dethklok, but her actual registered name is a string of numbers. She's far skinnier than any show goat, her back legs are longer than her front, and one of her horns is cracked. Her kids have good ADG compared to my other animals, but compared to the kids Apple Cider guy raises, they're midgets.

However, she's fought Great Danes and saved her babies from them. She's kidded in the snow and kept all three tiny babies alive. She knows how to paw the ground for acorns or pull on branches to feed herself and the herd. She's full of worms, but her immune system fights them back. She's tough as hell and a good mother. That's what I breed for.

I don't care what she looks like or how she would perform if I gave her a heated stall and fed her crepes. I don't care, because my target customers won't even look at their goats very often. They set them loose on a pasture with a buck or two and come back eight months later to gather up the weanlings to take to market; they're not going to fiddle around with selling goats one by one because they have hundreds of goats.

Show producers need to make animals that someone can take loving care of and get fantastic results. Seedstock producers need to make animals that old men in bug hats buy because they'll make more money off their two thousand acre ranch with them.

Again, please don't take this as me casting aspersions on showstock. Their challenges are every bit as demanding as my own. It's just different.

A lot of ranchers like to buy show boer bucks for terminal production, by the way. Their kids may not eat worms and crap profit the way rangier goats will, but the combination of hardass wildling momma and pampered beefcake papa can make a lot of meat.
 

Sped Xing

!Bigfoot! sightings please call 908-314-7784
kiwifarms.net
Speaking of learning from others. A goat and cattle producer I know was talking to me when I was still quite green, working one of his herds of Brahmans.

"So say you're starting a ranch in deep South Texas and you're picking between two cows. Do you take the Brahman or the Angus?"

"Obviously the Brahman," I said.

He smacked the back of my head. "Don't be racist! You must always consider the individual!"

So don't let me tell a lie that Boers are bad pasture goats and Spanish are good. Boers are just more *often* better suited for show. We still have a few extremely based Boers working for us.
 

Orange Rhymer

kiwifarms.net
Even with my shit ability, my tobacco came up quite nicely. And no bugs or animals bother it, AT ALL.

Here is my question. I don't know wtf to do with the leaves. I hung them up to dry, until near crispy. Then I packed them into brown paper bags for 'aging'
I believe the aging is when the sugars are converted, to produce a smoother smoke. I cannot 'hothouse age' nor 'barrel age'.

Any insight from you guys?
 

Slappy McGherkin

Bartender? Make that a double.
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Showstock is its own world. Smart people can make a killing with it, and there's an educational aspect for the kids involved. So ahead of time I want to say that I do genuinely respect the show people and what they do.
Absolutely! They raised their daughter doing this, Future Farmers, 4H, etc. pretty much from the time she could walk. She doesn't show the goats as much as she did when mommy and daddy ran her all over the place for shows; she's more intent on rasing French bulldogs these days. And yes, many of the shows were terminal purchases, which can be hard on a child that's hand-raised a quality kid, only to see it go to auction at the end of the show. Still, it teaches a hard reality that there's a difference between a "pet" and a "product."

If more children were raised the "farming way" these days, I honestly beleive society wouldn't be quite the dregs it has become. Farmers are sterotypically good natured people that welcome friends and family alike. I found that to be very true in Texas and make a point to stop by and see these folks every chance I get. It always amazed me when I'd stop in the local BBQ or general store in town and people are like "Hey! You're Ron's friend from Arizona aren't you? He's shown me some of your fishing pictures." Small town America, maybe. But a GREAT way of life!

It's also pretty impressive when you can compete as you're growing up at a professional level and decorate your bedroom with the spoils! Those Grand Champion buckles and ribbons don't come easy.
:drink:

buckles.jpg


ribbons.jpg
 

Slappy McGherkin

Bartender? Make that a double.
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Even with my shit ability, my tobacco came up quite nicely. And no bugs or animals bother it, AT ALL.

Here is my question. I don't know wtf to do with the leaves. I hung them up to dry, until near crispy. Then I packed them into brown paper bags for 'aging'
I believe the aging is when the sugars are converted, to produce a smoother smoke. I cannot 'hothouse age' nor 'barrel age'.

Any insight from you guys?

I lived in Maryland for several years and there were tobacco fields everywhere. Never got involved with it, other than there was a tobacco barn at the bottom of our property and they'd stack the sheaves in there every year to dry and age before going to the tobacco auction in Marlboro, MD. I DO know that farming tobacco is extremely labor intensive, as to this day, it's not really automated at all and most of the work of planting and harvesting is still done by hand. I use cigarette butts soaked in water as a natural insecticide on my tomatoes. It works, keeps the damned hornworms from devouring the whole plant overnight.
 

Orange Rhymer

kiwifarms.net
I lived in Maryland for several years and there were tobacco fields everywhere. Never got involved with it, other than there was a tobacco barn at the bottom of our property and they'd stack the sheaves in there every year to dry and age before going to the tobacco auction in Marlboro, MD. I DO know that farming tobacco is extremely labor intensive, as to this day, it's not really automated at all and most of the work of planting and harvesting is still done by hand. I use cigarette butts soaked in water as a natural insecticide on my tomatoes. It works, keeps the damned hornworms from devouring the whole plant overnight.
I'm only doing a few dozen plants, and YEAH, it's laborious. Trimming leaves is manual. I don't have the sheave boards, shredder, or a suitable environment for 'hothouse'ing. You can clear the plant, or just trim leaves, grow, repeat. I'm doing the latter.
I line-dried the leaves until brown, and now I am slow-aging. I've heard this can take 6mo to 6 YEARS.

Kinda wanted a smoke last year...
 

Sped Xing

!Bigfoot! sightings please call 908-314-7784
kiwifarms.net
I've heard that with tobacco, it's very important to wash your hands before touching your face.

Re: showing. It occurs to me that raising an animal in as near to ideal conditions as you can is actually a good teaching method. After all, in boot camp they teach shooting first in a low-stress, relaxed atmosphere with iron sights on a known distance course with wind speed and direction spelled out. That is to say, to understand fundamentals it makes a lot of sense to remove as many complications as you can.

So understanding things like the importance of feeding a goat the correct amount at the correct time, because you have one goat in your back yard, is easier to learn than with 50 goats at a pasture you can visit after work maybe. Certainly it teaches more than 500 goats you round up twice a year for shots and eye checks.

Had I shown animals when I was in high school, my life may have been much more of a straight line.
 

Radical Cadre

kiwifarms.net
My grandparents and great grandparents were farmers when they moved to America from Italy. My Dad was big into gardening and as I grew older I wanted to do more than just garden but less than a production farm. One of the neat things my ancestors left is really simple and makes planting a lot easier. It's just an old broomstick with notches cut into it at varying points. And the notches are to indicate how deep you need to plant specific types of seeds. It's a elegant solution to what is otherwise an important part of growing crops. And it speeds the process up considerably.

I stopped using the original one a season after my Dad gave it to me. But I copied the marks and made a new one with some additions for my own tastes. So yeah. A stick. Get one!
 

Fields Of Rye

Your friendly neighborhood schizo
kiwifarms.net
Any beekeeping Kiwis in this thread? It's an industry I would like to know more about. I know one person who used to do it but they have been shifting into more lucrative agricultural pursuits over the past few years.

I would also be interested to hear from any Pacific Northwest agri-Kiwis (if there are any). What does your setup look like (square footage, crops/animals raised, yield, etc)?
Been a bit but I kept bees in highschool. It's a massive pain in the ass, both in terms of constant maintenance and shit going wrong. We kept 4 hives alive for 4 years and they all got wiped out in a month. If you got question I'll answer what I can, but it's been awhile.
 

Sped Xing

!Bigfoot! sightings please call 908-314-7784
kiwifarms.net
ordered my offical copy of birth certificate from the state records, now its just gotta be processed and sent to m. hopefully it wont take long, then i just gotta get m,y id renewd and updated then...i begin my gun licene application.

So it begins...hopefully you'll se me posting my first firearm pics on here before 2022
Are you planning to start a bullet farm?
 
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