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Do I Want to be a Farmer?

Grnd93

The Dude
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
236
Messages
729
Loc
Michigan
So, my mom has about 10-11 acres for field that has been in the family for ~100 years (passed down from great grandfather to my grandfather to my father and now in her hands).

For as long as i can remember the land was farmed by a local famer. He pays a flat rate at the start of the season and grows soy beans or feed corn depending on what is in demand.

I am considering the idea of establishing this as a farm with the state.

From my logical point of view nothing will change except maybe how we deal with the farmer that is doing the work.

Are there any benefits to doing this? tax breaks or whathaveyou?

with the current situation mom actually loses money as what the farmer pays does not cover the property tax. We did discover the land is being taxed at a residential rate, so that is the first thing we need to fix.

when i was a kid there was 3 things I wanted to be when I grew up. a mechanic, an astronaut and a farmer. I've been a mechanic, and have flown in the USAF (so basically astronaut:lmao:).

That only leaves one thing left.
 
Unless the farmer is a small time operation, he is doing you a favor by farming it, probably costs him more in rent, time and machinery costs than what he is making. I would see what type of crp program you can get the ground into. likely get more money for not farming it than what it is making being farmed.
 
Depends on your states ag taxation laws. Down here you would have to jump through a few hoops to get it ag exempt on that small of acreage but it can be done. The taxation difference is HUGE. But in your situation you'd be a landowner not a Farmer. Nothing wrong with that I've been both. Get it in the Federal AG program if it has been row cropped in the past there are subsidies that don't require anything more than some paperwork. IE I have 16 acres out of a 72 acre patch that back it the 70's it was row cropped and in a federal ag program before I bought it, to this day we will get from $50 to $300 a year check for it. Find your Federal Ag office and talk to them. No way I'd let loose of family lot that we'd had for over 100 years if I could keep it for next to nothing. Don't sound like you will have to do much other than talk with the farmer and some paperwork/rsearch. Good luck,
 
Depends on your states ag taxation laws. Down here you would have to jump through a few hoops to get it ag exempt on that small of acreage but it can be done. The taxation difference is HUGE. But in your situation you'd be a landowner not a Farmer. Nothing wrong with that I've been both. Get it in the Federal AG program if it has been row cropped in the past there are subsidies that don't require anything more than some paperwork. IE I have 16 acres out of a 72 acre patch that back it the 70's it was row cropped and in a federal ag program before I bought it, to this day we will get from $50 to $300 a year check for it. Find your Federal Ag office and talk to them. No way I'd let loose of family lot that we'd had for over 100 years if I could keep it for next to nothing. Don't sound like you will have to do much other than talk with the farmer and some paperwork/rsearch. Good luck,

I have no intention of selling off the land. If I can work it out to break even on the taxes I will consider that a good start.

off to do more googling
 
I would advise against hemp unless you want a high risk venture with the possibility of zero return. Farming in general is like that, but hemp is even worse.

This is just my opinion not knowing your area. If you’re doing row crops, 10-11 acres is a hobby farm at best. It’s not enough land to make money doing corn, soybeans, or wheat. You would be better off trying to do a high return crop such as fruit or vegetables, but that is dependent on your area, market, and work force available.
 
i'm amazed that you haven't done the ag exemption before. no reason at all to pay residential tax rate on something that is actively farmed.

buy a couple goats if he is only using part of it so that the rest can be ag
 
I work on a large farm. Out of season I'm the mechanic and fleet manager. In season I run whatever equipment needs ran and respond to broken equipment.

I'd get the ground classification fixed and renegotiate with the farmer, say a flat rate + a percentage of the sold crop. Farmers don't make much with current grain prices, so don't try to turn the screws to him, but you shouldn't be losing money on the deal either.

Do you know what he's averaging per acre on corn and beans? Field tile in good shape? Any pain in the dick fence rows or tree lines? Plenty of space to load trucks?
 
i'm amazed that you haven't done the ag exemption before. no reason at all to pay residential tax rate on something that is actively farmed.

buy a couple goats if he is only using part of it so that the rest can be ag

I was surprised as well. The land plus ~30 adjoining acres was actually the family farm when my great grandfather bought it. I suspect that at some point when it changed hands some paperwork wasn’t filed. I have until 5/1 to correct that for this year.
 
Do you have any machinery to do the farming? I would look at tax exemptions and continue to let someone else pay you for the land.
 
What state? Dry farming corn and soy beans in Iowa is good business. Not much worth it based on equipment needs for 10 acres, but you could rent more acreage and farm that too.
 
Do you have any machinery to do the farming? I would look at tax exemptions and continue to let someone else pay you for the land.

Essentially what my plan is. I would own the farm and subcontract the work. A farmer in name only
 
Essentially what my plan is. I would own the farm and subcontract the work. A farmer in name only

Do you have grain bins? Do you have a way to dry corn?

11 acres should net about 2200 bushels of corn and about 600 bushels of beans.
thats about $10,500 worth of corn or $7800 worth of beans at today's grain prices.
how much will contracting the work cost you?
do you plan to till or no till?
how much will fertilizer cost you?
how much will side dressing cost you?
how much will fuel cost you?
how do you plan to get the grain to market?

the headache of dealing with grain and seeking contracts ( you'll have very very little negotiating power with such little grain) seems way more than the potential payoff.

plant 10 to 11 acres of wildflowers/clover and start a bee farm.
 
Essentially what my plan is. I would own the farm and subcontract the work. A farmer in name only

If you hire it all out you’ll lose more than if you just rent it to the current guy. We have 150 ish acres that are tilliable. We just rent it out to the big cash croppers in the area. You need to have the equipment and do 1000+ acres to make any money cash cropping.

The only plot we make good money on is the land we rent to the ginsing guys. They pay 500+ a acre per year for 5 years. The stipulation with that is you basically lose all the rights on that property until the ginseng is harvested.
 
A farmer in name only

Not really, but in today’s world you can call yourself whatever you want and not actually have to reassemble it.

I would look into buying more land for crops if you want to be a farmer.
 
Sharecrop with him if you want to get a taste of paying some input cost and gambling you will have some outcomes
 
I work on a large farm. Out of season I'm the mechanic and fleet manager. In season I run whatever equipment needs ran and respond to broken equipment.

I'd get the ground classification fixed and renegotiate with the farmer, say a flat rate + a percentage of the sold crop. Farmers don't make much with current grain prices, so don't try to turn the screws to him, but you shouldn't be losing money on the deal either.


Do you know what he's averaging per acre on corn and beans? Field tile in good shape? Any pain in the dick fence rows or tree lines? Plenty of space to load trucks?

the plot is a big rectangle. There is an area that the drainage is poor on the needs to addressed.

our agreement expires this year which is why I’m looking into my options. If it makes the most sense to just renegotiate the rental price that will probably be the route I go.

I was talking to a guy a year or so ago that wants to grow saffron. He only needs an acre or so, and I can easily set aside the space for him if he wants. Supposedly that is one of the most profitable crops around
 
Essentially what my plan is. I would own the farm and subcontract the work. A farmer in name only

if it wouldn't cost me way too much money in fence right now, i'd gladly rent out my property to the negihbor's cows for $1/year, ag exemption would be several hundred times that amount. even though i woulnd't "make any money" renting it out, it would still be worth the savings.
 
Step 1: find out what the local restrictions are to classify it as ag exempt.

Step 2: tell farmer/leasee to pay the equivalent of the total taxes or fuck off.

Step 3: do something else with the land, 10 acres is a joke in todays world for cash crops. Need to find a real niche market or forgot ag all together.
 
Renting an acre at $500 a year is great for you.

That’s only for 4-5 years. The reason they pay so well is they need ground that’s never grown ginseng before. Once you grow a crop the ground is done basically forever for growing ginseng. I live in the ginseng capitol of the world. They are basically out of land in the west side of the county and are moving to the east side now.

This is a super labor intensive and a huge gamble as you need to keep it alive for 4 years before you can harvest. They have about $50,000 a acre into to it when they harvest it. It’s crazy shit.
 
I lease 10 acres to a local farmer who with his own and leased land farms about 1200 acres. He has cattle so he grows feed for them along with onions...On my land he only grows hay using no chemicals for horses .
. He pays us 40 bucks an acre, it covers the taxes on the 10 acres. ..In this area, NY Finger Lakes, hops is a good cash crop. It does require some work and takes a few years to get going
 
Do you have grain bins? Do you have a way to dry corn?

11 acres should net about 2200 bushels of corn and about 600 bushels of beans.
thats about $10,500 worth of corn or $7800 worth of beans at today's grain prices.
how much will contracting the work cost you?
do you plan to till or no till?
how much will fertilizer cost you?
how much will side dressing cost you?
how much will fuel cost you?
how do you plan to get the grain to market?

the headache of dealing with grain and seeking contracts ( you'll have very very little negotiating power with such little grain) seems way more than the potential payoff.

plant 10 to 11 acres of wildflowers/clover and start a bee farm.

200 bushel/acre corn? WTF kinda corn you got? I want some of that
 
Do you have grain bins? Do you have a way to dry corn?

11 acres should net about 2200 bushels of corn and about 600 bushels of beans.
thats about $10,500 worth of corn or $7800 worth of beans at today's grain prices.
how much will contracting the work cost you?
do you plan to till or no till?
how much will fertilizer cost you?
how much will side dressing cost you?
how much will fuel cost you?
how do you plan to get the grain to market?

the headache of dealing with grain and seeking contracts ( you'll have very very little negotiating power with such little grain) seems way more than the potential payoff.

plant 10 to 11 acres of wildflowers/clover and start a bee farm.

I have land...
 
That’s not unheard of. There are high management guys pushing 300+. Our county is good to do a 100 bu/A average in a wet year. I’ve seen more zeroed out corn than that.

Damn. I'd love to see that corn. My family's usually doing good to get 160-170. They don't have pinpoint gps and irrrigation though.
 
200 bushel/acre corn? WTF kinda corn you got? I want some of that

We averaged 215 last year. Some good areas hit 300+.

we grow waxy starch corn. Not sure if that makes a difference. I'm not a farmer, just work for one. I know we apply a fuckload of anhydrous. Along with a very nitrogen dense starter and diligent evaluation of nutrient needs over winter. Once the ground freezes, we'll go back to spreading lime, potash, and some other stuff I can't recall right now.
 
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