Starting Up a Small Farm

A hobby farm is a small farm that’s run for your own pleasure rather than for profit. Hobby farmers must have another form of income (an outside job, pension, etc.), as they are unlikely to make any money on their farming (though they may be able to sell some items such as canned vegetables, eggs, or honey). If you’re just getting started with your hobby farm, things might seem overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you need to know first? With these guiding principles, you can stay on course.

If you jump into hobby farming with both feet, there’s a good chance you’ll feel overwhelmed with the care of three or four species of animals that are new to you, plus managing a garden and trying to put up food, you can get burned out quickly. If you start with just one or two major projects per year, depending on the amount of time you have to devote to farming, you’ll have a chance to learn as you go with a lower rate of failure, and you’ll feel more relaxed and joyous as you add new species and expand each year.

A hobby is something that you do for pleasure, not profit. If you’re running a true business that you hope to earn you something beyond the food you eat and a few thousand dollars at the farmers market, you’re not a hobby farmer. Of course, you might make a little extra money by running a small farmstand or selling produce to local restaurants, but avoid spending more time selling than farming. Remember that you got into hobby farming for the fun of it!