How to Start a Hobby Farm

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Have the land assessed when you start a hobby farm.
Have the land assessed when you start a hobby farm. (Image: the farm image by John Sandoy from Fotolia.com)

If you want to own a farm without the obligation of having to make your primary income off the land, consider owning a hobby farm. Some individuals own hobby farms for recreational purposes, while others use the land to keep livestock that are forbidden in residential neighborhoods, such as horses or sheep. Working a hobby farm can be an enriching way to make some extra income.

Accrue the experience necessary to be successful with a hobby farm. According to My Hobby Farm, a person aiming to make money off a hobby farm should have experience in the type of farming they wish to do. For example, those wanting to start a plant nursery should have experience with helping run and operate a nursery.

Assess the land for its potential. Hire a professional to help you find out the quality of soil on your hobby farm, the abundance of water on the land, how you can best use existing buildings and advise you on investments you should make. Investments may include building a fence if you want to raise cattle. Southern States recommends assessing the soil to see how livestock will affect compaction and erosion, conducting soil and forage tests, knowing the stocking rate and developing a pasture management plan.

Prepare shelter for livestock. Some livestock, especially the smaller species, require an insulated shelter so they stay cool during the summer and warm during the winter. All animals need protection from the elements, especially if they are young.

Have a viable water source. Southern States reports it is best to have land that has a natural or fabricated pond or creek that is viable throughout the whole year. If you cannot construct a pond or creek, install stock tanks that have heaters that protect it against freezing weather.

Build adequate storage facilities. You will need to store not only animal feed, but also all your tools, vehicles, farm equipment and first-aid supplies.

Buy a farm vehicle. Tractors are not fast enough in the event of an emergency, and a small compact car does not have the power and space needed to carry large farm equipment. Investing in a reliable pick-up truck is necessary for a hobby farm, according to Southern States.

Know the laws. My Hobby Farm states you need to check with your city government offices regarding the allowable noise and odor levels that can come from a hobby farm. In addition, check on regulations about the maximum number of animals you can keep for a farm of your size.

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