Farming is confining .
The farmer's life must be arranged to meet the demands of crops and livestock .
Livestock must be tended every day , routinely .
A slight change in the work schedule may cut the production of cows or chickens .
Even if there are no livestock , the farmer cannot leave the farm for long periods , particularly during the growing season .
The worker who lives on a farm cannot change jobs readily .
He cannot leave the farm to take work in another locality on short notice ; ;
such a move may mean a loss of capital .
Hard physical labor and undesirable hours are a part of life .
The farmer must get up early , and , at times , work late at night .
Frequently he must work long hours in the hot sun or cold rain .
No matter how well work is planned , bad weather or unexpected setbacks can cause extra work that must be caught up .
It may not be profitable for a part-time farmer to own the labor-saving machinery that a full-time farmer can invest in profitably .
Production may fall far below expectations .
Drought , hail , disease , and insects take their toll of crops .
Sickness or loss of some of the livestock may cut into the owner's earnings , even into his capital .
Returns for money and labor invested may be small even in a good year .
The high cost of land , supplies , and labor make it difficult to farm profitably on a part-time basis .
Land within commuting distance of a growing city is usually high in price , higher if it has subdivision possibilities .
Part-time farmers generally must pay higher prices for supplies than full-time farmers because they buy in smaller quantities .
If the farm is in an industrial area where wages are high , farm labor costs will also be high .
A part-time farmer needs unusual skill to get as high production per hen , per cow , or per acre as can be obtained by a competent full-time farmer .
It will frequently be uneconomical for him to own the most up-to-date equipment .
He may have to depend upon custom service for specialized operations , such as spraying or threshing , and for these , he may have to wait his turn .
There will be losses caused by emergencies that arise while he is away at his off-farm job .
The farm may be an additional burden if the main job is lost .
This may be true whether the farm is owned or rented .
If the farm is rented , the rent must be paid .
If it is owned , taxes must be paid , and if the place is not free of mortgage , there will be interest and payments on the principal to take care of .
A farm provides a wholesome and healthful environment for children .
It gives them room to play and plenty of fresh air .
The children can do chores adapted to their age and ability .
Caring for a calf , a pig , or some chickens develops in children a sense of responsibility for work .
Part-time farming gives a measure of security if the regular job is lost , provided the farm is owned free of debt and furnishes enough income to meet fixed expenses and minimum living costs .
For some retired persons , part-time farming is a good way to supplement retirement income .
It is particularly suitable for those who need to work or exercise out of doors for their health .
Generally , the same level of living costs less in the country than in the city .
The savings are not as great , however , as is sometime supposed .
Usually , the cost of food and shelter will be somewhat less on the farm and the cost of transportation and utilities somewhat more .
Where schools , fire and police protection , and similar municipal services are of equal quality in city and country , real estate taxes are usually about the same .
A part-time farmer and his family can use their spare time profitably .
Some persons consider the work on a farm recreational .
For some white-collar workers it is a welcome change from the regular job , and a physical conditioner .
Land , labor , and equipment needed
Part-time farming can take comparatively little land , labor , and equipment -- or a great deal .
It depends on the kind and the scale of the farming operation .
General requirements for land , labor , and equipment are discussed below .
Specific requirements for each of various types of enterprises are discussed on pages 8 to 14 .
Three quarters to 1 acre of good land is enough for raising fruits and vegetables for home use , and for a small flock of chickens , a cow , and two pigs .
You could not , of course , raise feed for the livestock on a plot this small .
If you want to raise feed or carry out some enterprise on a larger scale , you'll need more land .
In deciding how much land you want , take into account the amount you'll need to bring in the income you expect .
But consider also how much you and your family can keep up along with your other work .
The cost of land and the prospects for appreciation in value may influence your decision .
Some part-time farmers buy more land than they need in anticipation of suburban development .
This is a highly speculative venture .
Sometimes a desired acreage is offered only as part of a larger tract .
When surplus land is not expensive to buy or to keep up , it is usually better to buy it than to buy so small an acreage that the development of adjoining properties might impair the residential value of the farm .
If you have a year-round , full-time job you can't expect to grow much more than your family uses -- unless other members of the family do a good deal of the work or you hire help .
As a rule , part-time farmers hire little help .
In deciding on the enterprises to be managed by family labor , compare the amount of labor that can be supplied by the family with the labor needs of various enterprises listed in table 1 .
List the number of hours the family can be expected to work each month .
You may want to include your own regular vacation period if you have one .
Do not include all your spare time or all your family's spare time -- only what you are willing to use for farm work .
If you are going to produce for home use only , you will need only hand tools .
You will probably want to hire someone to do the plowing , however .
For larger plantings , you'll need some kind of power for plowing , harrowing , disking , and cultivating .
If you have a planting of half an acre or more you may want to buy a small garden tractor ( available for $300 to $500 with attachments , 1960 prices ) .
These tractors are not entirely satisfactory for plowing , particularly on heavier soils , so you may still want to hire someone to do the plowing .
Cost of power and machinery is often a serious problem to the small-scale farmer .
If you are going to farm for extra cash income on a part-time basis you must keep in mind the needed machinery investments when you choose among farm enterprises .
You can keep your machinery investment down by buying good secondhand machinery , by sharing the cost and upkeep of machinery with a neighbor , and by hiring someone with machinery to do certain jobs .
If an expensive and specialized piece of machinery is needed -- such as a spray rig , a combine , or a binder -- it is better to pay someone with a machine to do the work .
Selecting a farm
Before you look for a farm you'll need to know ( 1 ) the kind and scale of farming you want to undertake ; ;
and ( 2 ) whether you want to buy or rent .
Information on pages 8 to 14 may help you in deciding on the kind and scale of your farming venture .
If you are not well acquainted with the area in which you wish to locate , or if you are not sure that you and your family will like and make a success of farming , usually you would do better to rent a place for a year or two before you buy .
Discussed below are some of the main things to look for when you select a part-time farm .
nearness to work .
Choose a location within easy commuting distance of both the regular job and other employment opportunities .
Then if you change jobs you won't necessarily have to sell the farm .
The presence of alternative job opportunities also will make the place easier to sell if that should become desirable .
Obviously the farm should be on an all-weather road .
Nearness to markets .
If you grow anything to sell you will need markets nearby .
If you plan to sell fresh vegetables or whole milk , for example , you should be close to a town or city .
Kind of neighborhood .
Look for a farm in a neighborhood of well-kept homes .
There are slums in the country as well as in the city .
Few rural areas are protected by zoning .
A tavern , filling station , junk yard , rendering plant , or some other business may go up near enough to hurt your home or to hurt its value .
Facilities in the area .
Check on the schools in the area , the quality of teaching , and the provision for transportation to and from them .
Find out whether fire protection , sewage system , gas , water mains , and electrical lines are available in the locality .
If these facilities are not at the door , getting them may cost more than you expect .
You may have to provide them yourself or get along without them .
You cannot get along without an adequate supply of pure water .
If you are considering a part-time farm where the water must be provided by a well , find out if there is a good well on the farm or the probable cost of having one drilled .
A pond may provide adequate water for livestock and garden .
Pond water can be filtered for human use , but most part-time farmers would not want to go to so much trouble .
The following amounts of water are needed per day for livestock and domestic uses .
Topography and soil
Is the land suited to the crops you intend to raise ? ?
If you can't tell , get help from your county agricultural agent or other local specialist .
Soil type , drainage , or degree of slope can make the difference between good crops and poor ones .
Small areas that aren't right for a certain crop may lie next to areas that are well suited to that crop .
Will the house on any part-time farm you are considering make a satisfactory full-time residence ? ?
How much will it cost to do any necessary modernizing and redecorating ? ?
If the house is not wired adequately for electricity or if plumbing or a central heating system must be installed , check into the cost of making these improvements .
Buying a farm
The value of the farm to you will depend on --
Its worth as a place to live .
The value of the products you can raise on it .
The possibilities of selling the property later on for suburban subdivision .
Decide first what the place is worth to you and your family as a home in comparison with what it would cost to live in town .
Take into account the difference in city and county taxes , insurance rates , utility rates , and the cost of travel to work .
Next , estimate the value of possible earnings of the farm .
To do this , set up a plan on paper for operating the farm .
List the kind and quantity of things the farm can be expected to produce in an average year .
Estimate the value of the produce at normal prices .
The total is the probably gross income from farming .
To find estimated net farm income , subtract estimated annual farming expenditures from probable gross income from farming .
Include as expenditures an allowance for depreciation of farm buildings and equipment .
Also count as an expense a charge for the labor to be contributed by the family .
It may be hard to decide what this labor is worth , but charge something for it .
Otherwise , you may pay too much for the farm and get nothing for your labor .
To figure the value of the farm in terms of investment income , divide the estimated annual net farm income by the percentage that you could expect to get in interest if the money were invested in some other way .