Ask the Experts: How can we afford our dream of owning a hobby farm?

Article as seen in the November edition of Money magazine by Susan Hely.

Questions: What is the smartest way forward financially for us given that Clare will not be working for some time? Should we invest in shares, buy an investment property or focus on paying down the mortgage? What is the best way to buy land, build a house and set up a hobby farm?

Names: Clare and Michael

Status: Married and expecting a baby.

Learn all you can about farming, says Charlie Roberts, owner and manager of Farmstyle, an information resource for people who want to change lifestyles and learn to farm. He has a bachelor of farm management and a masters in business administration. 

The first step for Clare and Michael when buying a small farm is to have a clear understanding of why they are purchasing it and how they would like it to look.

It’s great that they have the goal of the farm being self-sufficient and possibility of it producing a small supplementary income.

These are the purchasing tips they should consider:
* Use a reputable agent.
* Check planning restrictions and legal responsibilities.
* Inspect farm infrastructure.
* Check access to markets and services.
* Understand land and water.
* Consider weeds and pests.
* Assess natural resources.
* Meet the neighbours and assess any land use impacts.
* Be realistic about farm skills and knowledge.

There has been a growing trend in recent times for people to reconnect with the land, with the reason for small farm purchases ranging from a retreat, a weekender, a hobby farm, a conservation or self-sufficiency block, an investment or a working farm.

Land prices for small and lifestyle farms are often disconnected from those for larger farming land as they are highly sought after and are often located within close proximity to larger regional cities.

With larger farm returns averaging only 1%-4% a year (excluding capital appreciation) it is unrealistic (although not impossible) to expect your hobby farm to generate enough money to pay for the land, let alone the house and other farm improvements. That said, it is still possible to have a rewarding, self-sufficient lifestyle.

Hobby farm - chicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

If self-sufficiency is the main goal, it will be essential that any crops or livestock being produced match the farm’s resources (water, soil, climate, vegetation).

To become self-sufficient and produce a range of farm produce for consumption, Clare and Michael will need to enhance their farming skills and knowledge.

Time spent with neighbours or on local working farms can be a great way to increase this knowledge base. The farm purchase is long term so they have time on their side. For Clare and Michael clearly assessing the farm’s physical resources as well as their own skills and knowledge will be important when deciding if this mix is capable of achieving their desired self-sufficient goals.

If the farm is to produce a small supplementary income and to help cover fixed expenses such as rates/insurance, an intensive enterprise that value adds and sells its product direct to consumers – such as flowers, chickens and fruit – can be viable option.

Before you select an enterprise ensure it is something you are passionate about, as you will always put more effort into something that you enjoy doing and it is more likely to succeed.

Just like any other business, it will require commitment, time and money to make it a success.

Farmstyle is an online community for small and hobby farmers to learn everything about farming and country living. We have moderated forums and friendly discussion groups where users can ask questions of our farming experts and interact with other like-minded hobby farmers. We also offer on-farm consulting, including pre-purchase inspections, helping purchasers avoid costly mistakes.

For the complete article visit Ask the Experts: How can we afford our dream of owning a hobby farm?

News Category

New Forum Topics

Topic Replies Last post Forum
5734 Just bought our first block of land, hello!
by too-many-boys-and-me on Mon, 06/17/2019 - 15:20
0
by too-many-boys-and-me
Mon, 06/17/2019 - 15:21
New Members
5522 Total newbies on 8 acres Vic
by shelle on Thu, 04/11/2019 - 10:56
4
by Albertgotdonkey
Thu, 06/13/2019 - 12:08
New Members
5733 serrated tussock
by Robdog on Sun, 06/09/2019 - 13:33
2
by rolly @ fi
Thu, 06/13/2019 - 10:11
Weeds & pests
5503 Agistment gone bad!
by frontess on Mon, 04/01/2019 - 21:35
5
by sallyero62
Tue, 06/11/2019 - 18:16
General Forum
2644 Cattle branding - fire v electric
by Comraich on Mon, 11/02/2015 - 14:33
7
by sallyero62
Tue, 06/11/2019 - 15:13
Farming Help
3316 Atherton Tablelands Queensland
by Benfairley on Mon, 01/22/2018 - 17:08
3
by sallyero62
Tue, 06/11/2019 - 15:05
New Members
5684 What do I do with 20 acres of grapes?
by Phil on Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:20
3
by sallyero62
Tue, 06/11/2019 - 14:51
New Members
3130 How to farm with sheep....
by mandys76 on Tue, 12/20/2016 - 14:02
3
by sallyero62
Tue, 06/11/2019 - 14:32
New Members
5689 Vaccination of weaner cattle
by FDE on Tue, 05/28/2019 - 06:12
2
by FDE
Fri, 05/31/2019 - 13:13
Farming Help
5611 lantana and land clearing
by samsmith on Tue, 05/07/2019 - 17:21
3
by samsmith
Tue, 05/28/2019 - 20:08
Farming Help
3148 Wiltipol Sheep and Boran Cattle
by chisel on Sun, 01/22/2017 - 19:07
6
by Brownscows
Sun, 05/26/2019 - 07:19
New Members
5520 Assignment help
by AJD on Mon, 04/08/2019 - 13:22
1
by Phil
Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:37
General Forum
5544 Petrol supply carburettor Massey Ferguson 35 Petrol
by Scarydingo on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 16:09
1
by Phil
Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:10
Machinery & products
5670 New member - Brisbane - looking for agistment for cattle
by [email protected] on Fri, 05/10/2019 - 18:22
1
by admin
Wed, 05/15/2019 - 14:39
New Members
5466 How to Become Classified as A Primary Producer/Alpacas
by Char on Fri, 02/01/2019 - 11:04
2
by AmarooFarm
Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:45
Farm planning
5673 Goat Worming
by Brettgarland on Sat, 05/11/2019 - 17:06
1
by barb
Mon, 05/13/2019 - 17:05
Farming Help
5672 Barley Straw
by Griswold on Fri, 05/10/2019 - 20:34
0
by Griswold
Fri, 05/10/2019 - 20:34
Farm water
5545 Best animals for low maintenance earning on 500 acres - QLD
by fazeraus on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 20:19
1
by admin
Tue, 05/07/2019 - 16:03
Farm planning
5538 New member looking for Dorper lambs in Noth Brisbane area
by Darryl1377 on Sun, 04/21/2019 - 17:40
1
by admin
Mon, 04/29/2019 - 07:54
New Members
5537 Dorper and Johnson grass
by krooges on Sat, 04/20/2019 - 11:44
1
by rolly @ fi
Wed, 04/24/2019 - 13:10
Sheep

Our Sponsors

Our Partners