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Old 01-30-2009, 09:05 AM   #1  
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GernBlandston's Avatar
Joined APC: Mar 2008
Position: MD-11 FO
Posts: 15
Default Farming Questions for a Plan B Gameplan

Have a 70 acre property outside of Ashville, NC. With a liveable sp? farmhouse.

It is wooded and in the mountains. There would need to be clearing and irrigation to setup.
Am at the initial stages of research and was hoping to have a conversation here or by phone with someone who has a side biz. of farming.

Initial questions.

Possible agriculture options in Western North Carolina?

Cost to clear an acre of wooded land. Would a paper company do it on a one time basis?

Cost and scale of drilling wells, laying out an irrigation setup.

Federal, State subsidy programs that might be out there?

Might there be people that would be interested in leasing land to farm.
Range of prices to lease an acre of land?

Appreciate any guidance on the topic?
Thank you very much.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:19 PM   #2  
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Joined APC: Feb 2006
Position: 135 cargo
Posts: 146

Seeing you're flying an MD-11 around I'd save as much as you can and look elsewhere. You'd be extremely hard pressed to make any kind of living on 70 acres - that I"m pretty sure. The farm I grew up on wouldn't support me due to economic factors, land, equipment & capital, family etc. My parents didn't want my job to be based on chance and weather - guess what! I became a pilot! I showed them! Chance and weather! I know economics are different in different areas, different crops or animals etc - but in Montana I'd need at least five to ten THOUSAND acres to have a decent sustainable grain operation - and probably another 1-2 million in equipment capital alone. Ranching is a bit different (did some of that too) but its a 24/7 job that takes a lot out of you - and you're not always making bank on animals either and 70 acres still isn't much to sustain a whole family. Many people I know that farm or ranch have other jobs on the side, and end up cramming 36 hours of work into a 24 hour day. That said farming is, and always will be my true passion and I wish for that opportunity though it'll probably never happen. Good luck in your endeavors though!
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:05 AM   #3  
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Joined APC: Jul 2007
Position: 744 CA
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I doubt seriously that you could make a sustainable living off of 70 acres. I have a friend who's family owns 360 acres and activley farms it... they added a feed mill to their operation to be able to make a living. It is HIS opinion that 500-600 acres in that area would be the absolute mininmum to make a living. I have another friend who's brother farms in northern Louisiana and he farms 1000 acres and leases another 1500 acres. He makes a decent living...when things go right.
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:57 AM   #4  
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Joined APC: May 2005
Position: Corporate Pilot
Posts: 7,110
Default Free Range and Grass fed

We have been having great luck in raising free range grass fed beef. They say that people these days want to know where their food is coming from. Last year we raised a few cows. Kept one for our selves and the rest sold quickly.

We made a nice profit on the venture. If you are looking for a side business I would say that farming or ranching is difficult. However if you are interested in subsistence living and desire to make a lifestyle change you could probably eek out an existence off 70 acres.

You would have to grow a beard, wear tie died shirts and drive your VW van to set up a boot the farmers market every Saturday, but it can be done.

Another thing to consider is that if inflation takes off as a result of government actions like many are expecting having a mixed venture farm operation might be a great hedge against it.

Additionally, if you are a big time cargo pilot then most likely the government takes a huge bite out of your income. If you were to develop an agricultural interest on your 70 acres you could use it as a tax shelter of sorts. The land could possibly be leased to a separate farm interest that you own. As you accumulate equipment and other assets they can become a depreciated write offs. Every year you get bigger and bigger to keep your tax bill near zero. In the mean time you are building a business with your money instead of sending if off to Uncle Sam. I would ask an accountant.


Last edited by SkyHigh; 02-06-2009 at 07:11 AM.
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