In recent years, hobby farms have become increasingly popular. More and more individuals are inspired to start their own hobby farm for its recreational and sustainable practices. If you are one of these individuals you will first need to know exactly what a hobby farm is, as there is some confusion surrounding the term, its definition, and its desired outcomes. In addition, you may also be interested to learn about the basic steps you will need to complete to start your own hobby farm. These steps and the term “hobby farm” are defined in detail below.
What is a Hobby Farm?
Though the term is often used incorrectly and simounous with a small independently owned commercial farm, a hobby farm actually refers to a small farm that is managed for personal enjoyment or supplemental income. A general rule of thumb is that a hobby farm is never the primary means of income for the individuals managing it. This quality separates and several others differentiate hobby farms from standard farms.
In general, a hobby farm is also quite different from a homestead. A homestead’s main purpose is to provide its owner with a self-sufficient means to gather food and supplies. While a hobby farm may allow its owner to harvest certain livestock and vegetables from a garden, the farm’s primary purpose is still recreation and enjoyment. Often, hobby farms, hence their name, are started by individuals looking to gain a new hobby or recreational activity.
5 Steps to Starting Your Own Hobby Farm
If you are still interested in starting a hobby farm after you learned more about how they differ from a typical farm or homestead then you will want to become familiar with these 5 important steps. These steps involve planning your hobby farm, evaluating your resources, securing land, and breaking ground.
- Brainstorm Goals For Your Farm
- Select what Crops and Animals You want on Your Farm
- Evaluate Your Hobby Farm Budget
- Purchase or Secure Land For Your Hobby Farm
- Start implementing your Hobby Farm’s First Year Plan
Your Hobby Farm Goals
Even though your hobby farm is not a business or your primary source of income, it is important that before you start you establish goals for your hobby farm. These goals will not only allow you a means to evaluate your preliminary progress, but will also give you a solid metric to keep you on track. When setting goals for your hobby farm you should be realistic and specific.
Selecting Crops and Animals For Your Hobby Farm
Why did you want to start a hobby farm in the first place? To raise chickens? Goats? Tend to a massive garden? During this step of the hobby farm planning process, you should narrow down what crops and animals you want your hobby farm to raise and manage. While you may have vast interests, it is important to start small and only add more elements to your farm once you are established.
Evaluate Your Budget & Securing Land
These two steps of the process go hand and hand. Your budget will not only define what you can do with your hobby farm, but also where your hobby farm is located. Do you already own or have access to a plot of land where you can establish your hobby farm? If so, this could free up a large portion of your budget to be spent on establishing your farm’s resources and practices. When searching for land on Land.us or another land listing website, it is important to ask yourself will this land allow me to meet my hobby farm goals?
Start Implementing Your First Year Plan
After securing your land, establishing your hobby farm goals, and selecting the crops and livestock you wish to include on your farm, all that is left is to get started. As you start to implement your first year plan, your preliminary focus should be on getting your farm operational. Then, after your farm is operational, you can go back over certain elements to perfect them.
Good Luck with Your Hobby Farm
Overall, starting a hobby farm can be a very rewarding and enjoyable process. Whether you are a recent retiree or an individual looking for a new hobby on the weekends, a hobby farm is a great way to establish a firm connection with the land around you. Good luck starting your very own hobby farm, and remember to follow the 5 preliminary steps listed above!