Warning: Become a Yeoman Farmer at Your Own Risk

I think nearly everyone who has ditched city life in search of something more “relaxed” in the country could compile a long list of cautions for those who are considering such a move. This excellent story in CNN Money profiles one family that made the move, and how it turned out very differently from what they’d planned.

Like so many corporate types who dream about chucking it all for a mellow life in the country, Kathy and Josh had talked for years about moving to the family farm. Only problem: The simple life they envisioned isn’t turning out quite as they planned.

Yes, Josh loves working the land. “It’s hard work and exhausting but I get pleasure in what I do every day,” he says. And Kathy loves raising their girls close to nature and their extended families.

But between the demands of the farm and a gourmet beef business they’ve launched as a sideline, the Gunns are working seven days a week from morning till dusk, close to the 24/7 description associated with high-pressure city jobs. Notes Kathy, wryly: “It’s not exactly a relaxed life.”

The points I’d emphasize most: Don’t give up your day job. Farms can be cash-sucking machines, especially when you’re getting them set up. Make the transition slowly, and don’t try to do everything at once. You can’t simply start a farm business from scratch; it takes time for people to find you, and to discover that your high-quality produce or meat is really worth the premium — and the inconvenience of buying directly from you, rather than in a single trip to the grocery store.

2 thoughts on “Warning: Become a Yeoman Farmer at Your Own Risk

  1. You know better than most the preperation, the “what it takes”, the do’s and don’ts… Thanks for this wake up call! To me, a good first step would be finding a farm/land… near a smaller town… where one can work… or, work from home… whilst getting the land ready. If the goal is simply to live off the land for one’s own needs… working on the side may work if there is no mortgage… no real debt issues… Love the blog. Read it daily. Lifestyle seems a perfect fit for the Traditional Catholic…

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  2. AMEN BROTHER! Preach it! Hallelujah!Seriously, most people with 9-to-5 jobs cannot imagine the sheer amount of physical labor, the stress and the occasional heartbreak. There’s also that steep learning curve. And it’s not a learning curve for “farming”. It’s a separate learning curve for goats, sheep, berries, grapes, chickens, dairy, field preparation, irrigation, wells, grass management, machinery repair, horses, weeds, fruit trees, turkeys, beef, etc etc etc. Each is a distinct set of knowledge and each has to be learned, usually all at once and usually “the hard way”.The best advice someone could have given me when we started out was to take it slow. Definitely grow a garden you first year, but maybe you aren’t ready for livestock yet. Or maybe just chickens. Not chickens and horses and sheep and cattle and goats, all at once.

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