Would you like to be a farmer?

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John

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Would you like to be a farmer?
« on: February 20, 2019, 21:31 »
Well a market gardener really. I've just put up a review of The Urban Farmer by Curtis Stone.
It's inspirational but practical. He explains how to start a market gardening business in a city or town and make a decent living supplying organic vegetables.

If I'd read this book 30 years ago I'd have done it!
The Urban Farmer by Curtis Stone
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mjg000

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Re: Would you like to be a farmer?
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2019, 22:34 »
Pity I'm so old!!!

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John

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Re: Would you like to be a farmer?
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2019, 23:16 »
Pity I'm so old!!!
Youth is wasted on the young :)

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sunshineband

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Re: Would you like to be a farmer?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 09:26 »
Pity I'm so old!!!

I can echo that. When we were younger we gave it serious thoght but wasn't sure how to go about it, then financial commitments such as a morgage got in the way... and then we were nearly old... and now I am old. But not eveyone here is, so you never know.....  this migth change someone's life for the better

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John

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Re: Would you like to be a farmer?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2019, 09:57 »
I hope it does inspire people into actually giving it a go and breaking the stranglehold on our food supply the supermarkets have.
It's actually got a lot of lessons for any business - some lessons I learned at a much higher cost than a book!

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madcat

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Re: Would you like to be a farmer?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2019, 13:06 »
30 years ago there wasnt the market traction for good organic veg that there is now.  Console yourself with the thought that good business ideas have to be of their time to be successful.  :)

Now the problem is the cost of good land - bought or rented.  It just appalls!
All we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about (Charles Kingsley)

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rowlandwells

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Re: Would you like to be a farmer?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2019, 16:51 »
  although I spent many hours on the farm when I was a boy helping out for a bit of pocket money I think that's probably a thing of the past now because of the health and safety on farms nowadays

so would I like to be a farmer apart from being to darn old now when I left school I went to work on a mixed farm but we mainly grew corn and potatoes I spent seven years on that farm on that particular farm you went as a boy and stayed until you retired I was the exception when I left the farm


and yes it would have been a challenge to have my own farm given that I could afford to buy a farm which is near on imposable today and as for market gardening once again the price of good growing land is very expensive round here and not forgetting the cost of equipment and poly tunnels greenhouses its a big commitment for anyone


you see all the farmers I know own there own farm and not a tenant farmers that's very worrying times for these guys so many have given up there tenancies and got out some with serious financial problems


its like everything ells I may have bought a farm with a mortgage everything went good passed it on to my boys and retired  driving round the fields in my range rover telling them what to do
 :D

and I'm not a stock man so I don't do stock couldn't raze cattle or sheep then send them  to be slaughter or risk my cattle getting TB that would break my heart also I  realy   think those Welsh farmers that have several hundred of sheep spread over many acres have to work hard to make it pay especially if its rented land they must be very worried  how things will turn out for them in March :unsure:

at least as home gardeners if we have a crop failure there's  always next year and its only our time and pride that suffers :D



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Growster...

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Re: Would you like to be a farmer?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2019, 18:32 »
I's a good question, John.

The 'feel' for an agricultural lifestyle/business model is important to those who rely on growing crops for a living, where we (or us at The Turrets), just do it because it's a rewarding pastime, and it doesn't really matter if stuff doesn't grow...

I talked it through with a hardened allotmenteer some years ago, and we both agreed that you really did have to know what you're doing! Yup, I can yap for ages on growing leeks for the home, but what if I need to supply carrots to a supermarket, or dig spuds to order? I certainly couldn't do it now, and probably would struggle in earlier years.

Mrs Growster and I have often discussed how we would approach farming, and immediately dismissed milk cows and other animals, as we'd give them all names...

You can't really name a parsnip but that would be the way to go for us, not acres of grain in all weathers!

Now, I'm going the other way, and growing far less, (except tomatoes) so the realisation of a reliable pension instead of a semi-derelict farmstead is a more appealing option!

But when I was a boy, my dad was Engineer for Guinness Hop Farms, and designed all the machines, oasts etc. It was a great job, and of course, I helped him during the holidays, and just loved the banter. But that was 'farming' on a totally different scale...

If you're interested, I'll PM you a link to where we all worked, down here! It's a great website!

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John

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Re: Would you like to be a farmer?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2019, 18:54 »
The thing is, Rowland, the market gardening model in this book is not based on owning land - relatively short term rentals and methods that let you get going quickly but doesn't invest a lot of capital into the land. Land is, admittedly, harder to find in the UK than North America but there is land. For example, a developer may have a parcel which isn't to be built on for 5 years. The developer gets the land looked after and a small income - which is better than fencing it, employing a security firm to check it and no income.

There are farmers here in Wales with hundreds of upland acres for sheep but there are others who rent, on an annual basis, 3 acres here, 5 acres there and so forth. They make a few bob but I'm convinced they could apply the business lessons in this book and make a lot more.

For example, selling direct rather than just taking what they get at auction. Yes, it's more work but if they double the profit for another 10% of the work...

I think there are a lot of young people trapped into awful jobs in the city who could have happier lives in the countryside. Yes, they need some gumption and to work hard but it's worth it. If we don't find a way to provide employment in the countryside it will go further down the road of big farmers and retirement homes.

The Welsh government has made some progress with its sustainable development policies - like the Lammas Project but in the end we need the farmer's job to be sustainable as well as the land.

I don't think I've expressed myself too well, but hope what I'm saying is clear.

Quote
If you're interested, I'll PM you a link to where we all worked, down here! It's a great website!
Or you can post it up here as you prefer.

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sunshineband

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Re: Would you like to be a farmer?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2019, 11:27 »
Lammas -style life was our dream 40 years ago.. I wonder how life would be now of we had had the courage to try to start something like this with like-minded friends?


We shall never know

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rowlandwells

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Re: Would you like to be a farmer?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2019, 17:26 »
 I think John your absolutely rite with your replies it brings it home for modern day farming but  I'm only going on the village life and our  farming community here in the affluent east of Watford gap services and yes your absolutely rite we are a county of big farmers many of our small farms have sadly been sold of  to join the larger farms


and any arable land that becomes available is quickly sold to those who can well afford to pay the going rate but having said that some of the larger farms have had to divers to producing eggs to pig production as well as arable renting more land when it becomes available making there farms even bigger and not necessarily increasing there workforce

the two lads I know who inherited the farm from the father when he died still farm a mix farm and work long hours on there 500acres sheep cattle and arable and the large farm where I once worked has cut its workforce when I was there we had ten men but since they packed up growing potatoes its now down to four men with temps in the harvest season and many pounds worth of modern farming equipment that sadly means less labour from my farming days


and here any parcels of land  go very quickly bought for building land we have at present probably 50 + acres of good farming land being developed over the next several years  also looking about 10 miles away near rugby there's a large housing complex being built  many good farming acres lost to new
 development  and I believe there's developments planned for the old Rugby radio station that for many years dominated the landscape with there high masts one could see for miles


 not forgetting the many farms round here that have installed very large wind turbines that has caused quite some controversy between villagers and land owners that really dominate the countryside and  market gardeners round have  sadly all gone



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John

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Re: Would you like to be a farmer?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2019, 19:42 »
Lammas -style life was our dream 40 years ago.. I wonder how life would be now of we had had the courage to try to start something like this with like-minded friends?
We shall never know
I believe some older people (like us, who I call grown ups) are getting together to basically create retirement communities. Lord save us from the old peoples home staffed by minimum wagers!
near rugby there's a large housing complex being built  many good farming acres lost to new
 development  and I believe there's developments planned for the old Rugby radio station that for many years dominated the landscape with there high masts one could see for miles
I used to drive past the radio masts quite frequently when I was a rep covering Warwickshire and Northants. Place looked like something from a sci-fi film.

 

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