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How much farm land do I need?
In general, if we can afford, we end up purchasing more farm land than we need, or can efficiently manage.
In most cases, these larger properties remain neglected to be abused by cattle overgrazing, fires, soil erosion, etc.
Additionally, purchasing more than you need has few disadvantages.
- If you are new to farming, it can be overwhelming to manage the property. And sometimes, discouraging.
- Not only you spend more money upfront to buy a land, you spend more to develop and manage it.
Unfortunately, there is no boilerplate method available to determine the answer. Also, parameters like climate, slope, soil properties, etc need to be considered in decision making.
Here, I have covered some basic pointers that may help you get closer to the answer.
Ask yourself & your family – why do you want to purchase a farm land?
If you cannot find at least 3 good reasons that you are proud of, start small.
If you are new to farming and have never even done terrace / balcony gardening, give yourself time to experiment and learn. Start with balcony or your yard.
If you are gone for good, is your family going to continue to take care of the farm?
Not sure? Start small.
Your Involvement & Distance Matters
If you are going to be an occasional farmer or your farm land is not going to be too close to your residence, again, start small.
The best fertilizer is the farmer’s footsteps on his land.CONFUCIUS (500 BC)
It is cheaper to protect smaller parcel from abuses, if not attended full-time. For example, at our location, unsolicited cattle grazing and fires are common land abuses at unattended farms.
Also, relying fully on farm-help won’t always give expected results. This may lead to frustrations and dislike for farming.
Your budget will determine how much land you can buy without borrowing.
As a general rule of thumb, consider half the amount of your budget to turn property into a place of abundance. Remaining half to buy the property.
Small is beautiful. It allows your energies to focus – you get better results per sqft for your inputs.
You may wonder – what is “small”?
Well, if you have never grown anything, start growing something in your balcony / terrace / yard.
Beyond that, in tropical and sub-tropical climates, a family of 4 can easily grow all their veggies, fruits, grains and millets from less than 1 acre of well designed Permaculture property.
By now, you know – Start Small! That way, the purchase will bring joy of being closer to nature, and not add stress to life.
All the best!