A hobby farm is a small farm managed as a hobby rather than as a business venture. The point here is, a hobby farm doesn’t make any money, and the hobby farmers are not technically known as farmers.
Many people assume that hobby faring merely refers to growing fruits and vegetables in the backyard. However, you can be a hobby farmer and look after more than 50 acres of land; you don’t necessarily have to go small. Moreover, you could also be raising cattle, bees, or chickens!
Every farming is different regarding the crop you are planning on growing, the cattle you would want to raise, and the amount of time you want to invest.
Just as gardening and reading books are a hobby, hobby farmers have made farming their pursuit! And if the productivity is not as good this season, the loss is not calculated in terms of money.
According to the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, over 60,000 people operate a small hobby farm across Australia, occupying approximately 20% of agricultural land. And, with the increase in urban lifestyle, people have been trying to start farming as a hobby. They do so to remain grounded and close to the earth.
People around the world start hobby farms for numerous reasons. You don’t necessarily have to grow up on farms or know the ABCs of farming to become a hobby farmer. If you develop a taste for farming or want to try out a new venture, you can go ahead and become a hobby farmer.
Hobby farms are considered as non-income-earning rural personal properties. Hence, if you want to maintain a hobby farm, you will be required to have an alternative source of income or a good bank balance!
Whether you are starting a farm as a hobby or homesteading, both require a lot of patience and hard work. After all, those good and organic red potatoes are not growing overnight, are they? If you are someone wanting to enhance your patience level, farming is the way to go.
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Difference Between Homesteading and Hobby Farming
Sometimes people confuse homesteading with hobby farming. Unlike homesteaders, the primary goal of hobby farmers is not self-sufficiency. They might simply be indulging in agriculture as a means to be creative or make their backyard look pretty. The reasons are infinite.
Homesteaders, on the other hand, are committed to growing on their own and being self-sufficient. This self farming habit is a broad-spectrum way of life. Homesteaders not only eat what they grow, instead produce their electricity, make their clothes, and stay away from the use of money.
Now the next time you see someone using the words homesteading and hobby farming interchangeably, it would be an excellent idea to give them a friendly nudge, right?
Different Types of Hobby Farms
Hobby farms don’t always have to be full of livestock or crops. If you are a coffee lover, you can start your little hobby farm full of coffee plantations. And if wine is your go-to drink, why not start your very own vineyard?
Some people start a hobby farm to keep bees and get a fresh batch of Manuka honey now and then. The same goes for people who adore riding horses or knitting a vintage sweater from the sheep they have reared on their own.
How to start a hobby farm?
Starting a hobby farm is a whimsical indulgence. The first step is to understand why you want to create a hobby farm. The following are the most popular reasons for people shifting towards hobby farming:
- To be organic and health-conscious
- To be connected to the earth and nature
- To understand how foods grow and teach their children
- To be slightly self-sufficient
- To fill in their free time
Once you figure out your motivation, go ahead and calculate the amount of land you will require. If your goal is to be self-reliant, you might need a large portion of land. And, if you merely want to utilize your free time, a small piece of the backyard would be more than enough.
If you have decided on raising livestock such as sheep, goats, cows, alpacas, or chickens, ensure that you have prepared suitable infrastructures. You might not necessarily require fencing to grow vegetables, but the same cannot be said for raising goats!
If you grew up on a farmstead, the entire process of farming and harvesting might not be a new thing for you. As for beginners, you will find plenty of resources online, helping you decide what to farm and when to cultivate.
Starting a hobby farm should not be an impulsive decision made out of boredom. The entire process of setting up and cultivating demands a considerable amount of money, effort, and time. It is not as effortless as starting a regular hobby!
And remember that if you want to make some extra money out of your hobby farm, it is no longer a hobby farm.
Hobby Farming Tips and Tricks!
If you want to go ahead and start your hobby farm, you better equip yourself with all the tips and tricks that will mold your hobby farm as good as the ones you see on Pinterest!
If you live in Texas and want to grow potatoes, you might want to wait when the climate is slightly cold. And if you are from the cold Winnipeg city, you cannot be growing tomatoes during the cold.
Hence, it is essential to calculate and understand the growing seasons and habits of the crops or vegetables you would like to cultivate. It is best to obtain an introductory course on agriculture or watch a few tutorials on nurturing plants and animals on the farm.
If you want to raise cows to get your batch of regular milk and cheese early in the morning, you don’t have to obtain a herd of cows all at once. Start small by getting a single cow and learn the process. If you have never lived on farms, chances are one cow is going to be a handful!
The same goes for cultivating fruits and vegetables.
Evaluate our finances
Hobby farming can be expensive to pass your time, especially if you are new to agriculture. It might take you months to ultimately be able to master the art of farming. Hence, the key is to prepare a detailed budget plan before starting a hobby farm.
Remember that you might not be getting that first batch of tomatoes as early or as frequently as you might have wished. And, make sure not to break your bank!
Learn from your mistakes
Farming is an ongoing learning process. Even the most successful farmers come across numerous disappointments. But in the end, they are better equipped tomorrow than they were yesterday.
A lot of things may go wrong when you first start a hobby farm. Therefore, make sure not to be disappointed by small failures. If your broccoli is full of mites this year, you’ll learn to make sure to use a suitable insecticide the next year and produce pest-free broccoli for your evening salad!
DIYs are your Best Mates
DIYs are very handy when working at the farm. Let us imagine your crops seem to be infested with pests, but you do not want to use inorganic insecticides. What to do? A DIY neem oil spray works as the best insecticide for almost all kinds of pests.
You will find numerous farm DIYs on YouTube ranging from creating your fence to shearing a sheep in the most accessible manner!
Enjoy the process
Farming is very similar to going on a vacation. When we go on a vacation to a popular destination, we don’t merely wait to arrive at the destination. Instead, we enjoy each step that takes us to the destination.
The same goes for farming. It is exciting to see that very first hatchling. However, the entire process of raising the hens, taking care of eggs, watching the eggshell for cracks now and then is equally fulfilling.
A hobby should always be enjoyable rather than just hard work. And, is there a better way to see the results of your toil instantly?
Benefits of Hobby Farm
Over the last decade, hobby farms have gained a lot of popularity among the younger generations. All hobby farmers have reasons for getting into the process; however, they have been reaping similar benefits from their hobby farm.
Physical Health Benefits
Filling your dinner plates with organic vegetables and poultry is the easiest and most effective way to remain healthy. After all, a healthy diet equals a healthy body. Furthermore, with the physical activity that comes along with farming, you will be giving yourself a good dose of regular exercise.
Mental Health Benefits
Hobby farms are a source of relaxation and stress relief for a significant number of hobby farmers. Many times, we neglect our mental health due to our fast-paced daily routine. Henceforth, slowing down and getting in touch with the earth always works as a natural relaxant.
If you are looking forward to starting a new hobby or want to gain some control over what goes into your salad, how about considering a hobby farm? It might sound like a long shot, but considering the benefits, this tiny shift towards sustainability could establish itself as a legacy in your family.
Your little hobby farm could be a fun place full of experiments and healthy memories for your family!
(Last Updated on September 30, 2021 by Sadrish Dabadi)