Gen agri topic.
Today's focus - SPIN Farming
Goals of spin farming: revenue focused farming in small areas - 1 acre or less
Lots of experienced SPIN farmers gross $60k+ with low overhead.
Anyone have experience, questions, comments?
Dont mistake that kinda gross for part time - its full time doing it that much. Part time after some experience, $30k+ isnt impossible
Agriculture is nowhere near as lucrative as people make it out to be.
Particularly when in competing markets labour individuals get paid $1 us a day.
Refrigeration and fast transport kills the local market
Well to start
You want to use off-patent GM varieties if you can for corn or soy.
You want to invest in portable refrigeration, maybe hook up an ozone generator too.
If you're really into it, get some irradiation machines, sterilized food lasts forever.
This way you can maximize yield and keep food fresh longer.
I'm not a hipster but I would buy organic shit if I had the money. I don't give a fuck about buying local but pesticide+herbicide contamination is a real thing that I would avoid if given the chance.
Use heirloom, not GM. There are many heirloom varieties that do very well, but are not in fad right now due to many social and political factors. Many are disappearing. The more varieties that disappear the less food security we have.
>93 Percent of Seeds Have Been Lost in the Last 80 Years
Stop wrecking everything for the rest of us and start growing diversified crop varieties. We don't need to invent more.
No the other anon was right.
Your definition of "organic" may be that, but I know plenty of the farms use "organic pesticides and herbicides". There are articles everywhere about it.
>Inb4 that is monsanto poisoning the knowledge well.
That's the problem with the label organic, it could mean almost anything.
>Same problem with cage free or free range meat.
The plural of anectdote is not data. Just because you don't use pesticides doesn't mean farmers selling to the conglomerate labels don't.
You also are in violation of ag law if you sell your produce as "organic" without the yearly inspection and certification that costs thousands of dollars.
Anyone who wants to do this needs to carefully consider their market. Check out your local farmer's markets and talk with the people there.
There's generally three types of crops that you can grow.
The first type are intensive low yield. Corn for example. It consumes tons of resources (water and nitrogen) and yeilds low crop quantities for the effort and nets low prices for that effort. Pumpkins and most squashes, asparagus, root crops like carrots and radishes.
The second type are low maintenance, high yeilding, staple crops that every stand at the market needs. Things like tomatoes and cucumbers fit into this category. An initial one time investment in setting up the trellis and teardown in fall yeilds a ton of crop that will fetch reasonable income for the effort.
The third type is generally the most profitable and these are the high value crops. Lettuces, chards, kales, collards all fetch pretty good prices. Mushrooms dissapear in the first hour at any price. And unique/rare hard to find veggies, especially those used in asian or indian cuisine.
Finally, get involved with customers. Set up a facebook page, instagram, or at least a mailing list.
My facebook and mailing list is managed "by my dog". Its written from her perspective and the yuppies eat it up and interact with her persona directly "Sasha, you need to tell your daddies they should bring me some fresh ginger this Saturday" I know its stupid but it works for us. And people love seeing her at the market. My husband loves to cook and he will put out a recipe idea from the crops we have available that weekend.
>You also are in violation of ag law if you sell your produce as "organic" without the yearly inspection and certification that costs thousands of dollars.
The costs range. Depends on where you are and what company it is. The cheapest in my area is under $700 and you get up to 75% back.
Also, you are allowed to call it "organic" here, but not allowed to place the certified sticker on it.
Organic means you have to research the producer to see what they are putting on it. Just like everything in life. Morons.
I'm all right with the use of pesticides as long as they are biodegradable and don't contaminate my food.
The problem is when the pesticides or herbicides are not biodegradable, end up in the floor, the plant absorbs it with it's roots and ends up in what we eat.
Toxicity is not the real problem. The problem starts when the used agents are not biodegradable wich means that the toxics will we absorbed by what you eat. If the toxic is rapidly biodegradable the plant will not absorbe it in it's toxic form and you'll not need to worry about eating all those cancerinogens.
Op here again, thought this would be a dud here.
Ive very much at the research stage of all this. Im still trying to wrap my head around the economics of it.
Realisticly, i would primarily do this, with little to no outside help on a urban/spin/micro, w.e farm. Is this realistic?
So for arguments sake, and you gross 60k your whole season, what kinda costs are you looking at starting new? How much out of that could you take as income after paying all the farm bills? Not counting what normal would pag for their bills.
I have a lpng way to go before i even commit to something loke this, and will continue to read, research, etc
No. Just no.
The only way you can realistcly make that much is if you have yuppies paying $8 a head of lettuce and two guys working for you named jesus and juan
Like I said previously you need to research your area to see what stuff sells for in the market near you.
Go to the markets and talk to the farmers there. See what they're selling their goods for.
For example leaf lettuce is my cash cow. And most farmers at my market agree its a reliable and easy sale, but requires some effort to get to market. I sell a full grown bunch of lettuce for $3.50 and mini variety heads at 4/$6. Full heads are ready in 50-60 days depending on variety and 10-12 days earlier for mini-heads.
Lettuce I plan on growing out to full heads are spaced and rowed at 6" while mini heads are at 4". My lettuce beds are all 4'x16' yeilding 256 and 576heads per bed. Assuming no losses and not accounting expenses these beds net me 896 & 864 respectively. Lets call it 850. To make $60k you would need to sell 71 beds worth of lettuce at no losses and expenses.
This mind you is no easy feat considering lettuces finicky growing pattern with summer.
Ive been doing it for a dozen years and ive probably sunk all my earnings back into my garden and paid for my food I do have to buy.
My husband and I also get up at 1 in the morning on saturday to cut/prep/pack the lettuce and get to market and I spend most of friday picking everything else.
I grew up gardening with my dad (we were poor as fuck and did it to put nutrition in our bellies. When I bought this house and 2 acres I went garden crazy and was taking to work and giving away far more than we were eating. Thus started the selling.
My suggestion is to start growing for yourself first for a few years. After that you'll have a much better grasp of what you can grow and how much.
>is no till farming a meme?
I haven't turned over soil in my garden beds since I made them. I simply don't need to. I can dig in the soil with just my fingers.
The ground I started with was hard pack clay. I built my beds on top of the ground and mixed in 3"of compost with about 3" of earth. Then topped off with mulch.I do have a tree surgeon that drops off wood chips on my driveway so he doesn't have to pay to dump them or drive all the way out there. Im also totally that guy driving around picking up the lawn bags full of leaves every fall.
I wouldnt garden any other way. Industrially its probably a maymay there's no way you're going to havest 40 acres of garlic/onions/beats etc with no-till with available equipment. But for the small backyard hobbyist it is the only way to go IMO
Anecdotally my neighbor is my dad's age and he has a modestly sized traditional garden on his 1/4acre yard but he tills over every year. Despite me having 10-12 times the growing area he uses the same amount of water as I do. Plus, in the summer you can see the mid day stress on his plants far clearer than on mine (if at all). Hell ive gone on vacation for two weeks when it hit the upper 90s and my husband "forgot" to water the whole time. Came back to an untamed forest.
I also grow mushrooms for some local chefs and the spent spawn ends up in the garden beds. That really helps to hold in the water like crazy. And the mushrooms from the beds make extra money at market
>Lettuce I plan on growing out to full heads are spaced and rowed at 6" while mini heads are at 4". My lettuce beds are all 4'x16' yeilding 256 and 576heads per bed. Assuming no losses and not accounting expenses these beds net me 896 & 864 respectively. Lets call it 850. To make $60k you would need to sell 71 beds worth of lettuce at no losses and expenses.
I think you mean avg gross is 850 a bed.
I really appreciate the response. Now let me bounce some numbers off of you and pick your brain that would be awesome.
So let's use your lettuce example, you avg 850 gross on 4x16 beds (64^2 ft).
Spin suggests on avg of their 2x25 beds for low value crops, you can gross $100. So if you have 1 crop per year and farm on roughly a 1/2 acre (20,000 sq ft), you can fit about 240 beds which would end up being $24,000. (Thjs is the suggested low end too)
Footprint size, your beds arnt to much different, but your beds are potentially producing 700% more gross revenue.
I mean if you farmed around half an acre of just lettuce, numbers wise thats $204k.
Obviously you wouldnt do this solo, but does these GROSS numbers sound right?
Also side q, do you have a cooler you use? Do you do this full time or just part time/hobby?
Im sure i have more questions if your willing to indulge me
>>936444This is my first post but Im thinking it isnt about the ammount of product you can produce, its about moving the product. selling it. I have 25 acres and im 22. yeah I could make thousands of dollars worth of product in 2 months but where do I sell that weight.
thinking about just going crazy on pumpkins and cash out once a year cause theres always pumpkin shortages ha
Well large acre farming you would have to go about it differently because of euipment and all and higher overhead (at least thats my impression)
Urban/sub acre farming relies on higher value, and large diversity in crops - from everything ive read so far.
You have kind of 3 avenues of revenue and this is by no means a gimme, you have to develope your customer base and all that.
You have farmer markets/corner stands
You have CSA - think group buys for produce. A group pays in x amount and throughout the year they get x amount of produce
And then you have restaurants - aka business to business. Selling directly to chefs and all. Once established, this would be your easiest money. Consistant demand, you can even grow specific things they want if they cant find it anywhere
Now all in all, its still a lot of work
Also, how much space do you use?
do you think its possible for someone with no farming experience what so ever other than the occasional outdoor plants to get into farming as a career?
the more i find out about "naturally mimicked" farming like at the polyfaces farm (no tilling, no pesticides, no antibiotics, no fertilizer- just animals constantly moving on and around the land so it naturally gets taken care off)
it sounds more and more like a great way to live.
thats awesome that you are able to be profitable in that way/locally, is it youre only job? how did you start?
>is no till farming a meme?
60 bucks worth of straw + "small" ~1500sqft garden plot = ~200 pounds of tomatoes, 100+ pounds of potatoes, and at least another 100+ pounds of other assorted shit.
6ft tall Tomato plants were literally falling over from the weight of the fruit. All without any weeding, or pesticides, GMO, etc, just went fucking bronze age on this shit and threw a shit load of straw on top of the plot a few weeks before planting to kill off the weeds then dug down to the soil to plant and let it all be, other than some watering when it got too dry.
I dont do this for a living - ive began researching it and so far been reading and watching youtube vids.
check out www youtube com/user/urbanfarmercstone
he has taken it full time and has alot of info as well as other spin people.
from what it seems, basicly with ultra small farms your main money is restaurants (this is over simplified, but he has said that is 70+% of his money). The smaller you are, the more focused and more replanting you do. Faster Day-to-Maturity plants, etc
I have just scratched the surface, but everything I have read/watched/consumed indicates it is possible. The larger you go, the more overhead you have - more potential GROSS but possibly less NET.
The smaller you go, less overhead, less GROSS but possibly the same or even more NET
oh right on, thats very encouraging. will probably start out in a few weeks(its still cold here) with like a 20'x20' area just to have some fun with and get a feel for it
thanks for the advice, defineatly going to start small and just to test out my green thumb. and that makes sense that B2B would be more reliable if you can provide consistent quality.
this weekend ill go to the farmers market and do some price checking and try and findout what i can from those who are already doing it in the area. ill let yall know the prices this sunday just for comparison purposes.
>do you think its possible for someone with no farming experience what so ever other than the occasional outdoor plants to get into farming as a career?
Jumping into it will be rough. Hence mysuggestion to focus on gettimg yourself fed first. After a few years youll be able to wrap your head around plant scheduling and the like to warrant paying for a stand at the market. Once youve got a good stand running you'll meet the chefs and restaurant owners as they look for new sources of goods. Once youve established relationshipswith them it significantly reduces your troubles if they order enough to stop going to market.
>thats awesome that you are able to be profitable in that way/locally, is it youre only job? how did you start?
I started gardening when i was about three or four. Our whole backyard growing up was a solid garden we were poor.
I worked my ass off buying and fixing houses when I graduated h.s. to eventually pay my way through college. When I met my now husband twelve years ago at work, we quit after we got married. My house was owned outright along with my other rentals and we decided we had enough incomplete e to pursue our hobbies. His knifemaking and my gardening. The hobbies quickly became more all-consuming than our engineering jobs that we quit because of the workload. But this is more rewarding.
I was too lazy to read everyone's posts.
Pretty cool article. Point being, there are niche markets and you can make money. Finding the spot and competing for it are not easy.