Thursday, April 21, 2011

Are you going to farm full-time?

One of my very best friend from college (Arnold) sent me a link to an article that made him think of me.

http://www.rickackerman.com/2011/04/is-canadian-farmland-the-best-investment-of-all/#more-34026

*************Side Story*************

I used to be tough. Honestly, I was pretty strong. I could lift a tractor above my head type strong. But that was back in my way younger days. In my aging years I was going to university and got to know Arnold. He mentioned that he lifted weights regularly and I let him know how tough I was. He invited me to tag along one night and I showed up eager to show off my muscles.

We started off light and went a round or so of arm curls. I started at like 30 lbs. hoping to impress my friend and all the bystanders near by. And then Arnold stepped up and started at 60 lbs per arm. We went over to the bench press and he asked if I’d spot him. I seriously thought he was going to die if I had to help him lift the massive mountain of weights off his chest. He pounded through like 10 reps of 300 lbs. without any problem. It was my turn and I delicately unloaded all the weights off the bar as my arms were killing me from the arm curls and he still had to spot me with his pinky on my last few reps.

I was completely drained and depressed after about 45 minutes of being put through the most agonizing workout I had ever done. I decided to head down to the track to run a few laps instead of being embarrassed by Arnold any more. I remember girls walking by and asking for his autograph he was so impressive. I also remember trying to run around the track and not being able to lift my arms at all. I looked like I was paralyzed from the neck down and in all reality I was.

Thus Arnold is an appropriate name for my weight lifting buddy.

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In talking with Arnold he asked me a question I get asked a lot. Are you going to farm full-time?

My immediate reaction is usually “NO WAY, that’s tough work. I’d rather sit at my desk and blog all day.”

I think a conversation I had with someone the other day sums up the reality best. Seventy percent (70%) of farmers today have regular employment other than on the farm. Isn’t that amazing? Almost three quarters of farmers today have a job to supplement their farming activities.

I often wonder if I can make enough money farming to survive and perhaps prosper. Surely it can be done?

One of my earlier blogs talks about trying to make land pay for itself. I think the key will be to keep things simple and to stay out of debt. As soon as debt hits the picture more money has to be made to make things work out. That usually leads to a never ending cycle of debt, more work, more investment in time and money, and more debt when trying to expand. Heaven forbid the years when weather doesn’t cooperate, the machines break down, mad cow disease hits, or the price of commodities dip to rock bottom.

I think my answer to the above question from now on will be “I going to farm full time whenever I’m not working full time.”

Perhaps one day I will be able to say “Yes, I’m a full time, true blue farmer. It is possible to make enough money from farming activities to survive and prosper.”

Big dreams from someone that needs to be spotted while trying to bench press the bench press bar.

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