Author Topic: leasing land educating children government programs  (Read 2040 times)

Offline stash

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leasing land educating children government programs
« on: September 14, 2016, 01:00:33 AM »
I was sitting around the table with a few people who are not particularly interested in gardening or living off the land, don't know what the word permaculture is etc and I was talking about my hopes and dreams to have land/farm one day. They said oh yeah, you know you can lease land super cheap and get paid to farm as long as you use the farm as an educational resource, teaching school age kids about where food comes from. Really!? I will pack my bags tonight! I would love it if someone could provide me with info. thanks for your time! :)

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: leasing land educating children government programs
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2016, 06:09:38 AM »
I doubt it's as simple as that.  Nothing with the government is.  It's probably some sort of program to teach other farmers about how to grow organically.  And probably in the farm bill.

Google search for something along the lines of "government program farm education"

Offline I.L.W.

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Re: leasing land educating children government programs
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2016, 09:04:21 AM »
All government money comes with strings attached. Never take a grant for working your land! Public grant money is functionally no different than taking on a business partner, except this partner has nothing to lose, doesn't share your dream of the business (or even understands it). They are anonymous bureaucrats who could care less if you succeed or fail. At least a banker has an incentive to see you succeed, the government does not.

That said, a tax break is functionally the same thing (instead of paying you, they simply steal less from you). Those have much less oversight, and you keep your money instead of waiting for a check in the mail. That's where I'd start.

Then you are also free to pursue private instruction as your own business model. With the right training and a portfolio of real-world experience, you could offer a Permaculture design course.

Consider forming a group. The "Rural Life and Skills Association" or something to that effect. Annual dues will fund it (it's not a non-profit unless you're going for tax-exempt status). You could do permaculture stuff. Maybe have a local bee keeper speak about starting a backyard beehive one week, then a potter show how to dig clay and fire simple pottery the next. Canning and brewing workshops. Charter tours to the county fair, livestock and horse shows. Perhaps a "U-Pick" berry grower, orchard, pumpkin patch, or X-Mas tree farm will give your group early access if you can guarantee enough people will show up on a given day through one of your tours. Work out member discounts with local nurseries or online seed suppliers. You can probably find local clubs already doing these things. It may just be a matter of providing them a good venue on your land to consolidate them and their members under your roof. You could even work a CSA model into it.

Make membership to the workshops $50/year (offer gift cards for membership as well). Have Guest Passes to individual workshops for $15 a head at the door. You could even run a gift-shop with off the farm products (honey and Maple syrup are high margin items, home brewing, hydroponic and canning supplies are another).

You can still offer school tours, though I wouldn't for liability reasons... 150 poorly supervised city kids running around a working farm is begging for problems. Some kid gets a scraped knee and their parents sue your ass off. I think a better course is to welcome kids to the workshops with their parents at a discounted rate, and perhaps participate in a volunteer mentor capacity with local 4H and FFA groups.

If you accept a government grant, you're limiting what you can do with your land, and putting a cap on how much you can make through that deal.  Don't work on leased land, just buy it. In the right area, rural land is fairly cheap. Also, the government grants typically go to land owners with substantial, established farms. Sometimes it's a bail-out for historic farms (300-year-old colonial farms and it hits financial problems).  I've never heard of them giving money to someone so they can lease land and then try their hand at it. It's still an investment and they want proof you can actually run a large scale farming operation. New farmers have an attrition rate only rivaled by new restaurant owners. Most of them go belly up in their first 2 years. Some can run the business but can't do the level of physical work. Others can build a great farm, but can't make it through the marketing of their product and meeting regulatory terms. Unless you own the land outright, have no back taxes and at least 6 years under your belt, I don't think you're likely to find any investors, least of all the government.

My advice to others has always been this:
Deliver Pizza 4 hours after work, 5 nights a week. You'll make enough in a couple years to buy your land outright. Start small with 5 Acres or less, and make that profitable. Without a house, most rural land goes for $1,000 - $3,000 per acre. We're talking $15k here as a worst-case scenario, you can't lease a car for that. It's doable. It's not going to break the bank as long as it has a water source. Once it's profitable, flip that lot and use the accumulated profits to purchase more land in a down market and after you've gained the experience to know what to look for in a property purchase. There are always things you wished you had thought about before buying property, but don't realize until after the fact. Consider moving to a larger farm and getting a "re-do" as part of your plan.

Bottom line:
• The government won't just hand you money for this.
• Even if they did, it would be foolish to take it.

Not to crush your hopes here, but there are better, easier ways to achieve your dream without limiting yourself or selling your future for government assistance. You deserve better, you can have better, and for less effort.

Offline stash

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Re: leasing land educating children government programs
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2016, 05:01:41 AM »
wow that was impressive! thanks for the response! including the sig :) ;) :) ;) :) ;) :)