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Old November 2, 2017   #121
bower
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Hmmm...

Just as a general business advice, if you don't have the capital to start big, you have to start by asking, how can I get this business going with the least possible cash investment. Or flip the question around, start with the amount you are able to invest, and ask, what can I do with this amount to get the ball rolling. Can I grow the business enough to generate a return that I can invest into the next step.

Just a thought - what about equipment rental. Tractor for example could be rented instead of purchase, for your first proof of concept. The attachment that unrolls the bale of hay - rent? if available. Or make it, if you can. Or design it, and cost it out at the local machine shop - how much to make this for me. Cost it out to see which option is feasible, if any.

I'm not clear about the hand planter issue.. are they saying that you need a big machine to plant hundreds of acres instead? The hand planter gizmo for transplants, if that's what it is, I've seen that in action at one of our local farms. They whack in their transplants with it and it saves a lot of time. But they still are doing their farm by hand. And earning a living. So there is a scale where this simple machine makes it possible to generate a decent amount of revenue - ultimately enough to reinvest in equipment to scale up to the next level.
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Old November 2, 2017   #122
bower
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I was reading about bootstrapping farms on this blog:
http://www.youngfarmers.org/bootstrap/

and I found this crowdfunded agency that makes 0% interest loans for businesses.
https://www.kiva.org/borrow

Not just for "young farmers"... Check it out.
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Old November 4, 2017   #123
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Thanks for all the kind and helpful words of encouragement and helpful links. It really touches me how much you guys care, when most people on this site I have never actually seen face to face in real life. I really appreciate.

And to answer some questions, yes the 14K is a bare bones ridiculously stripped down number that includes all sorts of cheap workarounds rather than buying new equipment whenever possible. For example instead of a hydraulic roundbale unroller, a simple chain and swivel affair with a bar you sledge hammer right through the center of the bale ... 1 for the hay and one for the paper roll ... both pulled by a garden tractor I got free if I do the repairs. I was advised by the guy they sent out from the Oklahoma carbon project that they really don't even care the size of a tractor or the size of the no till drill. What they care is that it be a tractor and a drill! A farmer can watch me drive a garden tractor with a mower down an aisle and he instantly knows he will be using his own equipment, but just to whatever scale he operates. If it is a big john Deer and a flail mower or bush hog..whatever. He knows. The demonstration has value. But it is not so easy for the brain to make the leap from a hand operated simple seeder to a tractor pulled no till drill.

So I am going small but functional wherever possible. However, the smallest functional no til drill that works like the giant ones pulled by those huge John Deers still costs $7k It is small enough to be pulled by a 4 wheeler or even a garden tractor! There are other similar home style version in the hundred dollar range, but they are useless because they require a fully plowed field. So That's one place I can only go so cheap and still be a useful demonstration to a farmer.

That should give you an idea how stripped down this is but it still is expensive.

Remember the goal is not to make the best at small scale, but rather to simulate how it COULD potentially be done large scale. So some things that I know how to get around, I really can't and demonstrate fairly to another farmer how he could do it on 100 acres or 1000 acres.

It really is an intellectual challenge.

The first 5 years of the project I believe have proven the biophysical. But not at a scale useful to a commercial farmer. It's this next step I am working on now.
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"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
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Last edited by Redbaron; November 4, 2017 at 07:29 AM.
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Old November 4, 2017   #124
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Check with your local Soil & Water Conservation district. Ours have no till drills for rent in the spring. One in particular that they brought out here for a field day demonstration was tiny.
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