The Farmland Fund

Current Balance: $3180.00

I keep a quote on the margin of my website, www.farmwhisperer.com...

"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."  -Abraham Lincoln

 

There are people everywhere who have the dream of owning a small piece of land and earning a living from it by growing vegetables, raising livestock, and operating a small farm.  There are variations, of course, as many as there are people.  There are those who would gravitate towards bees or chickens or grass fed beef.  Others with a desire for healing or culinary herbs.  Vegetables show great promise, with a ready market found in the growing demand for local goods.  Still others simply want a place to raise a family in a wholesome, natural setting with good food and clean air.    

The biggest obstacle in getting started is often getting the land.  Downpayment, closing costs, critical repairs, and deposits on utilities all slurp up cash like a sponge.  Once the land is in place, there is the constant burden of the mortgage and finding a means of putting the farm on a paying basis.  In addition, the prospective new farmer must uproot his family, incur the costs of moving, and somehow scrape up the capital to invest in the farm operation.  That's with banks, having taken a beating in the last housing bubble, demanding excessive documentation, a long and strict credit history, and are uninterested in financing farm operations when times are good.  All the while, a weak economy combined with few employment options create difficulties in making the leap of faith required to give it a go.  Nonetheless, the Dream persists.

For such a project to succeed it must be viable over the long term, highly detailed with contingencies to minimize failure, and set up from the start to be a stand alone enterprise, independent of outside influence.  Encumbrances must be removed, and where that is not possible, identified and mitigated.  Raising capital can be best served by openly presenting the facts of where it comes from and how it is used.  The people involved will require screening, perhaps training, and continuous access to new ideas and methods.  The property in question will need to be examined, with the plan for the operation highly scrutinized, with progress tracked.  Incentives can be put in place to enhance results, provide opportunity, and duplicate successes.  

There is no One Size Fits All formula.  Properties are as diverse as people.  End use of the funds, while contractualized, will be dependent on the situation presented.  Properties can be leased, mortgaged, rent to own, owner financed, refinanced, or retained as a subsidiary enterprise and repurposed.  Properties may be bare land to be used for farming, include structures to be used by the farm, include a home to be occupied by the owner(s), or a complex of land and structures to be put to several tasks which may or may not include housing.  The project is not without risk.  Non-performing projects will be examined for the best possible solution.  Foreclosure and subsequent liquidation are viable options.  Neither the fund nor the sponsored farms are immune to failure.  Risk will be contained inasmuch as possible.  Precarious situations brought to light, openly disclosed and discussed.  

This is not a get rich quick scheme.  It's not even a get rich slow scheme.  Nobody gets involved in farming because of it's fast track to wealth.  While I stand a chance of earning an honest living one day, I'm giving up neither my day job nor my own aspirations of building a business growing vegetables.

Farmland Fund Plan Index