"Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals & happiness." - Thomas Jefferson
Starts as a Dream
What is your life-long dream? Do you dream of wide open spaces, cattle grazing and checking fence lines on horse-back? Do you dream of the sun beating down on your back or the sweat drizzling down your brow as you look over the fields? Or do you dream of closing your eyes at night and thanking the Lord for just one more day of doing it all again? Dreams fuel life. Hard work gives the mind and body satisfaction, especially when you're working on something you love. Nothing accomplishes both of these the way our little ranch does for the 10-Bar-Y Family. Our hobby ranch gives us the thrill of seeing our hard work produce something that blesses everyone's lives; it's a fulfillment of a dream. In the last couple of years more and more people have joined the trend of hobby farming and ranching. So what is a hobby farm?
What is a "Hobby" Farm/Ranch?
A hobby farm or ranch is a plot of land or an operation that is typically run for pleasure not for a substantial income. Hobby farms and ranches are passion projects rather than a full business endeavor and have increased in popularity within the United States in recent years. In an article published in May 2020, the reasons for this increase can be boiled down into three main points. The first being that a small hobby farm can generate a small amount of income and supplement what is already being made. Second, it provides an opportunity for you to grow your own food, which is seen as a health benefit. Lastly by having your own hobby farm, it can help you decrease your ecological footprint. For some people one of these reasons may be more important than the others. Knowing what your reason for wanting a hobby farm makes it possible to have one no matter where you start.
One of the best ways to get started on your dream is to let others know what it is. Before starting 10-Bar-Y, we let others know that we wanted to have a Ranch. Through talking about our dreams with others we were able to find and make opportunities for ourselves. We got started in the dog business because we told our family friends about our dreams. They helped us get started in the breeding business and were our mentors as we were new to the dog breeding field. We were able to lease more ground for our cattle because we told our neighbors we were looking for a place. Often people are afraid to talk about their goals and what they want to accomplish; however, when you take that leap of faith it doesn’t matter how close you are to achievement you automatically get closer.
You can start your hobby farm or ranch today. You don’t need the fanciest tools, all the frills or even 20 acres. All you need to start are some goals, a plan and a budget. Lauren Arcuri published an article in 2020 with Treehugger.com called “How to Start a Hobby Farm.” In this article she outlines how having goals, a plan and a budget can get you started on your dream.
Some Tips for Success
1: Seek Advice From Experienced Farmers and Ranchers
When talking with others about your dreams, be selective about who you take advice from. People are always willing to give advice but seeking advice from experienced farmers and ranchers is always beneficial. You need to figure out what is going to be best for you and your goals and how to implement new practices. Don’t get discouraged, instead keep your head up and remember that hard work is the key. When we were starting out, and even now, we seek advice from those who have been farming and ranching for a long time. Some of what we learned we implemented in our own operation and it helped us improve what we had. Other things didn’t apply to us but helped us grow in our appreciation for the industry.
2: Don't be Afraid of Sacrifice
One of the challenges with having animals and farm responsibilities is the work never stops. With hobby operations you can occasionally get away for a vacation or two but having someone watch over and take on your responsibilities can be a hassle. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the things you want to do, for the things you need to do. Even though by definition "hobby" operations are not the main source of income for most people, they do help supplement income. Don't be afraid to say no to luxury items or unnecessary things that are not needs.
3: Enjoy Every Minute
A hobby by definition is something done regularly in one's free time for the purpose of pleasure. Having a hobby farm or ranch is a great job especially if it's your dream. It is not going to always be easy; in fact sometimes it will be downright hard! By having your dream come to life and working to achieve them, it will be one of the best things you’ll ever do. Enjoy each moment with your family. Enjoy the work, the blood, sweat and tears and make it happen.
Dreams fuel the human life and help give us purpose. In 2016, Beef Magazine did an article with 8 tips for an old time rancher on his success. In this article the rancher, called Nelo Mori, at the age of 91 had a plethora of good advice stated the following... “If you don't have nothing else but ranching, you better get with it and sacrifice and change your lifestyle." Mori's advice goes for all dreams, if your dream is all you have, then make the changes needed to make it a realtiy, not just a dream. Don't be afraid to go all in, even if it starts as a small little hobby ranch, it can change your world for the better.
We are on a journey to bridge the gap between producer and consumer by sharing our dream, knowledge and experience with the world. Hold on tight the ride is only 8 seconds long.