It is up to you whether you want your rural acreage as an income-producing operation or simply as a lifestyle.
Planning will help you communicate your ideas to potential lenders, family, business partners and the community. It will help you consider practices and compatible alternatives to your operation.
One well respected guide to business planning is “Building a Sustainable Business – A guide to developing a business plan for farms and rural businesses.” The guide is produced by the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and is available online at no cost at http://www.misa.umn.edu/vd/bizplan.html.
Take a Class
On the local front, Clackamas Community College has a variety of courses designed for those interested in agri-business and in planning and management practices.
The college offers a Small Business Development program to start and grow your own business enterprise. There are also numerous classes of interest, including landscaping, nursery operations, plant and pest management and even more through the college’s respected horticulture program. Learn more at www.clackamas.edu or call the college at 503-657-6958.
Even if you are not looking to generate income from your property, creating and using a plan can be surprisingly valuable.
Consider the compatibility of livestock, crops, pastures, fencing, outbuildings and so on. Do you really want to disrupt streamside land to plant crops? Will the lay of the land help you decide what to plant? Do you need a water source to do what you want? And, is your property zoned for what you want to do?
Tools for Homestead Planning
A useful tool for planning your homestead is the Tips brochure (Tips on Land and Water Management for Small Acreages in Oregon) available online or in print from your local Conservation District.
Oregon State University’s Small Farms Web site also contains valuable information for beginning farmers. It contains sections on selecting enterprises on the farm, sustainable agriculture and links to other small and large farm sites, a newsletter and a calendar of small farm workshops. Visit http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/beginning_farmers for more information.