Author Topic: Farming  (Read 3088 times)

usgrant1234

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Farming
« on: August 03, 2017, 05:46:25 PM »

My own personal goal is to acquire enough assets in order to begin farming full-time at some point in my 30's, and was wondering how many other large grain/livestock operators were part of these forums, and what kind of advise they would have

Quick rundown, I'm 26 and live east of Sioux falls, have an ag business degree from SDSU and currently work as a grain buyer at a coop. I made about 47k last year, and pay about 25% in taxes. I have my student loans paid off, no other debts either. Rent plus utilities average about $600 a month, and nearly everything else I buy I run through my discover, which allows me to track what almost every dollar I spend is/was for, and I can break it down into categories. I have averaged $847 on my card per month for the last 24 months (food, gas, car insurance, etc.) I drive a 2000 ford tarus with 148k on it, so no debt on the auto side either

I have a roth 401k through work I drop 6% into and they match 3% with it, into a vanguard large cap. I don't look at it, that's for the future

Only other expense would be my newly acquired health insurance, at about $170 a month

My weak points I know of are eating out too much, a lot of driving, and direct tv. Planning on buying a pellet grill/smoker to cut down on the one, and cutting the cord (satellite?) with direct as soon as my contract is up

Strong points are I have about 45k in the bank, and am no real hurry to quit my job (it's fun, nice co-workers, hours (8 to 4:30) and pretty stress free when things are going right), also have degree and some know how about what I want to do

So, what kind of plan does one need to get started? Current plan is to start small with a few cattle when I get the chance, and have that on the side for couple years in order to help qualify for the young/beginning farmer programs the USDA has out there. Ultimately I think I'd need to have the equipment/set up to run +500 acres. Figuring on older equipment, a turned-up 4440 as my main work horse

Any ideas on where to get started/what to prepare for?

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Farming
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 05:58:26 PM »

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Farming
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 07:34:51 PM »
So, I work for a startup in the ag industry. Equipment for big ag ("large grain") is insanely expensive. Hundreds of thousands of dollars for a combine that sells for scrap value in under 10 years. Farmland in Illinois around us sells for a bit over $10k/acre. What's a large grain farm? We consider it a thousand-plus acres. Well, that's $10 million in land alone, plus probably a few more in the equipment/etc.

That seems like a really tough sell to break into that vs just FIRE and call it done. If you really want to farm that much, get to FIRE and work as a farmhand for someone else?

usgrant1234

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Re: Farming
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 08:48:24 PM »
Oh, obviously you rent the land. I figure a decent 200 horse tractor should run 20 thousand, then what ever you need for implements beyond that. Have it custom combined to start with until I can find something I can run over some acres with. Other option would be to pony up for some newer stuff, and then do custom work myself on the side, but that isn't plan A. Down by Sioux City 500 to a thousand acres is pretty good size, but you don't have to go to far west of sioux falls before people run that many acres and work in town.

I worked at a feed lot straight out of college for a bit just to make some cash while I was looking for jobs. And it was alright, but the pay wasn't great. But if those were my cattle out there that'd be a different story. Further more, I don't mind the idea of locking up a bunch of debt. Honestly, rates are cheap and I'll take all the leverage I can. Problem is figuring out how to get started/convincing a bank to roll the dice on me

ALClay

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Re: Farming
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2017, 08:50:25 PM »
PM sent.

FIREby35

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Re: Farming
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2017, 08:32:24 AM »
Deleted
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 08:01:51 AM by FIREby35 »

Fudge102

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Re: Farming
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2017, 10:31:48 AM »
$5,000.

This.  As FIREby35 said, you probably won't find many farmers here, at least for big ag.  It's not really doable.  The requirements imposed by industry keep most farmers poor.  The start up costs are too great.  For someone in your situation, Curtis Stone's methods are probably the best bet for now to start out.  You can always grow.  But if you want to be free, you need to avoid standard industrial agriculture.

MLHoosier

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Re: Farming
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2017, 10:07:05 AM »
I was raised on a farm and have resources available that have been accumulated over 3 generations. Raising livestock is going to probably be the least burdensome financially in terms of growing a farm business. I have taken this route for a side business and done fairly well. The overall farm row crops about 1,200 acres and a cow/calf operation.

If you want to row crop farm, are there any local farmers who are doing what you want to do? I would advise finding one to work for on the weekends and evenings, potentially moving toward full-time eventually. It will really give you an idea of what expenses you are looking and hidden costs you may not have thought of. I'm guessing you could earn nearly as much as you do now as a top hand for a good sized farming operation if you had one available.   

Just FYI, here are a few approximate equipment costs for our farm in the past couple years:
- Planter: $100K
- Sprayer: $125K
- Combine: $230K
- Multiple Tractors: $25-75K

That doesn't include chemicals, seed, maintenance, fuel, repairs, fertilizer, etc. I don't say that to discourage you, simply to give you a clear idea of what you're getting into. Like any business, some days seem like you're just trying to herd cats.

 

usgrant1234

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Re: Farming
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2017, 02:08:14 PM »
Oh I know it's spendy, and those prices you listed look realistic but for new stuff. I'd be looking at used equipment for sure, and you can find some deals on stuff if you're decent with a wrench and aren't married to a particular brand. We all know the saying that you pay for green paint. My main thing is both A: how to get started and B: how much starting capital I'd need to get something off the ground. And those are answers I don't have

Livestock is probably not a bad place to start, especially if I can get a herd started but there again, where do you find the ground to run them? And while easier to swing financially at least at first, cattle take up way more time than grain farming, which is a problem if I still have a town job

Ultimately, If there aren't too many folks in similar situations on here there are some other places to go for advice too on specifics. I've read stuff over on Ag Talk before but never posted. Might have to change that here in the future, although some of my coworkers read there too...

Cadman

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Re: Farming
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2017, 02:49:57 PM »
USG, one thing you probably are aware of, but worth noting in case others read this thread, are the many tax advantages available that will help defray the costs on equipment, transportation, state taxes and fuel and other inputs, should you decide to go out on your own.

While renting is the smart thing to do, it could eventually open the door to land acquisition, which is a great financial vehicle, especially when interest rates go up. Land unsuitable for crops could be put into CRP for steady cash-flow year-round.

bwall

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Re: Farming
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2017, 05:45:46 PM »
You had two questions:

How to get started and start-up capital? Answer: as cheaply as possible and as much as possible. How many cattle do you want to run your first year? One? Two? Five? Ten? All cows? Or will you include a bull? If no bull, then you have to budget a vet and insemination. How many acres do you need to rent to run the cows? How do they eat in the wintertime? Will you buy hay and grain? Will you feed them everyday in winter? The acres that you rent; does it include a natural water source? Will you have to break ice in the wintertime? What about a barn in case it gets really cold and/or they get sick. Will the acerage you rent have one?

So, let's say you go with ten cows, no bull. That's a start-up cost of .... $15-$20k (?) right off the bat. How much is rent for the acres? Feed, etc? So, let's say you buy all ten cows, all already pregnant. If they all live, you can sell them in nine months as feeder calves for..... what, $10k? But, what if you don't get ten calves? Then your income is much less. And then there's the vet bills, sickness (and cows die, too!), de-horning, castration, and the random crap that comes up---ever get a phone call from the neighbor at 10p.m. Friday night that your cows are out? You have to get them back in, even if it takes ALL NIGHT! b/c if your cow gets onto the road and a car hits it, then YOU are responsible and liable for all damages in the eyes of the law. I don't think that farmer's insurance covers such an event, but we never had that happen, so I can't say for sure. Oh, right--insurance; what about that, too?

No bank is going to give a loan to a start-up farmer. If you were established, you might have luck to get a loan on collateral, but that's it. No bank wants to foreclose on cattle b/c you can't hold a 'title' or deed to a cow.

If you're going to do it, there's only one way to make it work. Start small, and raise the calves until they're full grown and large enough to slaughter. Spend the extra bucks and go for Angus breed (or similar high-end). Find a USDA inspected slaughterhouse nearby and retail the beef in the nearest large city as 'grass fed, free range Angus beef' to those city-slickers who can't tell the difference between a rat and a dog (urban legend story). Offer it online as well and charge as much as the market will bear. Only by moving as high as possible up the value chain can you ever hope to break into the market. Market it an exclusive product "When it's gone, it's gone for the rest of the year!" and thus turn the small-ness of the operation into an advantage.

I grew up on a cattle farm and at no time in my life did I ever think it was a good business to go into. YMMV.

Fishindude

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Re: Farming
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2017, 07:31:30 AM »
I think starting out with a few cattle is a great idea, just lease some pasture for starters.
Pay as you go, cash and carry, no borrowing and see how it goes.

I wouldn't recommend large scale row crop grain farming, too much capitol required and at current grain prices, it's really not that good of an investment or venture.   Even the big guys with paid off land and equipment are complaining about their returns.



GuitarStv

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Re: Farming
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2017, 07:52:32 AM »
My dad graduated from university with a double major in business and agricultural studies.  His original plan was to take over my grandfather's farm . . . But grandpa died, grandma sold the farm, and my dad ended up doing a variety of jobs finally ending up as a high school teacher.

In his 50s (and after his first heart attack), Dad quit teaching.  He sold his house in the city, and bough a small farm and tract of land out in the countryside.  Regulations and the costs (not to mention the significant amount of extra work involved) meant that keeping livestock was out of the question.  Dad has done very well for himself growing crops (organic wheat, corn, soybeans, and maintaining a small apple orchard) at his farm over the past twelve years or so.

It seems like a pretty awesome gig for someone who wants to ER.  He needs to work hard in the spring for planting and the fall for harvesting.  Other than that the rest of the year is pretty quiet.  There's freedom to travel and visit friends/family and there are great tax breaks and write offs available for equipment and gas.  There isn't a ton of money in it (my step mom makes about the same money selling baked goods/preserves at the farmers market as dad does from the crops) but it's enough to keep them from dipping into savings very much.

usgrant1234

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Re: Farming
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2017, 07:11:42 PM »
Buying bred heifers isn't a horrible plan, but I'd need the ground to run them on, which is tough. Think I'd need to buy an acreage for that, and then your talking north of 300k most likely, and that isn't really where i'd like to sink all my present/future capital. Grain markets are definitely on the down swing right now, but I think that's an opportunity to an extent. Used equipment is cheaper, and the biggest thing is finding ground to rent, getting a foot in the door right now might be best time

So what is the best way tax wise to acquire all this stuff? I gotta buy a tractor, planter, some sort of tillage system and then probably a grain cart before I can start, but I can't write anything off until I have income, kind of a chicken-egg situation. Can you depreciate stuff later after you buy it, when it starts getting actually used?

Also, when this all does get started, I can only write off expenses against my new income right? For example, I can't cut into my wage income with writeoffs, correct?

FIREby35

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Re: Farming
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2017, 08:53:19 PM »
I'm surprised how much good farming advice your getting.

But, did someone say I paid for grass fed rat or dog the other day at my favorite downtown city slicker chophouse? Hmm, I couldn't tell anyway! :)

Fishindude

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Re: Farming
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2017, 06:55:40 AM »
Buying bred heifers isn't a horrible plan, but I'd need the ground to run them on, which is tough. Think I'd need to buy an acreage for that, and then your talking north of 300k most likely, and that isn't really where i'd like to sink all my present/future capital. Grain markets are definitely on the down swing right now, but I think that's an opportunity to an extent. Used equipment is cheaper, and the biggest thing is finding ground to rent, getting a foot in the door right now might be best time

So what is the best way tax wise to acquire all this stuff? I gotta buy a tractor, planter, some sort of tillage system and then probably a grain cart before I can start, but I can't write anything off until I have income, kind of a chicken-egg situation. Can you depreciate stuff later after you buy it, when it starts getting actually used?

Also, when this all does get started, I can only write off expenses against my new income right? For example, I can't cut into my wage income with writeoffs, correct?

How much ground do you need to run a few bred heifers?   I'd think you could rent 20-50 acres of pasture pretty cheap and raise & feed a few dozen for starters, but maybe you are thinking hundreds of head?

Suggest keeping your full time job (with benefits & insurance) and ease into whatever route you choose, gradually paying for things as you go.  Really, the tax write offs are a minor concern at this stage.  Most young people I know that have successfully gotten into farming did so thru family or by working for a farmer and gradually taking over the operation.   The only guys I know that started from scratch successfully were a couple older gentlemen that made large windfalls in their business careers, quit and invested their wealth in ground and equipment to become farmers.

A good start might be to buy a house with some ground for your first place, then see what you can do with the ground to make $$ off of it. 

I own 180 acres of good farm ground and have found it much more profitable to hobby farm and enroll the ground in various CRP programs rather than to raise corn or beans.   

bwall

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Re: Farming
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2017, 07:04:26 AM »
usgrant: Do you enjoying praying about the weather every night? Looking to the sky and hoping to starts raining? Or that it stops raining? Can you control the weather? If not, then you have no business getting into row cropping. The best way to make money on crops is by buying or selling futures for corn, wheat or soybeans on the Chicago Board of Exchange. Lots less risk, less work, better potential payout and about the same stress level, with the added benefit that you can cash out at any time.

Here is the way to get started running cows, but I feel bad telling you this. It's like I'm showing you how to tie your own noose.

You need to find a person who is running their small farm as a hobby. There are lots of them around, I'm imagining a retiree who is in his 70's by now and can't get around like he used to but knows everything and isn't ready to quit just yet. He'd let you put a couple of cows on his land in exchange for work. This way, you can find out what it's like to run cows, without the huge upfront investment. The work that you can offer to do on a regular basis: feed cows in winter, break ice in winter and check up on the cows regularly. When needed, you can help: fix fences, herd cows, etc and just 'be available' in case of an emergency. You can also learn from him a lot about farming--a huge side benefit. Perhaps you can even put in a vegetable garden next to his, if you like?

How to find this person? Call the county agent (as many as you can), call ALL the large animal vets in the area, talk to the people at the local fertilizer/seed store, put up a sign at TSC, call the 4H dep't at the local high schools, put the word out. I can guarantee that you'll find someone.

fluffmuffin

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Re: Farming
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2017, 07:37:28 AM »
Pretty much my whole family is in ag or an ag-adjacent field and...yeah. Granted we're in a very different part of the country, but regardless of your location it's tough out there. I really, really, REALLY recommend that you do as so many on this thread have suggested and start working part-time for a small farmer. Farmers are statistically an aging bunch and like bwall says, there is almost certainly an older farmer somewhere near Sioux Falls who's slowing down, whose kids aren't interested in taking over the business (ahem, like me), and who would love to teach you everything they know. Depending on their estate planning situation, you might even have the chance to buy them out eventually so you wouldn't be starting an operation over from scratch.

Alternatively, are you interested in moving to the East Coast? How do you feel about horses? I know a farm with plenty of pasturage where you could run some starter cows. Asking for a friend ;)

But seriously, big props to you for wanting to get into ag. We need more people like you.

jandr

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Re: Farming
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2017, 01:33:50 PM »
Purely anecdotal, but I have a lot of family in farming - 6 of my uncles farm for a living, and both sets of grandparents were farmers. One of my aunts and uncles sold their farm a few months ago to do something else because they just couldn't make enough anymore. I also live less than an hour southeast from Sioux Falls, so I'd like to think I'm familiar with the area. Pretty much the only way any of my family manages to swing it is by having cheap work - either their kids help out from a young age with little to no pay or they pay immigrants under the table.

From what I saw with my relatives, farming was pretty stressful especially if it was looking to be a bad year. If you really love farming then it's worth looking into. If you don't like working as a farm hand I don't see how you're going to like farming for yourself enough to make it worth the stress and potential losses.

usgrant1234

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Re: Farming
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2017, 10:03:51 PM »
I'm a pretty big believer in EMH so I don't really think there's much money to be made just trading paper. Course that could be because I'm more a technical guy myself. But basis is another thing, and I think there is a 'feel' to the local market for grain and that there are opportunities on that side. Now I do think hedging should be part of any complete breakfast-type marketing plan, and maybe options too, whether as part of a fence or not. I know that grain is tough right now especially, lotta people are below cost of production at current prices. But I think that's the time to jump in honestly, as people are getting out. When corn is 6 dollars, you're not going to be able to find any land for rent then

I really do appreciate everyone's input. I have been thinking over getting a part time job on the weekends here too, but that's still up in the air... I know a lot of folks get their start through family, and my Dad does farm, but I don't know that's the way to go. Another thought I've can is starting out putting up custom hay for some folks. Not a lot of money in it, but at least I'd be able to justify buying some equipment then, and you never know who you might run into when you're out and about


fluffmuffin

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Re: Farming
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2017, 07:52:09 AM »
I'm a pretty big believer in EMH so I don't really think there's much money to be made just trading paper. Course that could be because I'm more a technical guy myself. But basis is another thing, and I think there is a 'feel' to the local market for grain and that there are opportunities on that side. Now I do think hedging should be part of any complete breakfast-type marketing plan, and maybe options too, whether as part of a fence or not. I know that grain is tough right now especially, lotta people are below cost of production at current prices. But I think that's the time to jump in honestly, as people are getting out. When corn is 6 dollars, you're not going to be able to find any land for rent then

I really do appreciate everyone's input. I have been thinking over getting a part time job on the weekends here too, but that's still up in the air... I know a lot of folks get their start through family, and my Dad does farm, but I don't know that's the way to go. Another thought I've can is starting out putting up custom hay for some folks. Not a lot of money in it, but at least I'd be able to justify buying some equipment then, and you never know who you might run into when you're out and about

What's your reservation with starting out with your dad, if he's already farming? Why would you put money into land and equipment if he already has them? Even though my dad and I don't get along, if I wanted to get into the industry, I would be an idiot not to combine efforts with him. The consistent advice seems to be that starting out the way you want to, is the absolute hardest and most expensive way to get into an already-difficult industry. You said it yourself: a lot of people get their start through family. That's because for most people who are not independently wealthy, capitalizing on family connections is the only way to tackle the costs of overhead, land, and equipment. Maybe there are good reasons why this isn't an option for you, but I would really spend some time interrogating the reasons why you're so resistant to either working with your dad or finding another mentor. Why don't you think that's the way to go for you?

Also, hay is expensive AF. I know, I know, you'd buy everything used...but. At least where I am, you need a fuckton of acres to even come close to a profit, and a lot of luck with weather. My aunt keeps about half of her acreage for really prime-quality hay and she loses money every year (granted she puts up that much hay because she wants it for her own livestock, not necessarily because she's trying to make money). I'm gonna close my comments on hay with an excerpt from Penn State Ag's page on hay, emphasis added: "Did I mention you will need quite a few acres to justify making purchases of some of this equipment? If you can fix up equipment, remember, your time is valuable and should be budgeted toward the most profitable enterprises on the farm (maybe another enterprise on the farm qualifies.)" (http://extension.psu.edu/business/start-farming/news/2011/so-you-want-to-make-hay)

So even a non-MMM resource--one that exists to get people hyped about ag and started in the business--is saying not to do hay if you want to make money. I don't think there's any universe where you can justify buying one-use equipment (wtf else are you going to use a baler for?) to basically be a hay dilettante.

Fishindude

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Re: Farming
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2017, 08:38:54 AM »
Another thought I've can is starting out putting up custom hay for some folks. Not a lot of money in it, but at least I'd be able to justify buying some equipment then, and you never know who you might run into when you're out and about

Based on this post and others, it strikes me that you are pretty excited about owning some equipment / big boy toys.  If you really want to farm for a living, don't get the cart ahead of the horse.  If you want to own equipment, you should have buildings to store it in out of the weather, and you should have a solid plan in place for this equipment to pay for itself and make you some money.

There isn't anything wrong with having some equipment to hobby farm and play around with knowing full well that you might not make much money (heck, I do), but be honest with yourself and don't try to create a job around something that won't pay you adequately.   Having made my living in construction, I've seen many contractors with a bad case of "yellow iron fever" go belly up due to their desire to own a big fleet of equipment that they couldn't keep busy or profitable.

M5

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Re: Farming
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2017, 09:37:57 AM »
I'm a pretty big believer in EMH so I don't really think there's much money to be made just trading paper. Course that could be because I'm more a technical guy myself. But basis is another thing, and I think there is a 'feel' to the local market for grain and that there are opportunities on that side. Now I do think hedging should be part of any complete breakfast-type marketing plan, and maybe options too, whether as part of a fence or not. I know that grain is tough right now especially, lotta people are below cost of production at current prices. But I think that's the time to jump in honestly, as people are getting out. When corn is 6 dollars, you're not going to be able to find any land for rent then

I really do appreciate everyone's input. I have been thinking over getting a part time job on the weekends here too, but that's still up in the air... I know a lot of folks get their start through family, and my Dad does farm, but I don't know that's the way to go. Another thought I've can is starting out putting up custom hay for some folks. Not a lot of money in it, but at least I'd be able to justify buying some equipment then, and you never know who you might run into when you're out and about


What's your reservation with starting out with your dad, if he's already farming? Why would you put money into land and equipment if he already has them? Even though my dad and I don't get along, if I wanted to get into the industry, I would be an idiot not to combine efforts with him. The consistent advice seems to be that starting out the way you want to, is the absolute hardest and most expensive way to get into an already-difficult industry. You said it yourself: a lot of people get their start through family. That's because for most people who are not independently wealthy, capitalizing on family connections is the only way to tackle the costs of overhead, land, and equipment. Maybe there are good reasons why this isn't an option for you, but I would really spend some time interrogating the reasons why you're so resistant to either working with your dad or finding another mentor. Why don't you think that's the way to go for you?

Also, hay is expensive AF. I know, I know, you'd buy everything used...but. At least where I am, you need a fuckton of acres to even come close to a profit, and a lot of luck with weather. My aunt keeps about half of her acreage for really prime-quality hay and she loses money every year (granted she puts up that much hay because she wants it for her own livestock, not necessarily because she's trying to make money). I'm gonna close my comments on hay with an excerpt from Penn State Ag's page on hay, emphasis added: "Did I mention you will need quite a few acres to justify making purchases of some of this equipment? If you can fix up equipment, remember, your time is valuable and should be budgeted toward the most profitable enterprises on the farm (maybe another enterprise on the farm qualifies.)" (http://extension.psu.edu/business/start-farming/news/2011/so-you-want-to-make-hay)

So even a non-MMM resource--one that exists to get people hyped about ag and started in the business--is saying not to do hay if you want to make money. I don't think there's any universe where you can justify buying one-use equipment (wtf else are you going to use a baler for?) to basically be a hay dilettante.

This is pretty much spot on. Farming is terribly hard to break into, so why on earth would you not take advantage of your current connections? The cost of acquiring equipment is doable, but I'd say the biggest obstacle to the whole operation is available land. Here in Eastern Kansas most of the big farmers (3000+ acres) have snatched up all the leased ground, leaving you with having to buy the land. This is where it becomes severely cost prohibitive.

If you can either use your dad's equipment or take over his operation eventually, then I'd say go for it. But, do you absolutely love farming?? You can make enough to live a reasonable life and not need another job, but it can be stressful at times and you must love every minute of it to make it work. My passion for farming is off the charts, which is why I hope to take over my FIL's farm eventually (200 beef cows, 500 acres row crop, 150 acres hay), but there's no way I could ever do it on my own and make money. And as far as cattle go, the only way to make real money is with a cow/calf operation. And the only way to do this is to be able to have a shit ton of time on your hands to devote to them, especially during calving. So far this year my FIL would've lost 3 calves had he not kept an eye on them all night. It has to become your full time job, and IMO it's a huge ass pain.

Hay - I happen to put up about 60 acres of Brome hay that I lease. I usually produce about 70 big round bales and 2000 small squares. I certainly make good money for my efforts, but that is only because I use my FIL's equipment. He let's me use everything for free as long as I help him out whenever he needs it. If I were having to make payments on tractors, balers, mowers, bale wagon, and truck and trailer then it would take me years to break even.

Lastly, as others have said, weather plays a huge factor and you must be willing to shrug it off and keep going. My first year baling hay I lost about $3k worth of hay because a couple rain showers popped up after I had mowed, even though it was supposed to be sunny and dry. It was incredibly discouraging, but I kept plugging away and learned from it. I also recently saw a picture of an Iowa farmer's corn crop that was obliterated by large hail. Crop insurance does pay, but not very well. Mother nature is a fickle bitch, it's just a matter of how you deal with that added stress. So there's my footstomp again.. you MUST love farming with every fiber of your being to make it worthwhile.