Hobby farms are small recreational properties located out of the city where ‘would be’ farmers can use the land to raise livestock, grow produce, make cheese or run a small vineyard and more.
There are numerous hobby farms of different sizes and types all over Australia, and they are most commonly between 10-40 hectares in size.
Hobby farms are not usually purchased with the intention to make money, but there can be a small profit, for instance, if you sell your wine to a local shop or you sell your excess fruit and veggies at the local farmers market.
Is hobby farming right for you? Keep reading to find out more about this growing trend.
Who owns a hobby farm?
The Victoria Department of Primary Industries puts the number of hobby farms at around 60,000 in Australia and says they occupy approximately 20% of agricultural land.
The general profile of a hobby farmer is a professional person or retiree who doesn’t want to totally give up city living but perhaps wants to raise livestock, grow fruit trees, produce wine or any number of other recreational activities. Time is usually split between the hobby farm and the city so that they can maintain their regular job or lifestyle in town.
The hobby farmer doesn’t necessarily rely on the farm to pay the bills back in the city. But some hobby farms can be considered small working farms that provide a secondary source of income.
What skills do you need as a hobby farmer?
For hobby farmers, having some background knowledge of farming is helpful, but many are first-time farmers who do their research online and learn the necessary skills as they go. If you’re the type of person who loves learning new things and is willing to undergo a steep learning curve then buying a hobby farm could be a successful venture.
Many first-time farmers opt to raise a few grazing livestock such as sheep, cows, goats and alpacas as these animals are relatively easy to look after though, like any farm animals, they require constant care and maintenance. Any kind of small animal, like miniature cows or pigs, are also popular because they’re easy to handle.
Growing produce is also a safeish venture though you will need to know about soil composition, weed and pest control, and irrigation etc. A bushfire management strategy is also essential.
How to find the right hobby farm
Before you rush in and buy the first plot of land you see on a For Sale ad, it’s a good idea to have:
- A clear plan in mind of what you want the hobby farm for,
- Your legal requirements for running the farm,
- An idea of what equipment you’d need to purchase and;
- Knowledge of how much time you can commit to the farm’s upkeep.
Is the farm something you want to visit every weekend, or do you want to spend half the week there and half in town?
Getting a good local agent who understands your requirements and knows the area in which you’re looking can make finding the perfect hobby farm a lot easier.