I recently acquired a small farm in Southern Ontario, and was wondering what my best options are.
I have approx. 15 workable acres, which has grown ginseng in the past. I also have a 2 floor, 10,000 square foot barn, that is approx. 20 years old, and in great shape. It was used to grow poultry.
Should I rent the land out? Or should I hire somebody to plant corn? Or other ideas?
Also what should I do with the barn? I'd like to do something in there, just hoping for ideas.
Congratulations on the new purchase. Assuming that your land is reasonably productive you shouldn't have too much trouble finding someone interested in renting from you. 15 acres is a fairly small parcel but providing there is adequate access to the field from an adjoining road there will be quite a few takers. There are great variations in the prices being offered for rental land and often a sizable gap between what numbers get tossed around in the coffee shops and what is actually getting paid. You could go to an established agri business -farm equipment dealer, fertilizer dealer and ask for a recommendation of who is reputable and does a good job. A sign on the field would likely be enough to get you some offers but no assurance of the calibre of renter. I'd want at least some cash upfront if I was renting it out.
If you decide to have it planted yourself you're likely looking at $500 in costs per acre vs. renting it out where you'll get $1-200 in income. There is more upside to doing it yourself but you really need to find the right custom operator if that's where you head.
No clue on uses for an old chicken barn....do your kids like ball hockey ? Stay away from pidgeons...
T. Ainslie said:
I'm assuming you have an empty barn and all the chicken equipment except the fans and air inlet controllers has been removed. Otherwise you should get quota and raise broiler chickens :)
We have an old (empty) chicken barn too and removed part of the second floor to create a "cathedral ceiling" in one half and a storage loft in the other. Put a good set of stairs and railing up to the loft as opposed to a ladder so storage access is easier and safer. We have mainly hay and straw storage (small square bales) in the loft but also store lumber and household "overflow" up there because it is much dryer than our basement and cleaner than our driveshed. The high ceiling allows us to use the loader tractor to get heavy stuff in & out of the loft. A high ceiling also would make a suitable area for horses.
Taking down part of the ceiling got rid of a maze of support posts so now larger vehicles and equipment can move around easily. The 2nd floor had a 2 1/2 inch layer of concrete which was broken up and used to build a ramp ("barn bank" lol) in front of one of the barn's big doors and created a drive-through barn. If I were to make additional changes I would widen and raise the door at the high-ceilinged end of the barn to allow entry with a full haywagon. We are gradually exchanging many of the fans for windows so we don't have to use so many lights.
Check with your local building inspector before you do any changes to make sure the barn's structure will still support itself with part of the 2nd floor missing. You will also need an electrician to help you with the wiring that will have to be removed and rerouted. Propane or natural gas lines have to be capped safely too.
Hope that gives you some useful ideas....
The considerable lumber we got from the removal of part of the 2nd story of our old chicken barn was reused for various other building projects around the farm.