Raising Sheep on Your Farm

There are many things to keep in mind when thinking about raising sheep on your farm. This information should help you get started thinking about it the right way.

| December 2014

Looking to raise a handful of sheep on your farm or homestead? Whether it is a handful or a herd, Philip Hasheider has the basics of raising sheep laid out in How to Raise Sheep (Voyageur Press, 2011). This excerpt, which provides basic tips for starting out with your first sheep, is from Chapter 2, “Getting Started.”

Raising Sheep: Getting Started

If you own a farm, regardless of its size, you already have one of the most important assets required for raising sheep: land. If you are new to the farm real estate market, there are several issues to consider when purchasing farmland, including the location of the farm, soil type, house or dwelling, buildings available, and a number of other intrinsic factors, such as schools, social outlets, and a sense of community.

How you handle these options may depend upon your financial situation, inclinations toward farming, and level of involvement in the prospective farm. If you already live on a farm but do not have any animals, you may decide that raising sheep is a viable option.

Farm ownership is not the only avenue for living on a farm. Renting a farm may be sufficient to achieve your goals. Whichever route you decide to take, there are many sources of information and advice available that can help you sort through all your considerations to arrive at a decision that is financially and emotionally satisfying. Advice for purchasing or renting an available farm can come from an agriculture lending group or bank, a county agricultural extension office, or private professional services that specialize in farm purchases and setting up farming enterprises. You can do much of the initial research on your own by contacting real estate agents about the availability of farms for sale or rent or by visiting properties on your own in locales where you may want to live.

Purchasing a farm is not the same as renting. If you purchase a farm, you are generally purchasing a business, because there are financial considerations whether you work the land, rent it to another party, or leave it lie fallow. The financial obligations that come with purchased land, such as real estate taxes, make it almost necessary that you initiate a usage plan for your acreage. If you have off-farm employment, raising sheep is an excellent alternative for your farm because of the limited time involvement necessary to provide good management.

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