8 acres of farmland, worth planting crops for hobby farming?



New member
Up here in MN, the hobby farm i'm looking to buy has about 8 acres of dry farmland, which is currently alfalfa (a farmer rents it). My plan would be after i buy it, attempt to put some crops in there. It's always been a dream of fine to have a mini-farm with crops like that. I have a ton of gardening experience, but nothing that big. The only machinery i use is a rear-time tiller. For this piece of land i'd need to buy a compact tractor (for plowing, cultivating, and even planting) like the Jon Deere 4066M.

Is taking something like this on doable? I have farming in my blood, but understand it hard work. Plus not really a money making venture on just 8 acres. Here in MN, most farmers do corn or soybeans. My thought would be sweet corn and other vegetables my family and I could sell at farmers market, or heck even hemp! I've been selling sweet corn roadside from my small garden past couple years. looking for suggestions on crops?

As for soil quality, it's a loam + clay mix. Appears to be decent dirt, not sandy. According to neighbor used to be corn. Could of low spots that get wet some years, but fairly small spots. I'm looking for any suggestions on this idea, or if you think its absolutely crazy?!?


Chocolate Milk Cow
You should bring those questions to your local cooperative extension. They can tell you what the market is in your area and they can also help you arrange for soil testing to determine what kind of crops you can grow.


Farm Hand
Sounds like an expansion of what you're already doing more than an entirely new venture.

Beyond the suggestion already made of consulting your local coop, it may also be worth considering starting with the same/similiar size of garden/field you're used to working and expanding each year after (as experience grows).

Given the change in location & methods means you'll need to learn and adjust and doing that on a much larger scale all at once can create additional risks/problems.

Not expanding the crops to the full field area initially could also potentially permit spreading out the purchase of new implements over a few years rather than all at once (which could also permit a more gradual change of methods).

Also, a gradual growth/expansion path may also permit you to decide whether to turn the whole acreage into crops, or to add some animals (e.g. chickens, turkeys, pheasants) - though selling those will add additional considerations.

Just my $0.02 (which may not even be of that much value in this case).
Urban Homestead

Urban Homestead

Bean Stalker
You could look into joining or starting a CSA as a mechanism for moving your produce. It's worked out well for me. I think you'd better make sure that you can get the proper permits before you plant anything. Some cities/counties have a backlog due to COVID. By the way, welcome to the group! I love having new voices join us because we can learn a lot from one another.