This is Your Farm

Yesterday in the Mt. Vernon News you noticed a real estate advertisement for 200 acres that are only one mile from your homestead. Currently you have 250 acres, but you'd like to buy this land in order to expand your production.

Photo by Ned Salter
Knox County: 200 acres located east of Mt. Vernon and west of
Gambier. Rolling agricultural land with stream and 15 wooded acres.
Contact John Sears.

How are you going to manage your 550 acres?

Now that you've bought new land you need to design your own rotation. A crop rotation is a multiple year plan for what crops you will grow in a particular field. A rotation means that you will plant different crops in the same field. Continuous cropping or monoculture is different from rotation because you plant the same crop in a field year after year. A rotation is especially important because certain crops add nutrients to the soil and other crops take nutrients from the soil. A common rotation plan is to follow corn with soybeans, then winter rye, then hay, then again to corn. As a farmer you must understand the different ways in which your crops impact the soil so that you can keep your soil healthy and productive. Read about grasses and legumes in rotations and then return to plan your own rotation!

Often farmers plan a fallow period for their fields, or in other words, give the fields a vacation from producing crops. One way in which to renew soil nutrients is to allow livestock to graze in old fields. In these pastures the animals' manure will decompose and replenish the soil so that it can continue to support crops. View the layout of your farm.

An aerial view of fields under rotation.
Fields under a rotation.
NRC Alternative Agriculture 1989:208

Now that you have decided how you are going to use your acreage you need to purchase seed.

Will you use chemicals on your fields or will you be an organic farmer?
This is an important decision to make so make sure you read about conventional and organic farming before you decide!
  • If you decide to use chemicals jump to Activity #1. Why did you decide to use chemicals?
  • If you will practice organic farming write a paragraph about why you chose to be an organic farmer.

What is the total cost of your seed and chemicals?

This figure may not make it seem like it is very expensive to farm, but remember, this does not include the cost of the land. Also, you will need to think about what equipment you might need to farm these 550 acres. For now, we will "give" you the equipment so you don't have to worry about this investment at this time, but this could be a lot of money so be ready!


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