DIY DIVA
DIY diva

Unexpected Adventure: The Farmland Edition

August 24, 2015 | 25 Comments | Uncategorized
DIY diva

If you’re reading within an hour or two of when it was posted, picture me like this: sweaty palms, bags under my eyes, bidding-card in hand, about to make some real big life decisions. Here’s why…

The 130 acres of farmland around my property is up for auction, uh, right now.

You know my history with this place and auctions, right?

Well this time I had 20 days notice (slightly more than the 4 hours notice I had last time) which is better? I think? Except for the fact that I haven’t slept in, oh, about 20 days. So you can bet my decision-making skills are realgood right now. Nice time to give me bidding-card and the potential to spend a shitload of money, guys.

So. So. Okay, there are so many things to explain here. Let’s start with this: Between 5:00 – 8:00 EST on Monday the 24th (and dear god I hope it doesn’t go longer than that because my nerves won’t be able to take it… unless they are serving alcohol at this thing) you can check my social media accounts– facebook, twitter, and insta— for more updates on what’s going on my and my current state of excitement-fear-elation-dread-whatthefuckamIdoing. I’m going to try to real-time update but I have no idea how this is going to go. (Good vibes are super welcome right now though!)

In the meantime, let me share just a little bit about what the hell is going on here.

The Backstory

My current property (house, barns, pasture, field) sits on a 10-acre plot of land that used to be part of a much larger farm. My property is the overgrown grass in this picture, and the “field” from the grass to the trees is actually owned by a mining company that has been renting the land out to farmers.

Untitled

I didn’t know this at the time that I bought my property, but that mining company actually had approved permits to mine the fields around me for sand and gravel.

Now, it really wasn’t a big thing because– since my family has contacts in this industry– we knew they weren’t actually planning to mine the property in the near future, and would likely be willing to sell it eventually. I had my uncle put a bug in their ear to let me know if they ever wanted to sell the 30 acres around me.

(Note that I said thirty, not ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY.)

So I felt pretty secure that at some point, if they wanted to sell this property, someone would reach out to me and I could make them an offer… and this might be, you know, a decade from now.

Until…

Three Weeks Ago 

So three weeks ago, I’m just about to head out the door on a Friday evening for dinner with friends when my neighbor calls and says “did you know they’re auctioning off all the property around you?”

What?

WHAT.

Yes. They are. But not just the 30 acre parcel around me (that I could probably afford without too much financial strain), instead they are selling three parcels totaling around 130 acres of land. It looks something like this:

property_diagram

Well, so there’s good news and bad news about all of this… plus a lot of gray area in-between.

The good news: I come from a long line of farmers and I’ve always harbored a desire to both legitimately farm some property, and to put the old original farm that my property was a part of back together. Now, I thought I would start out small with the 30 acres around me and go from there, but… well honestly, since when do I ever “start out small”?

The bad news: I figured this was something I would do, oh, I don’t know… 5-10 years from now? You know, at some vague and undefined point when my current property was paid off, and I’d spent more time putting all the finances together and planning for it. Not at the tail end of a summer where I’ve dropped significant amounts of cash on materials to re-side one of my barns and renovate my kitchen. (Cabinets and paint are non-refundable, apparently.)

So, yes, I would have liked to have a solid plan in place for this kind of venture or, you know Plan B, which is I COULD JUST DO IT RIGHT NOW WITH 3 WEEKS NOTICE AND NO FINANCING IN PLACE.

Sure. No problem.

Now there are some government assistance programs for beginning farmers, but you typically can’t get approved for one of those inside of three weeks. Still, I’ve made a hard-push to get all of my information together, which has included a lot of all-nighters doing research on this property specifically, calculating potential crop yields, and putting together a business plan for running this farm. (Which is something I would do in addition to my day job, fixing up the house, taking care of my current property, and… everything else.)

The Auction & The Risk

Here’s how the auction is going to go down: There are two “Parcels” of land up for auction today, one of them is 20 miles away from me, and the other one is what I’ve described above. So, first they will auction each of those parcels individually (that’s when I’ll bid on the one that I want) AND THEN, even if I get the winning bid on my parcel, they will try to auction them off together and see if they get more money for them that way.

So. That’s not going to be nerve-wracking at all.

I also don’t have any kind of loan-approval to be able to purchase the property at this point. Tillable farmland in my area might go, on average, for $3000-5000/acre. (There are approximately 85 tillable acres on this property.) Now if someone wants the property for development or something like that… well then it could go for anything.

If I have the winning bid I’ll have to put 10% down at the time of the auction, and if I can’t get financing after that… well. It’s a gamble. If it comes in at the low end of average I feel pretty confident I can make it work financially… if it comes in at the higher end? Well. That’s another gamble.

The Reward

image

Kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

I took this from the hill on the edge of Fields 2 & 3, and, yeah, that’s my huge 10,000 sf pole barn of in the distance. It looks like a monopoly house from here…

Here’s the thing, there is a lot a play here and a lot of unknowns. This could be another great adventure (and a good business venture) or maybe it won’t be. And as long as some asshole doesn’t buy it with the intent of building some kind of subdivision (in which case I’ll be putting a pig-farm on my back 4 acres and we’ll see if they can sell any lots then) I’m good with it either way.

So that’s the story so far. I’ll try to keep real-time updating via social media over the next several hours, and I’ll update here later this evening to let you know how it all went!

Post-Auction Update

Well, it was down to just me and one other bidder, but we were already 50k over what I wanted to spend, and he went over my max limit. So there won’t be any new farming ventures for me right now.

BUT, there are all kinds of good things about this as well…

1.) I’m pretty sure the guy who bought it was a farmer, and if someone wants to continue to farm this land and it doesn’t cost me a penny? I can live with that.

2.) I gave him my number just in case he wanted to sell the 30 acres around me. (He may have still be salty that I drove the price up 100k on him, but… if he just wants the wooded hunting area, I may still have the option to start small around here eventually.

3.) That would have put me on a tight budget for the next 2-3 years. Like “no more renovations on the house” kind of tight, but since I didn’t blow my whole kitchen renovation budget on a down payment I can actually buy that farm-style basin sink and a wood stove and actual flooring and counters to go in there… so that will be nice.

4.) Since I’m not going to spend the next 60 days dealing with banks, and P&Ls, and crop rotation plans, and trying to drum up operating capital for a new business… I can spend more time here:

Thank you all for tuning and and for all the words of encouragement over the last few hours. You guys are seriously the best!

DIY diva

    Comments

  • Anne


    OooooEeeeee!! Best Wishes Sweetie!!!

  • Vanessa


    Oh god, how nerve wracking! Good luck and I’ll be following you heart in throat.

  • ang


    I have to smile slightly as I read this because my parents ended up with 18 acres next to our 10 acres doing something like this. They just didn’t want the land developed. So they made a dune buggy track through it. That was all we did with the land. But it was beautiful, and it was ours
    Good luck lady. I hope you get it.

  • Sandy


    Ooooooh good luck!!!

  • Patti


    My heart…MY HEART!! Girl, if anyone I know can pull this off, it’s you. GOOD LUCK!

  • Guerrina


    Oh MY! Tuned in for updates! Good luck!

  • Juliet


    Holy crap on a cracker! Now I’ll be biting my nails about the outcome for you from an hour northeast. Sending good auction vibes your way.

  • Kit's Mom


    All will go in your favor!

  • J


    Seems you were meant to be where you are and seems that the powers that play with our little lives think you are READY for your next adventure.
    Have a feeling this will work out according to The Plan. And then you will break down and git yourself a huntin’ dawg… : )

    (fingers crossed & holding breath)

  • amy


    Good luck!
    Land isn’t being made so I say get as much as you can!

    We started looking for 5 acres and ended up with 80 near TC!

  • Lori


    Oh my. GOOD LUCK!

  • Gary


    Wow. A similar thing is happening to us (auction 24 Sept, so we have a bit more notice!). Good luck with it.

  • Kevin Hipple


    I bought my farm at an auction sale several years ago. There were four parcels and then the whole piece. I basically sat and watched for a couple rounds and then ended up buying the whole thing. And you are right, it is very nerve racking! Good luck.

  • Steve Landreth


    Is that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone?

  • J


    1. Is the buyer single and attractive and does he like wine?

    2. Does he have a serious tool collection with maybe some awesome heavy equipment…?

    3. How does he feel about donkeys & nugs? : )

    The adventure has likely just begun.
    Stay tuned, everyone!

  • lela "cricket" spurgeon


    Jeez Louise! Its been like waiting for the series finale all night! Anti-climactic ending but that’s okay for now! Tomorrow is another day 😀

  • Maren


    Hoh. Lee. Shit.

  • Jack


    Hi Kit, What J said ( part 1. ) By the time you read this the auction’s over and I’m thinking you’ve grown Black Feather Farm considerably and acquired a multitude of income options while alleviating any worry for future shitty development right in your backyard. As far as hunting dog, I would have said a ( strong NO ) for you doing any hunting albeit mushrooms, wild asparagus and an occasional nug from time to time after reading you 3 or 4 times.
    WOW! One of life’s big nervy decisions indeed. Like..one of those we all have had, that can sometimes be clouded by emotion over logic. I”m not a betting man, never lost once at the tables, donate to more needy ppl but if I were, I’d put much $ / on the first thing that come to your mind when you heard the land was up for auction was… I believe I need a number 😉 Hope you got it at a fair price to you and if you did your able to get some sleep with all them wonderful exciting ideas in your head 😉
    constant growth…
    make it a great day! :)

    JLC

  • Nine Dark Moons


    I’m sad you didn’t win the bid, but I’m glad you’re able to look at the positive side of not winning – that makes a huge difference! I can’t wait to see how the kitchen progresses!

  • Reenie


    Oh, I sure hope you get the 30 acres around you. :)

  • Emily


    I’m sorry that it didn’t pan out but I have hope for the future possibilities, but mostly wanted to applaud you for seeing the silver lining.

    Chin up and enjoy the land, projects and wine.

  • Tracy


    That last photo says it all… enjoy! :)

  • Amelia


    I loved following this. I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but maybe it actually will in the end with those 30 acres and maybe even more along the timeline you had initially thought of. Best part of this story… the Harry Potter book at the end. LOVE!

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from An Abundance of Awesome | Steven Bush Blog
    Tuesday, 25 August, 2015

    […] going to give me five new gray hairs… at least.   (If you didn’t read the update on Monday’s post, all the farmland around me went up for auction, and the purchase price ended up being over my max […]

  • Trackback from An Abundance of Awesome | Thomas Rush
    Tuesday, 25 August, 2015

    […] going to give me five new gray hairs… at least.   (If you didn’t read the update on Monday’s post, all the farmland around me went up for auction, and the purchase price ended up being over my max […]

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