Fresh Beginnings: What to Know Before Homesteading in 2018


| 12/28/2017 1:43:00 PM


Megan Wild 

For many, the word “homesteading” conjures up images of covered wagons heading west to claim the land provided to them by the U.S. government. It was Abraham Lincoln who signed the Homestead Act in the 1860s, encouraging Americans to move west with the promise of free land, 160 acres they could use as their home and their business.

Today’s homesteaders do not receive titles to their land from the president, of course — the West has since been well populated. But they do envision a fruitful life led tilling the land, wherever their farms may be — and you’re hoping to join their ranks.

There are so many benefits that come with homesteading. A life led on the land is certainly a rewarding one, and many before you have done it successfully. Still, there’s a lot that goes into making your decision to homestead, and there are some major factors to consider before you take the plunge into modern-day pioneering. Here are five of them.

Survey the Land

Becoming a homesteader means you’ll live off the land. As such, you’ll want to look at property with a critical eye to ensure you can turn your homestead into a successful farm for produce and livestock.



For most homesteads, the minimum amount of land you’d need to raise crops and animals would be a half-acre, but a bit larger would give everyone more room to breathe. Your lot should also include sources of water if you hope to live entirely off of the land. A well and a stream, for example, would provide hydration to your family and your farm.

Alice
1/26/2018 9:11:54 AM

It grates on my ears to call this " homesteading" or "farming." Two of my ancesters each homesteaded 160 acres back in the 1870s in the Midwest. I grew up in that farming country. What you are describing isn't farming, it's gardening. Nevertheless, if you can make a living gardening, more power to you.


Alice
1/26/2018 9:11:12 AM

It grates on my ears to call this " homesteading" or "farming." Two of my ancesters each homesteaded 160 acres back in the 1870s in the Midwest. I grew up in that farming country. What you are describing isn't farming, it's gardening. Nevertheless, if you can make a living gardening, more power to you.


Loretta
1/1/2018 10:01:31 AM

Megan - A great article for those just starting out. Although we moved to a rural area to get away from people, we've found over and over again that neighbors are very important. When my husband had a knee replacement, our neighbors surprised us one night by plowing our driveway in the middle of a snowstorm!