To Do Or Not To Do

| 3/5/2015 2:08:00 PM

Jim BakerOK, I have taken the plunge and am retired, now what? Maybe you are not, yet you have some land, maybe just a large lot, in the county or inside city limits. You also want to have more control over what you eat, even what is going into what you eat, than you have just walking into your local store and buying a dozen eggs or a pound of bacon.

So now it is the 'what to do' stage. What CAN you do, legally? Where I live, I can have all the chickens I feel comfortable with. I can even have a rooster or two should I so decide. Not all places are as lenient. I have a friend inside the city limits who can have only five hens and no roosters on his roughly 1/4 acre of subdivision. Enough eggs for a young family or a retired couple for sure, with maybe even a few left over for baking or sharing with neighbors. Enough for a supplemental income? Very doubtful.

backyard chicken |

Photo: Stentaford

So now the what becomes as important as the why. Is all this 'homesteading' strictly for personal consumption? Is it to become a small income business? Will you need a business license? Insurance? A bookkeeper or a tax man? What about 'the Man'? Will what you want to do require inspections, a county agent or a visit from the USDA to check on things?

These are all things I had to work through by phone, email or personal visits even before I retired from the work force. And the results vary. If I have a roadside stand on my property, and it remains a 'no name' sole proprietorship, in my state I am not required to have a business license. I am not even required to have a 'doing business as' permit. My state is also working with the USDA to promote small commercial operations regarding a high-tunnel operation. That prompted me to become an official 'farm' with a USDA assigned farm number. It was quite easy to do, it was all done by phone and email, yet it was time consuming.

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