Starting your own homestead is an exciting idea. The thought of producing your family’s food with your own two hands represents a level of freedom and independence that is just a dream for most people. The most important thing to keep in mind is that farming is hard work so you should plan to have a few modern tools before you get to work on your farm.
Livestock Handling Equipment
Decades ago, livestock vaccines didn’t exist. Most animals that fell ill couldn’t be helped, and families were often left with outbreaks of disease that could wipe out their entire herd. Today there are plenty of effective vaccines for communicable livestock diseases like blackleg, but they’re only helpful if you have a head gate and squeeze chute to capture and inoculate your animals.
Another simple problem that often ruined production for early farm families was a lack of water. Even a mild dry spell could be enough to damage yields and leave the family short on revenue at harvest time–or short on food in the wintertime. Modern irrigation equipment is efficient and easy to manage, and when coupled with water softening equipment, will not impact soil condition.
Food Preservation Equipment
All summer long, your garden and fields will put forth fresh fruits and vegetables. They can yield more than enough to get your family through the winter, but you must be able to preserve them. Food dehydrators can dry produce and meats for long-term storage, and there are many different packaging systems to streamline the process of freezing food. Today’s canners are safer and more effective than old techniques, too.
There is no shortage of jokes about the unpleasant surprise of touching an electric fence, but their job in containing livestock and excluding pests is no laughing matter. When the farm covers a lot of acres that are out of reach of electrical power, or when you just want to reduce your reliance on the power grid, a solar-operated electric fencer will provide reliable power without a plug, protecting your stock and your crops.
Many farmers have spent long nights trudging to the barn repeatedly to check on a sick or pregnant animal. Why not just look in from the house via a Wi-Fi camera? Why should you return to the house at lunch to check the weather when your phone can provide a look at the radar instantly, whether you have data service or not? Putting a Wi-Fi system with range extenders is a great way to save time and money on your farm.
Farming is an old profession, but it has not been without its upgrades. As you consider how to operate your old-fashioned family farm, don’t skip some of the new-fangled devices that can make it easier.