Are You a Homesteader or Farmer?

Are you a homesteader, or a farmer? I keep going between the two, trying to figure out which group we belong to.

First, let’s define the two:

1. Broadly defined, homesteading is a lifestyle of simple self-sufficiency.

2. Farming is the practice of agriculture or aquaculture. *While there are several sizes of Farming operations in the United States and abroad, for the purpose of this discussion, we will be using that of a small family farm.

How are they related?

Both terms are used to describe a way of life. However, Homesteading is on a more personal level, while farming is more on a business level.

I think, correct me if I am wrong with this, farming focuses on one or two things that it does best, like raising cattle and corn, gardening and raising livestock, raising chickens and collecting eggs, or combining any or all of the above on a smaller scale for sale and creating an income for the family to live. Depending on the family, the age of the family farm, and the amount of land the family has to work with.

Farming does not go the extreme of making your own soap, or spinning your own wool, or making your own wash detergent.  While these are great skills to learn, know, and enjoy, they do not expand into an every day life chore in farming.

Both take care of their land, their animals and their family with their hearts deeply involved. Both want what is best for their families, and future generations to come.

Homesteading is getting back to the very basics of life, simply for yourself and your family. Growing, producing and eating what you have raised, going “organic” and living without any outside help.

*Not sure if  “outside help” can be taken to mean ANY help from any government agency, or just from FDA and other agencies that can help one become more self-sufficient, because of laws and regulations that are put in place for ALL FARMING OPERATIONS (with exceptions). Confusing, I know.

There are two bills that have been passed, Certified Domestic Kitchen was passed, and Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) were both passed last year. While Certified Domestic Kitchen was put into the Tennessee Dept of Agriculture (at least for me), GAP is being put into place by the Federal Dept of Agriculture.

I don’t have a problem with GAP, as this will allow our little farm to expand and help in our economy, by allowing small operations (homesteaders or farmers) to sell to wholesalers we otherwise would not have been able to reach. And yes, we are getting help from the government to help fund this process.

I do, however, have a problem with the Certified Domestic Kitchen, as this bill forces more expenses on the smaller canner / baker, that we cannot afford. And the Government is NOT offering any help to us for this certification.  This leaves only a few small operations to stay alive, while the rest of the small operations have to look for alternative methods of income.

So, I guess on that note, we are a small farming operation. Willing to work with the Government, help our communities become more self-efficient, and continue to supply fresh produce to the public, and work on ways to help educate the general public why small farms are so important

Are you a homesteader, or a farmer? What is the biggest difference in the two from  your point of view?

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10 Responses

  1. This could be a hard to define issue couldn’t it? Farming is a part of homesteading but you don’t have to be a homesteader to be a farmer. Farmers usually work in a narrow niche as you said while homesteaders are Jacks of all trades. Farmers also usually have more of the resources available to become homesteaders.

  2. Very good explaination of the difference between the two. I had never sat down and thought of what exactly the difference was. I always thought of a farmer as someone on a big piece of property that grew crops for selling as their source of income. So I guess that would be for business/profit. Homesteaders I guess I thought of Little House on the Prarie, although it was their livelyhood. Thanks for the definitions!

  3. Jill says:

    I thought the same as Caren. Huh.

    I’m visiting from day 18 on the Sits 31DBBB forum. Good luck on building the sneeze page. I recently re-did mine & am happy with it. 🙂

  4. Kay Duncan says:

    I have a personal problem with the Govt regulating beyond what is reasonable. It has the sensation of ‘cutting out’ some folks in favor of others. I would love the chance to homestead someday, but I do appreciate you bringing to light the challenges that exist for that dream of mine. I had no idea that the Govt was into controlling even those small operations.

  5. Bibi says:

    I live around farms and vineyards so I always thought about farming as a business and source of income.

    Homestead to me is living off the land as a large family or a group and trying to be self sufficient as much as possible.

  6. msteiner says:

    I don’t agree with everything the government is doing, they have already taken away my canning sales. There are still things that you can sell off your farm (or homestead), without having certifications. We are in the process of trying to get some of the new regulations either changed or dumped completely. But, in the mean time, we have to do what we have to do in order to keep our little farm operating and hopefully be turning a profit, even after our expenses.

    I wish you the best of luck with your dreams, don’t ever give up on them! As far as I am concerned, there is no better feeling then being able to support yourself and your family from working your own land.

  7. Very interesting info on both farming and homesteading! As someone else mentioned, Little House on the Prairie & other TV shows/movies, are about all I know of either.

    I’m a new Blogging Buddy. Nice to meet you!


  8. Barry H says:

    I think that there is something very appealing about the idea of self sufficiency – probably more for people who live in the city than rural dwellers. In the city all is convenience, but you know in the back of your mind you would be in big trouble if anything went wrong with anything.

  9. Sherry Allan says:

    OK I really want that old house! I can see myself sitting in a rocking chair on the porch knitting…..

  1. March 27, 2011

    […] Are you a Homesteader or Farmer? […]

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