How do I know this? Because I live in a region with the largest population of real homesteaders in the U.S. I have seen many failed homesteads and I have seen many successful homesteads. The failures were undercapitalized, started too late, and had no plan for the next generation. The successful homesteads started young, built a family operation, and planned for the future. You can start homesteading later in life, but you must make up for the time you lost with cold, hard cash. All real homesteaders know this.
Let's start from the beginning. The most important crop on a homestead is grass. Homesteads require livestock, and livestock requires forage and hay. In our region, a cow/calf pair needs a minimum of two acres of excellent grassland, three acres of good grassland, or ten acres of scrub to make a living. A workhorse needs a little more ground. And pasture ground is not hay ground.
To make hay, you need hayfields and haymaking equipment. You need a place to store the hay. And you need to be in the kind of physical condition that can pick up 800, 50lbs bales of hay, load them on a trailer, lift them onto a hay elevator, and then stack them in the barn. This would exclude 99% of Americans over the age of 25. Homesteading is not the same thing as homemaking.
If you are interested in real homesteading and would like to visit our community leave a comment.
Here is a video clip of our haymaking equipment and operation.