Essential Hobby Farm Equipment and Tools
Having the right tools can make or break any job, and most people who hobby farm want to spend more time farming and less time fretting and fixing. That’s why making smart choices in what you buy is critical. Tractors don’t come cheap, after all. This list covers the bare necessities of small-scale farming, to make sure you’re never left stranded in the field.
Advice from an expert
Chad McGlothlen, the Director of Lending at Compeer Financial, shared some family wisdom that has proven to be accurate time and time again. His Grandpa Wayne always told him, “It only costs a little more to go first class.” Chad believes this statement rings true when it comes to the purchase of tools, equipment and vehicles needed to thrive and survive in a hobby farm setting. You do not need to purchase the most expensive option in order to live out this quote; you simply need to purchase the product with the most value, and that isn’t always the cheapest part, product or equipment.
Vehicles, machinery and hauling equipment
This is the equipment with the largest upfront cost for hobby farmers. However, it's also the most indispensable. Farming is all about hauling and rough terrain, and only certain equipment can withstand the abuse. The absolute essentials include:
- A pick-up truck
- A farm utility vehicle (ATV, UTV or mini tractor)
- A mower (standalone or a utility vehicle attachment)
- A livestock trailer (if you’re keeping large livestock)
- One or more handcarts/farm wagons
Remember, if your property is anything other than flat and well-compacted, it’s worthwhile to spring for four-wheel drive on your pick-up and utility vehicle. Slopes, mud and snow can all spell disaster when you have insufficient traction.
If you’re keeping large animals such as cows, sheep, pigs or horses, then getting your own livestock trailer is a very smart investment. These aren’t difficult to rent, but having your own means it can be used for more than just livestock. Anytime you need to haul hay or firewood, you’ll be glad you have it.
General purpose power tools and hand tools
There are many different tools that can come in handy around the farm. However, buying one of everything is both cost-prohibitive and a waste of space. If you’re just starting out, these are the tools you should prioritize acquiring:
- Electric circular saw
- Electric drill/driver
- Tape measures (ideally several, with one at least 100’ in length)
- Claw hammer
- Side-cutting/linesman pliers
- Ratchet and socket set
- Adjustable wrench set
- Screwdriver set (with both Phillips and flat head drivers)
- Sturdy multi-tool (to keep with you at all times)
McGlothlen has another sage piece of advice regarding hand tools. Try to purchase equipment that comes with a physical warranty card. Save that card, stapled to the purchase receipt, and keep it somewhere it won’t get lost. Agriculture equipment gets worked exceptionally hard, meaning you will more than likely end up having to replace tools under warranty at some point.
Garden tools and equipment
Finally having the space for a robust garden is one of the most attractive parts of owning a hobby farm. Not only does it lead to delicious results, it’s easy to get the hang of even if you’re an absolute beginner. The key equipment for gardening is fairly straightforward, and includes:
- Digging tools (both flat and pointed spades and a shovel)
- A hoe
- A rake
- A garden fork
- A quality garden hose
While not strictly essential, another piece that many avid gardeners choose to invest in is a composter. You don’t necessarily need to buy one though. Many people opt for homemade composting containers.
A few other tools to consider…
If you’re going to be building fencing (such as to contain any type of livestock), then investing in a fencepost driver and a digging bar is advisable. Fences regularly need to be moved or repaired, and these tools make that chore much easier.
Also, heavy-duty flashlights are an absolute must. Hobby farms are prone to midnight emergencies, and there aren’t any streetlights to help illuminate the problem.
Growing your tool shed over time
With these tools you shouldn’t have any problem running your farm effectively. However, over time you may find yourself wanting other equipment. Each operation is unique, after all. By starting with the essentials, you can take your time to understand which additions to your tool shed will bring you the greatest benefit. That way you can invest in the right equipment, with confidence.
Ready to make the move to your own hobby farm? Compeer can help. Click here to find your specialist and secure the funding you need to get your operation up and running.