Got a couple of extra million you don't know what to do with? You could start a dairy farm in Central New York. Bonnie Collins, part of the Ag Team at Cornell Cooperative Extension put pencil to paper and roughed out some numbers on what it would take to start a 125 herd farm.

Starting with an education, Bonnie's numbers also include; land, equipment, and herd purchases, plus building facilities. Here's the breakdown:

  • $70 k- Average four-year Ag degree
  • $200 k - Purchase 125 cows @ $1,600
  • $750 K - Land to produce corn silage and hay (250 acres), plus growing costs
  • $400 k -20,000 square foot barn
  • $500 k - Double 10-parallel milking parlor, tanks, filters, houses, refrigeration, and other equipment.
  • $700 k – Tractors for plowing, planting and bush work, combine harvester, hay bailer, and other equipment.

Grand Total: $2,620,000.00

There may be a couple of things to know before you pull the 2.6 million out of the cookie jar. Milk prices are at a 4 year low, and the government regulations run deep and wide. Did we mention there are plenty working hours too?

Looking at these figures from an investment point of view, you might be better off leaving the money in the cookie jar. But that's the thing with farming, it's not about the investment or the return, it's about loving what you do.

If you're serious about wanting to start a farm, you'll find plenty of help and encouragement at Cornell Cooperative Extension. From developing a business plan to secure a loan, to tips on efficient ways to grow, raise, and develop your herd. Learn more at Cornell's website.


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