Gonna need some help

Finding land, working a small plot or anything else countryside related
Sound556
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Gonna need some help

Post by Sound556 »

Hi there,
Coming Juli 2024 me and my wife will return to Japan. Her family insisted that some one should take over the family farm after the passing of their grandpa. This is ofcourse no problem in my expectations of how we start or live our lives in the future.

For some background information : Im a 27 year old grassfed dutch prime beef. jokes aside .
Im a avid hunter especialy wild boar and ducks is something i would grade myself as a proffesional in.
For farming experience : its been animal husbandry for the last 14years.
Though i have some crop knowledge and allot of friends and relatives i can call on for actual harvest advise for ''western'' veggies.

My question or beacon for help is : could some one shed some light or help me get an idea how i should rekick start het family farm?
I'll lease it from her family and its probaly gonna be rice seeing the ammount of logistics it would take to convert it to potato or corn.

For my questions : How and where would one buy seeds , fert and sell harvest ( im not looking for prime dollar yet , i need to have start a revenue stream as quick as possible).

Machinery : what kind of tractor is populair ( kabuto) and how would a basic financial lease look? ( just the basics not the extreme details) and is renting an option?

Animal husbandry : How are the rules and regulations about keeping and butchering the animals your self ( from farm to table kinda idea) and would the populous be interested in this ? ( chicken , pork , beef)

Crop rotations : do the rice farmers have a crop rotation? or do they accept the yield is gonna be lower and the soil gonna be drained of nutrients for that patriculair crop ( grasses).

Hunting question : Is it feaseble to make a career out of culling the wild boar and deer menace ive read/heard about?

Social question : Iam a social creature for problem solving etc. When i grew up it was normal to help each other out in planting and harvesting time. What is your experencie getting accepted in the ''farmer'' social circle ? did you fit in quite quick or did you have to be a ''lone wolf' for a few years?

i know this might be allot. But when i scoure the internet i can only find a few reddit posts about these subjects and they arnt really giving information and seem to be more of a ''bashing' kind of look.
I'd love to hear back from you guys! any information is information! feel free to contribute!

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Gonna need some help

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Welcome to the forum Sound556 and thank you for joining, we really do appreciate that.

I'm going to be a little busy the next few days but will try to find some time to answer your questions fully from my perspective in vegetable farming but in the meantime there are plenty others here who can give better insights than me so perhaps they will jump in.

Most of the things you are proposing are doable but perhaps might need some modification to suit the location you will be in. Perhaps you could give us an idea roughly where you will be based ? Prefecture is fine, doesn't need to be specific town or anything and maybe how close large cities will be, that affects who will be your main customers.

Also, the forum software seems a bit wonky at the moment and we will get around to fixing it when time permits so please bear with us till then. You'll most likely run into problems when replying to posts (just refresh the page after replying and ignore the message about a previous post) or having emails sent out.

Sound556
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Re: Gonna need some help

Post by Sound556 »

Hi thanks for the quick reply,
The place were gonna go to is Joetsu region , 30minutes ride from the actual city. I could tap into niigata city aswell with some adjustments.
The fields are all rice paddies and are around 31 paddies ( small - medium size) the actual measuremnts i have to reqeust or measure myself.

For the modification please let me know , i'd prefer tested knowledge instead doing a trail and error the comming 10 years and get the same conclusion ;) .
Kind regards,

Tora
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Re: Gonna need some help

Post by Tora »

Welcome to the forum.

I’m not a farmer but I have seen an increase in grass fed beef and free range chickens and eggs recently so that might be one angle to approach the market and at a slightly better price point. I think the professional farmers on here will be able to offer more information on marketing directly to customers vs going through middlemen like JA and so on.

I started hunting again a few years ago to take care of the large family of nuisance boats that moved into our area. Snare traps are the best way to efficiently take animals and get good quality meat in my opinion. I think I was too efficient as there seem to be no boars left in our area and I left wondering how I can justify the ¥15,000 I spent for the hunters license and mandatory insurance (joining the Japan hunters association seems to be the best way to get that). The test to get the hunter’s license is in overly complicated Japanese and about half of the test is pretty common sense and the remainder is questions relating to laws that seem to make no sense. The hunters association holds classes where they basically tell you what information will be on the test so you just have to memorize and regurgitate the information. If your Japanese isn’t up to the task, you COULD pro at have you wife get certified and accompany you when hunting but that seems like it would not be sustainable in most situations.

Bounties on animals vary by region and seem to reflect numbers and how much damage they pose to the crops grown in that area. Some people do seem to make a good income off of that. It does require significant commitment of time and effort to set, check daily , and maintain traps. I’ve figured out a few tricks for that and there are also sensors you can buy that send you a signal when a trap gets sprung but it would be more investment.

I do know professional hunters who butcher(ed) and market(ed) meat themselves but it will require an approved facility and certification to do so legally. I haven’t seen them in a while and I don’t see them posting daily updates on Instagram as they have in the past so I’m not sure if that means they have been negatively effected by the swine flu outbreak or what. The meat I butcher is probably better quality than anything from a supermarket but it would definitely NOT be legal :lol: some areas have started to build facilities to process wild game to be used by local hunters. It seems to be a type of cooperative facility in the examples I’ve seen but those groups can be very open or very closed to new members depending on the area. Getting to know hunters or old timers with a good understanding of the way things work will give you a better understanding of how things are in your locale.

Also, a recent outbreak of swine flu in the wild boar population has probably effected the market for boar meat due to restrictions on transport of the meat to prevent human spread of the disease to pig farms which would be disastrous for that industry. It’s not dangerous to people- just swine.

Let me know if you have other questions and I’ll offer what I can.

Sound556
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Re: Gonna need some help

Post by Sound556 »

Tora wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2023 11:36 am
Welcome to the forum.

I’m not a farmer but I have seen an increase in grass fed beef and free range chickens and eggs recently so that might be one angle to approach the market and at a slightly better price point. I think the professional farmers on here will be able to offer more information on marketing directly to customers vs going through middlemen like JA and so on.

I started hunting again a few years ago to take care of the large family of nuisance boats that moved into our area. Snare traps are the best way to efficiently take animals and get good quality meat in my opinion. I think I was too efficient as there seem to be no boars left in our area and I left wondering how I can justify the ¥15,000 I spent for the hunters license and mandatory insurance (joining the Japan hunters association seems to be the best way to get that). The test to get the hunter’s license is in overly complicated Japanese and about half of the test is pretty common sense and the remainder is questions relating to laws that seem to make no sense. The hunters association holds classes where they basically tell you what information will be on the test so you just have to memorize and regurgitate the information. If your Japanese isn’t up to the task, you COULD pro at have you wife get certified and accompany you when hunting but that seems like it would not be sustainable in most situations.

Bounties on animals vary by region and seem to reflect numbers and how much damage they pose to the crops grown in that area. Some people do seem to make a good income off of that. It does require significant commitment of time and effort to set, check daily , and maintain traps. I’ve figured out a few tricks for that and there are also sensors you can buy that send you a signal when a trap gets sprung but it would be more investment.

I do know professional hunters who butcher(ed) and market(ed) meat themselves but it will require an approved facility and certification to do so legally. I haven’t seen them in a while and I don’t see them posting daily updates on Instagram as they have in the past so I’m not sure if that means they have been negatively effected by the swine flu outbreak or what. The meat I butcher is probably better quality than anything from a supermarket but it would definitely NOT be legal :lol: some areas have started to build facilities to process wild game to be used by local hunters. It seems to be a type of cooperative facility in the examples I’ve seen but those groups can be very open or very closed to new members depending on the area. Getting to know hunters or old timers with a good understanding of the way things work will give you a better understanding of how things are in your locale.

Also, a recent outbreak of swine flu in the wild boar population has probably effected the market for boar meat due to restrictions on transport of the meat to prevent human spread of the disease to pig farms which would be disastrous for that industry. It’s not dangerous to people- just swine.

Let me know if you have other questions and I’ll offer what I can.

Thanks for the quick reply!
i'd say butchering your own meat tastes way better :lol: seeing what i can remember being sold in supermarkets :lol:
On a casual month what would be your boar and deer quota? spotting and shooting them.
kind regards

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Re: Gonna need some help

Post by Tora »

Sound556 wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2023 2:12 pm
Thanks for the quick reply!
i'd say butchering your own meat tastes way better :lol: seeing what i can remember being sold in supermarkets :lol:
On a casual month what would be your boar and deer quota? spotting and shooting them.
kind regards
I caught 10 or 12 boars within a 1/2km radius of my house in a little over a year without trying too hard by hunter standards. I try to keep my traps set up so I can check them in about 5 or 10 minutes on my way to or from work or taking out the trash or something like that. That kept our freezer stocked and took care of the invasion that had the neighbors scared out of their wits. There are no bounties and I have no interest in killing animals just cuz I want something to do.

We ate all the intruders in our neighborhood and I’m still wondering what I can do to get my money’s worth from the hunters’ tax and insurance I paid for this season.

I can hear deer up on the mountain across the river from our hamlet but haven’t found the motivation to go get one. Might be a project for January.

I don’t use a gun. When I trap a boar, I wrassel them some, hogtie them, bring them home alive, and off them in the most practical yet humane way I can just before butchering them.

All the professional hunters I know of use traps. Using a gun seems to be more of a pain than it’s worth for deer and boar unless you’re in an area with some more open country or you’re just in it for for the experience or image. I might want a gun if I was hunting bear. Owning a gun opens a whole other can of worms in terms of work and expense, too. I think there are some posts buy a (former?) Hunter on here. Might Look around on the Googles too. I’m often surprised by the Japan info people take the time to put on blogs and so on.

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Re: Gonna need some help

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Looks like @Tora has you covered on the hunting front and unless you have a lot of free time trapping is probably the best way forwards. You can get a gun if you need it but as he says it's a fairly time consuming process and probably best not attempted until you have been in an area for a while as there will be extensive police checks.

Now, on to farming. I haven't ever grown rice, I think @Logman does so maybe he can chip in. All I can say is that in our area most rice farmers do it as a part time job because their land isn't large enough to earn a living wage from, it's more like they are farming the family land to keep it in production. The people with larger plots also tend to grow vegetables as well to provide income through the year.

Free range animals is an option but you will need to contact your prefecture's animal health department. We have free range chickens for eggs and they get inspected several times a year. Our inspectors are strict but fair, mostly because we have never had an disease outbreak and are relatively isolated from other chicken farms and don't have the feed trucks coming to our farm, which I personally believe to be how disease moves between farms. The regulations state that our chicken's area has to be secured from wild birds (to protect from bird flu) so the whole area has to be fenced and netted and we have an electric fence to protect them from larger predators. You would have to do the same if you are raising meat birds, you can't slaughter and butcher them yourself if you are selling the meat. We've never kept anything larger than chickens but there are free range cow and pig farms in places with enough space so it's possible but I should imagine equipment costs will be quite expensive. There is a market for free range, you'd probably need to sell through someone like PAL System or Co-op, that's where we get our free range meat from.

I haven't ever seen crop rotation used in rice paddies, mostly they are left empty after harvest until planting next spring and even most conventional vegetable farms do little to no crop rotation. Maybe daikon one time followed by cabbage the next then back to daikon and repeat. We do rotate our crops but have also grown potatoes in the same spot for around 8 years now and have a variety that seems to shrug off any disease as it regrows from potatoes left unharvested.

Does the farm you are taking over come with a tractor and other equipment ? If not I have ours up for sale since we went no till :whistle:

Buying seeds and fertilisers is not going to be a problem. If your wife's family is in JA you will get them from there or there are specialised seed and fertiliser sellers within easy reach in the countryside plus home centres.

If you make the effort it is pretty easy to fit in with your neighbours and quite likely they will be more than happy to offer advice, all of ours have been incredibly friendly and helpful.

Finding customers depends on whether you plan to sell through JA, supermarkets or at farmer's markets and that will depend on what is available in your area. All those methods work but I haven't tried it in the area you are moving to so can't advise. There are a lot of Michi no Eki in Niigata so that may be an easy way to get started but they tend to have very cheap prices so we stopped selling at them in our area.

If you are farming organically you can't call your produce organic unless you have JAS certification.

Sound556
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Re: Gonna need some help

Post by Sound556 »

Tora wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2023 10:01 pm
Sound556 wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2023 2:12 pm
Thanks for the quick reply!
i'd say butchering your own meat tastes way better :lol: seeing what i can remember being sold in supermarkets :lol:
On a casual month what would be your boar and deer quota? spotting and shooting them.
kind regards
I caught 10 or 12 boars within a 1/2km radius of my house in a little over a year without trying too hard by hunter standards. I try to keep my traps set up so I can check them in about 5 or 10 minutes on my way to or from work or taking out the trash or something like that. That kept our freezer stocked and took care of the invasion that had the neighbors scared out of their wits. There are no bounties and I have no interest in killing animals just cuz I want something to do.

We ate all the intruders in our neighborhood and I’m still wondering what I can do to get my money’s worth from the hunters’ tax and insurance I paid for this season.

I can hear deer up on the mountain across the river from our hamlet but haven’t found the motivation to go get one. Might be a project for January.

I don’t use a gun. When I trap a boar, I wrassel them some, hogtie them, bring them home alive, and off them in the most practical yet humane way I can just before butchering them.

All the professional hunters I know of use traps. Using a gun seems to be more of a pain than it’s worth for deer and boar unless you’re in an area with some more open country or you’re just in it for for the experience or image. I might want a gun if I was hunting bear. Owning a gun opens a whole other can of worms in terms of work and expense, too. I think there are some posts buy a (former?) Hunter on here. Might Look around on the Googles too. I’m often surprised by the Japan info people take the time to put on blogs and so on.
Thanks for the info!
Seeing the information about hunting costs and the exams that follow suite. I'd geuss ill start with a trapping license and see if i can do cullings/pest controll or meat hunts. I dont feel joy or pride from killing an animal without a reason behind it though i do enjoy ''the hunt' and the feeling of being part of the actual food chain. In NZ im hunting with dogs and a knife which is very efficient is such practise allowed in japan aswell? otherwise its gonna be trapping and shooting in a couple of years.
For a follow up question have you ever tried tanning or such? other wise when i settle in japan i'd love to take those hides of your hands.

Sound556
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Re: Gonna need some help

Post by Sound556 »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2023 8:58 am
Looks like @Tora has you covered on the hunting front and unless you have a lot of free time trapping is probably the best way forwards. You can get a gun if you need it but as he says it's a fairly time consuming process and probably best not attempted until you have been in an area for a while as there will be extensive police checks.

Now, on to farming. I haven't ever grown rice, I think @Logman does so maybe he can chip in. All I can say is that in our area most rice farmers do it as a part time job because their land isn't large enough to earn a living wage from, it's more like they are farming the family land to keep it in production. The people with larger plots also tend to grow vegetables as well to provide income through the year.

Free range animals is an option but you will need to contact your prefecture's animal health department. We have free range chickens for eggs and they get inspected several times a year. Our inspectors are strict but fair, mostly because we have never had an disease outbreak and are relatively isolated from other chicken farms and don't have the feed trucks coming to our farm, which I personally believe to be how disease moves between farms. The regulations state that our chicken's area has to be secured from wild birds (to protect from bird flu) so the whole area has to be fenced and netted and we have an electric fence to protect them from larger predators. You would have to do the same if you are raising meat birds, you can't slaughter and butcher them yourself if you are selling the meat. We've never kept anything larger than chickens but there are free range cow and pig farms in places with enough space so it's possible but I should imagine equipment costs will be quite expensive. There is a market for free range, you'd probably need to sell through someone like PAL System or Co-op, that's where we get our free range meat from.

I haven't ever seen crop rotation used in rice paddies, mostly they are left empty after harvest until planting next spring and even most conventional vegetable farms do little to no crop rotation. Maybe daikon one time followed by cabbage the next then back to daikon and repeat. We do rotate our crops but have also grown potatoes in the same spot for around 8 years now and have a variety that seems to shrug off any disease as it regrows from potatoes left unharvested.

Does the farm you are taking over come with a tractor and other equipment ? If not I have ours up for sale since we went no till :whistle:

Buying seeds and fertilisers is not going to be a problem. If your wife's family is in JA you will get them from there or there are specialised seed and fertiliser sellers within easy reach in the countryside plus home centres.

If you make the effort it is pretty easy to fit in with your neighbours and quite likely they will be more than happy to offer advice, all of ours have been incredibly friendly and helpful.

Finding customers depends on whether you plan to sell through JA, supermarkets or at farmer's markets and that will depend on what is available in your area. All those methods work but I haven't tried it in the area you are moving to so can't advise. There are a lot of Michi no Eki in Niigata so that may be an easy way to get started but they tend to have very cheap prices so we stopped selling at them in our area.

If you are farming organically you can't call your produce organic unless you have JAS certification.
Thanks for the info!

For the way i keep animals : ive always used synergy with the land for grazing to make sure you dont over or under graze your pastures/feedlots.
My idea was : harvesting rice and place mobile electric fencing for pigs with feeding them green food instead of grain. Giving them a better life style with a more emphasise on keeping them inform instead of 100% effiecent meat production aka factory pigs. before the pigs there will be meat chickens on 'chicken tractors' making sure there is natural tilling and the run away rice grains get caught and used.

For local biodiversity im planning on starting a small apiary aswell seeing there is no beekeepers nearby nor any effort to boost the native pollonators. (bumble bee or carpenter bee would be fantastic on every farm)

For the veggies what would be a nice starter? im not sure if i caught on the japanese preffered veggies but i know kabuchan and nasu are extremely populair. Also which fruit trees would be a wise investment? i was planning on some grapes but theres way too much snowfall for them to make it through and make it efficient.

For the equipment sadly the father in law sold allot of stuff already and im gonna use my savings to pimp up the farm from its short comming and make it more effecient.

If you have pictures of the tractor let me know ( cant promise too soon seeing we have alot of costs comming up and i cant really calculate how much im needing to invest)

For the pricing this year im not concerned to make top dollar i will ofcourse try but seeing how rundown the place is im more focussed on resurrecting the native vedge and the checking and improving the soil numbers/needs. But how was your experience starting with those? did it run as imagined or allot of times you got the short end of the stick?
Kind regards,

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Re: Gonna need some help

Post by Tora »

Sound556 wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2023 1:07 pm

Thanks for the info!
Seeing the information about hunting costs and the exams that follow suite. I'd geuss ill start with a trapping license and see if i can do cullings/pest controll or meat hunts. I dont feel joy or pride from killing an animal without a reason behind it though i do enjoy ''the hunt' and the feeling of being part of the actual food chain. In NZ im hunting with dogs and a knife which is very efficient is such practise allowed in japan aswell? otherwise its gonna be trapping and shooting in a couple of years.
For a follow up question have you ever tried tanning or such? other wise when i settle in japan i'd love to take those hides of your hands.
Never met anyone crazy enough to try to run a boar down and go at it with a knife and don’t know what the law is on that. They are extremely big, strong, fast, smart, and aggressive when they want/need to be. The first and biggest one I took was likely 130-150 kg (maybe more?) of mean old boar. When we went to take care of that boar, my 70 year old neighbor showed up with a survival knife he bought decades ago and tried to talk me into going Rambo on the “BEAST” :lol:

Those boars are bad news if they get ahold of you and you are highly likely to enter the food chain in an unpleasant manner with one mistake or miscalculation. They can break leg bones with one bite and have been known to kill people.

This spring, about 100meters from my house, one young, smaller male attacked and bit 2 fingers off of an unlucky old lady out for her afternoon walk just cuz he was upset about the results of his recent disagreement with another boar (probably a territorial dispute or something like that). I caught him shortly after that about 10-20 meters from the scene of the attack. The struggle to subdue a pissed off boar who wants to kill an eat me is sufficient ‘thrill of the hunt’ for me. I do it for the meat and to keep my family safe. I’d rather go surfing.

I used to be interested in tanning- I’ve definitely got a steady supply of hardwood ash and a brain tanned hide is quite nice- but I don’t really need any more unprofitable, time consuming things on my plate to make Wifey shake her head in disbelief/disgust/regret right now.

I probably couldn’t send you any of my hides for the reason I mentioned in a previous post but I’m sure local hunters would be happy to have you take them off of their hands. Disposal of remains after butchering and animal is a serious problem.
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