Good Morning- Over the past 72 hours, I have been spitballing the idea of looking into starting a small tree farm in the near-ish future (2-5 years). I am listing some info below to help readers understand my situation & likely issues I'd encounter. I'd like some guidance from anyone with applicable experience: 1. I'm 27, got married this summer. Wife and I decided we'd like to have a child in about 2 years. We also decided we need to be in our own place by then, as we are currently renting (cheap) from a family member. I would like to move onto some land, and she isn't opposed. I'm currently working out of our home (.5 acre residential lot) and bustin at the gills with equipment and all lol (fortunately, all my neighbors like me). I want a house on 5-25 acres (or more) to have a shop to work from, as my business is steadily growing. Land would need a well or full-time stream. 2. Because I want some land, I have been interested in "farming" something. I come from a family of gardeners, not (recent) farmers though. I want to focus on my landscape business, not trying to grow the "big 3", as I have no knowledge of crop farming, etc. With my interest in horticulture, it would make more sense to work with something I know. I am not interested in growing seasonal color, as those markets are served (and under-priced) here, and I'm not interested in growing 1-7 gal shrubs, etc, as I think it's more of the same like the annual business. Also, growing material in flats or small buckets is very labor-intensive. This leads me to a smaller field-grown tree operation. 3. Readers who peruse multiple boards here on LS will notice I've been asking questions about tree spades. While I know there is a large difference in a field-production B&B-type truncated spade (skid-mount) and one used for moving more mature tree stock, I have been looking into a tow-behind or possible truck-mount unit. It would be nice to have a spade for nursery as well as landscape operations. 4. Here in AL, to get a nurseryman's license, you need the same licensing as a landscaper + pay an extra $50 for nurseryman's and get inspected yearly. 5. My mentor, with whom I do irrigation work frequently, was a 3rd gen nurseryman. He sold out of the landscaping & greenhouse/retail business for some really nice $$$ before the bubble burst in '08, and has repeatedly said he thinks he would be bankrupt today with the way the market tanked, etc. I think ornamental trees, being a longer-game investment compared to the retail seasonal color business, would be more insulated (with its own inherent set of pitfalls). 6. While a tree farm would obviously require care 12 months a year, the majority of the big-labor work would occur when our landscaping business would be slower. Pruning and digging mostly occurs in the months when I'm doing the least amount of landscaping (late Dec-Feb). Ideally I'd try to specialize in #1 specimen-quality material rather than volume sales of lower-quality trees, as the profit-per-unit would be greater. 7. Return on investment will take some years. The landscape business would have to support the tree growing until trees are ready to harvest. Obviously there will be a big learning curve, unforeseen problems and losses, etc. SO- If I wanted land and wanted the farming tax benefits, I might could justify purchasing some land to grow ornamental trees (on the higher end of the 5-25 acre range). Some of these trees could be sold to/used in my business, and also sell to area re-wholesalers and nurseries. I have no interest in retail business. I'm going to talk to the 2 main wholesalers I buy from and see what they have to say. Requirements that I can think of: -on-site water (can't justify county water expense) -enough land to make it economically feasible to grow material (this will have to be researched) -soil profile that would support tree production -equipment to maintenance and dig said trees -licensing -network with nurseries to market my products (optional)- ability to offer delivery to nurseries What else am I missing? Has anyone started a similar operation?