A friend of mine has a really smart 14 year old boy who wanted to make summer money. In my youth, almost everybody still made square bale hay, and a boy could make a bit of money helping put up hay throughout the summer. Round balers put an end to much of that by reducing labor needs.
My friend had a underutilized square baler, and an ambitious son. So he:
- Gave him use of 8 acres fields around the homestead.
- Staked him an advance for fuel, fertilizer, and twine.
- Set him up with a checking account.
- Watched to make sure he was safe with the equipment.
- Turned him loose.
Since we decided not to try make our own hay anymore for a few cows, this work great for us. I have already bought 118 bales from him, and intend to buy another 200 or so. If weather holds and he works hard, he will make better money than any fast food job. He is more independent than other teenage jobholders, as he does not need his mom and dad to haul him to work.He has no boss besides his father's veto on safety. He is also learning a about money management, dealing with customers, forage quality, and safety, and decisions about how much to cut, how much to sell off the field at a lower price and how much to store in the barn for later sale.
I asked him if he was becoming a farmer, or he is just a capitalist. He is not sure whether he likes the hard work as much as the money! Either way, the young man will be better ready for the "real world" than most urban college graduates.