relocating to MO possibly : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hey Everybody! My wife and I are contemplating a move. We were thinking of relocating to MO and wanted some outside opinions. We have been looking in the southern MO area. We are interested in buying a farm and raising beef cattle, the kids and the usual misc. livestock. My question is how are the schools, people, weather, soils, prices etc.. thanks for any input!

-- steve (, September 06, 2000


Grew up in SE Mo. Food is great if you like Country Kitchen style and eat meat. If you are a vege and/or like world cuisine, head for bigger cities like St. Louis, et al. Prices low unless you live in the country, then they charge what they can get cause you have to drive 30 miles to get it cheaper. Plan ahead for big "town" trips. Schools are adequate. No more, no less. The Poplar Bluff School System had one of the best bands in the state, but 60 miles away, my cousin had to drive into the Bluff for math classes at the local comm. coll as she needed one more math credit to grad. HS but the math teacher had reached her teaching limit in the previous class, and the band teacher had the job because she was the only one on staff who could play anything. Job market blows chunks unless you wanna be a truck driver or a nurse. Plan to make less and get by on less. Social services is a joke, I've been on it and my sister works in it. Irony of the day: she was on the welfare to work plan and to get off of welfare, they gave her a job as a social worker in the welfare to work program. Basic services ok, many gravel roads, even on "highways". Very hard to find your way around in the "outback", don't rely on the maps to be accurate. Not a lot of adult entertainment, in any sense of the phrase, naughty or otherwise, unless you're near Branson or a big city. Need more, e-mail me, be happy to help.

-- Soni (, September 06, 2000.

We moved to SW MO (Monett) 2 months ago from CA. From what I've seen prices are excellent! Homes, cars, food, clothes, gas etc. has all been much cheaper from what I'm use to paying. You should check out for a price comparison in your area. The only thing I seen that is the same is the fast food (shame on us).

I was suprised at how nice the people are here. I had people from work lend me TV's, furniture and help me move in with out me saying a word. I could not believe it! From what I hear the schools around here are good, but that is not saying much since CA is the 2nd worst in the nation. If you want to raise cattle, this is the place to be. That is about all you will see out here, animal wise. A few horses and sheep. I have yet to see a pig even at the Ozark Fair. The weather has been 90-100 degrees with 20-30 percent humity. My co-workers say that is unsualy hot for this time of year. I also hear that it does not snow much but it gets down to -10 in the winter. The ice is a bigger problem here I guess.

If you have any other questions feel free to e-mail netorcs@mo- I will answer the best that I can, if you do not mind learning along with us.

Good Luck, Iron Man

-- Iron Man (, September 06, 2000.

Here is a post about Ozark soil I just stumbled on at www.egroups/group/Ozark-homestead.

Most of my soil is a silt-clay with rocks and gravel. Oddly enough, for all the rocks and gravel, there is little sand. If I could crush the gravel and mix the resulting sand back in I would eventually have a very nice loam.

I had my neighbor come over a year ago with his tractor and dig a trench where I wanted my garden. This spring I filled the trench in with layers of old sawdust and the subsoil that was dug out of the trench. Most of the original topsoil is still at the bottom of the pile of extra soil. There wasn't a whole lot of difference between the top soil and subsoil anyhow. It was a lot of work, and I should have used more sawdust, but I have a pretty good raised bed considering how played out the original soil was. This area had been farmed with about the worst techniques possible until it was nearly useless. It's sat vacant for nearly 50 years and still hadn't recovered. Since it's a silt-clay (ignoring the rocks and gravel, it's about 40% silt, 60% clay) the tilth and drainage aren't bad, but it needs a lot of organic matter added. It was also very acid: pH 4.3 to 4.5. With that low of pH, it's hard to tell what the real Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) levels are. With the low organic content it's obvious that the Nitrogen (N) levels are low. Fixing the pH will add Calcium (C) and help make more P and K available. Adding organic matter will help build up the N. When I filled in the trench, I picked out most of the larger rocks and sifted the top couple of inches through a 1/2 inch hardware cloth. It was a lot of work, but I'll benefit from it for the rest of my life. After I pull what little is still growing in it (some daikon radishes, a tiny bit of mustard greens, some small beets and some peanuts) I'll mulch it down good for the winter and hope more worms find it.

Eventually I'll use this raised bed for root crops and other plants that really need loose soil. I'm about to mulch a larger area and let it set over the winter. That area I hope to never till or plow in any way. It will eventually be my main garden.

There are other parts of my land that must have been left wooded or maybe pasture instead of croplands. In the played-out area I have switchbroom and other weeds, small to medium pines and cedars. It at the far end of the flat area I have large hardwoods (mostly oak and hickory) with some larger pine and cedar. The area under the hardwoods has much better, but still rocky, soil. My driveway cuts through what had been the neighbor's pasture. There is some pretty good soil there.

One thing I liked about this place: Generations ago some poor souls picked all the larger rocks out of my fields. They are stacked along what had once been a road and a few other piles scattered here and there. The only things had to deal with in the garden were no bigger than a double fist.

Most of the commercial farming here is cattle, mostly beef but some dairy. The rocks don't bother pasture much. For a home garden, raised beds make so much more sense anyhow that the rocks will only be a problem when you make a new bed.

Since I have such varied soil just on the 25 acres of flat-enough-to- use land, you can guess how varied the soil is throughout the Ozarks. The guy that dug the hole for my house said his last job was putting in a pond in bottom land. He said that place had 3 or 4 feet of rich black soil and no rocks before he hit clay.

When I was looking for land, I decided as long as I had any soil to work with it would be just about as easy, though a bit slower, to plan on building it up as it would be to find the ideal soil. If I was going to put in a truck farm, that plan wouldn't have worked. There were some places I looked at that had ads saying "flat open land" that were cedar glades' that looked like old parking lots. There was no soil at all and the only thing that grew there were some stunted cedars and weeds growing in the cracks. Other places had at least some nice soil, but were steep enough that it would have needed terracing to keep it in the garden. There was one place mostly in pasture that had rich soil with a lot of gravel. It didn't have enough trees for me though.

In short: You can find just about any soil type you want, but it may take some looking. Plan on having a mediocre garden for the first year or two as you build the soil up. That would be true for anyplace that the past owners didn't have a good garden just about anywhere in the country.

You can't compete with the commercial growers in California, Florida and south of the border on a large scale with common vegetables, but a niche market and home garden are certainly doable in this area.

There are people on this list that have been here far longer than I have. I'd like to hear their opinion too.

-- Iron Man (, September 06, 2000.

I suppose everyones perception of the area where they live is a little different. My family and I have lived in Southeast Missouri all our lives too, a few miles from the Mississippi river. Most of the land here is rolling hills with bottom land around the creeks. A lot of cattle are raised here as well as row crops such as soy beans and corn.

Land here around the larger towns such as Cape Girardeau has gotten really expensive, but in the more rural areas west of here, prices are still reasonable.

It is fairly hot and humid in the summer- 90's, and some pretty cold winters with some snow and ice.

People are friendly for the most part with some clannishness in the smaller towns. jobs are fairly plentiful in the Perryville, Cape Girardeau and Jackson areas. Schools are good , although drugs are a problem here too. Cape Girardeau is home to Southeast Missouri State University, a vocational school, and a business school. There are junior colleges in the area too.

Toward the ozarks form here there is a lot of state owned land with deer and turkey hunting. We coon hunt with our hounds in the hills and the creek bottoms.

I hope this gives you a little feel for this part of the state. e mail and further questions.


-- Mona (, September 07, 2000.

i was born in s.w. missouri 36 yrs. ago. i grew up traveling the southern united states, spending the summers back here in mo. when my son was born 7 years ago down in florida, we made plans to move back here. the people are great and for being in the bible belt (no offense to anyone) they are very fair and openminded for the most part. where i live, in the ozark mountains, the earth is very rocky (they call us rock farmers) but fertile at the same time. we run horses and they are happy and healthy. we garden for at least 20% of our vegi produce. it is a very self sustaining area of the country. tho i reckon any place is if you know how to work it. my son is homeschooled so i don't know much about the public school systems, tho i have doutbs as to any of them anywhere being good for our kids. i can say that after much research, missouri has some of the best home school laws in the nation. as for prices, like i said before, i have lived many places in the southern u.s. and mo. is at least competetive and usually cheaper. you can always find a good bargain, especially with barter. the weather here is fairly even, hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but rarely to the extremes. however the weather has and is changing so much one can never tell. i heard one of our local weathermen say last year, that they can't really predict the weather anymore, they just tell you what's going on right now. lol land prices here are also very good, i have helped several people buy land here, in florida, georga and texas. in searching for them i found that hands down, missouri had the best land and prices. well i guess that's about enough rambling for now. missouri is a beautiful, bountiful place and i don't want to see it over run or used and abused anymore, for that matter i don't want to see that happen anywhere, so where ever you end up, respect what's there and you'll do just fine. good luck and blessings

-- juli (, September 11, 2000.

My advice would be go check it out thoroughly before moving there. I spent my entire childhood in DeSoto, MO (60 miles South of St. Louis). I left when I was 18 and have only gone back for very brief visits. Everyone's preceptions are different and depending on where you are moving from, it could be better or worse. It also depends on what you are looking for. You have to thoroughly check it out. You could not pay me to live anywhere in MO but that is because I have grown use to wilderness areas and wide open spaces. After spending most of my adult life in Alaska, the rest of the world seems to crowded to me.

I spent 10+ years in a town of 300 people in Alaska and loved it. We moved away last fall and spent the winter working in Colorado. We did not like Colorado at all (even though it was very beautiful, land was much to expensive.) We enjoy mountains and forest and so we recently moved to Northwest Montana. However, we knew when we moved here that there was little to no work and we have incurred a lot of debt, so we had to make the choice of living here and my husband going back to Colorado to work until we get some of our debt paid off. Don't make a move lightly. Look into all the details. Some things I have learned from personal experience:

1. Check out the price of Real Estate. Don't just look on the internet, but actually contact a realtor and visit some of the places in person.

2. Check out the schools in person and talk to other parents who have kids in the system (unless you are going to homeschool).

3. If you are going to homeschool, find out if the area is "homeschool friendly". (The area we were in in Colorado was not)

4. If attending religious services are of importance to you, check them out in person. Just because the religious institution has the same label you are use to on the door, does not mean that they are the same as what you are use to.

5. Check out the job situation. The area we are living in now has a 16% unemployment rate. I have never gone without a job before. In fact, I have always had people come to me and ask me to work for them. Here, I can't pay someone to give me a job.

6. I would also suggest that if you are going to make a major move like this, that you consider renting for 6 months to a year so that you can get a feel for the area and know if and where exactly you would like to buy property. Once you are part of a community, it is much easier to find property for sale through individuals, which is usually cheaper than going through a real estate agent.

Good Luck!

-- Tammy Hall (, September 12, 2000.

Hello, and comtemplate the Southeast Missouri area. Jackson is a great area to raise kids, and cattle. The schools are excellent and a great football town. The local game between Jackson and Cape is the highlight of living here. People are like anywhere just smile. The weather is nice. Churches and parks are beautiful. Good luck and pray where the Lord shall have your family to go. God speed.

-- Mona Sander (, May 06, 2002.

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