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Simple answer: income greater than expenses and needed reserves. Makes running a beef ranch seem simple.This was the problem I encountered when I took over farming. Most (and we still do, at this point) maintain a second job away from the farm. Because (as "everybody conventionally knows") you keep farming until the money runs out. It's that second job which pays the costs of farming when the crop doesn't.It's the commoditized base of farming which is keeping dirt-poor farmers dirt-poor.