Homesteading’s best state depends on many factors, and might not be the same for everyone. Every state has advantages and disadvantages, so what’s right for you will depend on how the individual pros and disadvantages you rank. I’d never suggest homesteading in Alaska for example; it’s far too cold for me. Yet my son loves it there and plenty of people in the state are successfully homesteading.
But I decided to look first at the variables I am looking for in a homesteading area to assess the best states for homesteading. You may not agree with my ranking, that’s OK. For the one perfect piece of property, we do not want to be vying against each other. Here are some of the considerations I consider most relevant when selecting your place of homesteading.
Good Soil and Easy Access to Water
This seems obvious, but I was trying to build a homestead on hard Texas clay once. Without considering the quality of the land, I had chosen a house with land. For that garden, it was hard digging and my vegetables were scant, and often misfits. Check the soil around the property in several ways and consider whether water is available near the garden spot and where you might want animals. Check the water quality as well, and consider getting it checked.
The history of the land is another thing to find out. An environmental assessment will inform you if it has any environmental threats related to previous use. You don’t want to be gardening on a hazardous waste site that was once. You will find this unusual but it happens more frequently than you would expect.
You need mild weather and a long growing season if you wish to grow all your crops. I think USDA Hardiness Zone 7 is a decent cutoff to me. Lower areas can still be farmed but due to the shorter growing season you will need more ground.
Most plants die back in mid-summer due to the sun, but many plants survive even then. Although the garden is growing well, the heat can seem intolerable to humans and animals.
Southern states are getting more sun and colder, while coastal land benefits from ocean breezes’ moderating effects but typically have higher humidity.
Remote Location or a Low Population Density
Homesteads can be found in a big city’s suburbs; however, most of the prepping homesteaders are looking for a remoter spot. A remote location may SHTF insulate you from many social concerns, but it can also hinder your access to emergency treatment or assistance when you need it. If you choose a remote area, take care to build a good relationship with your neighbors, you can rely on their skills and your own.
You could choose a place in a state with low population density, rather than a remote area. Living close to a small town has many of the city’s benefits, while also giving you protection from the desperate masses.
Related: The Best Fowls to Raise for SHTF
Find a Community of Like-Minded People
Perhaps the most important thing is to find a location you like where you are a part of. You belong because you love the area, but because you have a lot in common with the group as well. You can end up being the odd-man out if you don’t share common beliefs and ideologies with your neighbors.
You’ll need to work together with your neighbors to survive in a SHTF situation. If they don’t trust you or feel you’re not their “kind,” the connection can never be formed. You may be shunned on some particular topic because of your views or your beliefs. Get to know your neighbors before you go buy.
My Thoughts on The Best States for Homesteading
The best home-growing state is relatively personal, and depends on our personal likes and dislikes. However, from my point of view, I will be discussing the pros and cons of many states. Maybe you’ll have other areas of concern or reasons to select a given state. If so, leave me a comment below that tells me why you like your state, or don’t like mine.
States with Fertile Land, Easy Access to Water, and Moderate Temperatures
Oregon and Washington have fertile land, plenty of rain, and temperatures that are mild, placing them high on the list for farmers and some homesteaders. Still, because of their high concentration of liberal voters, I’d think carefully before I locate in these states. It’s only a matter of time before these states enact legislation against harvesting rainwater or other legislation that may not be welcoming to homesteaders. That may not be your culture, unless you are like-minded.
There are also mild temperatures in Virginia, Iowa and Tennessee, fertile land and plenty of rain. Most farmers are capable of growing good crops, and raising livestock. Land is priced reasonably, and the density of the population is favorable for the homesteaders. Here you can find new farmers, as well as seasoned farmers.
States with Warm Winters and Long Growing Seasons
The southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and eastern parts of Oklahoma enjoy mild winters, fertile land and generous rain fall. However, The summers can be hot, hot, hot. You’ll enjoy a long growing season, if you can work in the heat and humidity.
Choose your land carefully because some areas are prone to flooding and others are swampy during some months of the year.
Moderate Temperatures, Good Soil and Rainfall
In South Carolina and Georgia, the summers are a little more pleasant than in the steamier southern states. The summer is still sunny, but the moderate humidity (inland) makes a lot of difference. First frost is usually about October or November so with a mild winter, you’ll enjoy a long growing season. Some places have rich black soil, while others have rocky clay, and some are still sandy so check your soil before you buy. Prices and taxes for land in South Carolina and Georgia are extremely acceptable in most regions.
Make Sure You Have the Basics
But I don’t agree with New Mexico and Arizona appearing on many homestead lists. For me, the deal breaker is the lack of easily available water.
They enjoy the cheap soil and warm weather, but growing your own food without water is difficult. Many people truck in their water but it may not be as easy in a SHTF situation.
Which State is On Your List?
If your preferred state isn’t on the list, don’t worry. My own preferences for warm weather and inexpensive land color this list, but there’s no reason you can’t homestead anywhere.
Every state has its own challenges and benefits, so it depends a lot on your level of skill and how much land you can afford. Let me know your preferences below.