I cant help you with any studies on this suject, but I can give you some ideas of
what I have seen work in my area that you might want to explore furthur.
CSA's take a very small land base. Most people would say you need to be near
your market, but I have a friend who runs a CSA and most of the subscribers
live 200 miles away. They (thesubscribers) get to come "out to the farm" for
one weekend visit and the various festivals. While their there, they get to
haul the food back with them. It work great and it put the city people in touch
with where the food comes from and a non urban way of life. My friends do this
on a part-time basis, and are able to make about $10,000 gross off of 1 acre +/-.
Their only equipment is a roto-tiller and hiring a tracor for a couple of hours per year.
Also, it is a gauranteed market, you get the money up front.
Goat dairies are able to also make very high returns per acre. $4000 per acre would
not be unrealistic if you were buying you concentrates and raising forage. Also where
a cow will return 2 times it s purchase price the first year, a doe would be close
to 6 times. Of course you would have to be sure of your market, and this would be a
very labor intense operation.
Another option would be rotational grazing of stocker cattle. In our area, good land,
5 ton alfalfa, has the potential to run 2.5 head per acre with good managment. On 40
acres this would be 100 head. The labor would be minimal with good fences. Maybe 1/2
hour per day with the exception of receiving, treating, etc. A friend of mine who does
this is able to clear an average of $75-$90 per head after all cost including labor.
This is also a very high return on ivestment enterprize.
Hope this has helped some. Let me know if you have any questions or comments