How to Start a Farm: Tips for a New Farmer
For farmers all over the world, their career is a way to pursue their passion while making a living. If you're trying to get started, check out these tips about how to start a farm.
How important are farms in the United States?
As it turns out, more than 97% of all farms in the country are family businesses. They make out the backbone of the agricultural industry, meaning that without them, there will be food shortages across the country and other problems.
With the right strategy, you could earn a lot with a successful farm.
However, if you don't even know the different specialty equipment you can use, you might be at a loss as to how to start a farm. It's a real concern since farming is really difficult, more so if you want to do it as a living. Here are some tips you can use:
1. Avoid Getting Into Debt
This is the first thing that you always have to remember if you want to start farming. Debt tanked more farms than other natural disasters like droughts, plagues, and pestilence. Farmers aren't immune to the debilitating debt that you can suffer as an average citizen, especially if you're around 45-54 years old since this age bracket carries the most debt.
There are a lot of farmers out there who abandoned their dreams once banks started calling them out. While debt is helpful in accomplishing your goals, always remember that it can never buy the most important farming asset of all: experience. But that doesn't mean you can never get into debt since there are lots of times when leveraging your assets is necessary.
The only time you should get into debt is when you gain enough farming experience. By this time, you probably have a steadier cash flow for your farming business. So, before this happens, never get into debt.
2. Identify Your Market
Before you even plant the first seed in your farmland, always take your target market into consideration. Take a lot of time identifying the place where you can sell your products as well as the people who will buy it and how you'll produce it. After this brainstorming session, make sure that you create backup plans since you'll most likely need them all.
Small farmers spend a lot of time and effort when finding their customers. Finding the right sales channels is as important as growing your produce. If you don't find the right means of selling your product fast enough, you suffer due to the fact that it won't stay fresh for long.
For example, when you plant watermelons, all of them will mature at the same time. Once they do, you need a place to sell them off as soon as possible. Make sure that you have a solid marketing plan prepared in advance.
3. Match Your Land to Its Suited Use
Never force your dreams onto the land. Always try working with what nature gave you since it's more costly for you to learn it the hard way. Consider your farm's landscape and check the type of wild animals that thrive there and make a correlation with their domestic counterparts.
For example, if wild turkeys, deer, and cottontail rabbits flourish in your farmland, there is a high possibility that you can raise free-range chickens and cattle without issues. What this means is that you can never raise free-range ducks, especially if your land is a prime spot for pasture. You might end up ruining your farm since they need to be near water, not out on pastures.
Stand back for a long while and consider your landscape. Doing so can help you accomplish successful farming and realize your dreams.
4. Set Reasonable Goals
Even if you're an overachiever, always know that starting a farm should come with realistic goals. While aiming big can become a passion, don't turn it into an obsession. It's okay if your farm doesn't feed the entire state--supplying your local market is already enough.
Don't get obsessed with the number of dollars you earn. As long as you're paying your bills and you're well-fed, you're doing great as a farmer. As such, it's okay if you want to take some time off working and have fun doing other activities that you like, whether it's reading a book or partying with friends.
Burnout is one of the leading causes of failure in farming. The work is taxing in terms of the physical sense and its emotional demands are unique. Always find your own pace and work on it as years go by.
Envision a half-century career and set yearly goals that will get you there at a reasonable pace. Check in with your mental and emotional state often. Don't fall into the trap of overworking yourself--make sure to go out there and have fun.
5. Get a Mentor and Surround Yourself with Professionals
If you have family members who dabble in commercial farming, tap into their knowledge. Otherwise, you might want to join an association and ask more established farmers for farming advice. Always attend learning sessions while remaining vigilant for more information that you can use as an asset for your farming business.
Often, you might get scared of the cost of hiring professionals. But in doing so, you increase your chances of success. Don't hesitate and hire crop consultants, marketing consultants, nutritionists, veterinarians, other experts to help on your farm.
Do your research to get ahold of the more reputable ones. Doing this ensures you get what you pay for. Cheap advice often won't get you the best value, so consider getting expert aid.
Learn How to Start a Farm Today!
If you want to start on a micro scale first before you commit, you might want to try hobby farming. It gives you valuable experience especially if you have no background in farming at all. Before planting an acre's worth of vegetables, you can plant a small patch and learn from the problems and issues that arise.
With enough time, you develop the right skills on how to start a farm at a commercial level.
Do you need farming equipment and other farming supplies? Contact us today and we'll help you get started with the right tools and means to become a successful farmer.