So, You Want To Be A Farmer?

As a child, we are often asked what we would like to be when we grow up. Some children voice wishes to be a firefighter, a nurse, a vet. Then there are those who voice the wish to be on the land and raising their own farm. It’s not one of the responses that many children give, but those children grow up and still have a passion for being in the outdoors raising crops and animals for profits. It’s time now to do something about that passion, and begin your own farm. Farming is often overlooked, but did you know that the world needs farmers in a big way? There is an article here that you can read that tells us you can likely find more bus drivers than farmers in the USA. Food is one of the biggest factors in our lives – obviously. Without it, we cannot eat and we need farmers on our side to provide us that food with their crops and animals. The fact we need food means we need people who are intelligent, compassionate and determined enough to grow it for us. And that’s where you come in.

The type of farm you choose to begin will largely depend on you. There are those that are solely crop based and then there are others that are for animals. Some of those animal farms aren’t used for food, but for showcase purposes. You can find information on horse properties for sale online and in local papers. You should choose the type of farm you want to run before you start writing a huge plan, as things from funding to business success will depend on your business plan. When you aim to pursue your farming dream, you should be aware of what you are taking on and what you need to know. We’ve put together some rules for starting a farm to help you on your way to farming greatness. Granted, not every single rule will apply to your ideas, but it will help you to have a starting off point!

Rule 1: Be Smart About Debts.

Every business should follow this rule, really, but in farming it is especially important. In the past few decades, farming has largely been put down by the crippling debts that accumulate. Farmers are not immune to the economy and growing food and raising animals is a risky and expensive business. Borrowing from banks and business angels may be a great way to push ahead with your farming dream, but it’s also a good way to be left in the mud when things go pear shaped. There will be times you need to buy on credit and take on debt, it’s almost unavoidable unless you have a wonderful inheritance or trust fund to take from. But as you gain cash flow traction in your business you should be able to minimize this debt and move forward.

Rule 2: Be OK With Failing.

Failing is one of the scariest parts of farm ownership, but for most it is also an inevitability. Sometimes, failure can put you on the right track and in farming, things aren’t always consistent. Prices change, disease happens, animals die and climate change means crops can be absolutely ruined along with your financial year. You need to anticipate failure as par for the course, learn from it and grow from it. When it happens to you, and it’s likely that it will, you need to take it in your stride and keep your chin up. Move forward, one wellington in front of the other, and make it work again. And again.

Rule 3: Know Your Market.

Before you even get your farming idea off the ground (or in it), you need to know your audience. You could have wild dreams of sheep shearing, but if you don’t have the audience or the demand for wool, how are you going to make it work? This is where you need to take the time to research, research and research some more. Finding your customers is going to be your key to success as they will be your cash flow and the ones putting food on your own table. Once you’ve found your market, clamp down on it and make it happen.

Rule 4: Use Your Land Wisely.

The land you would use to raise horses and other animals is going to differ from the land you would use for wheat production. If you want to raise sheep alongside ducks, be aware of how the animals live and how they adapt the land to suit them. Ducks love things to be waterlogged, sheep? Not so much! There is no use buying land that is going to end up a waterlogged mess all because you forgot to raise your ducks near a watering hole. Don’t make that mistake; think wisely.

Rule 5: Grow Things You Like.

You’re going to cater to the public for the most part, but if you are in love with tomatoes, make sure you grow tomatoes. As much as you should be getting a tidy profit from your farm customers, you should ensure that you grow things that you love, so that you can enjoy your own wares. Your hard work has to pay off for you in more than just profit and early starts in the morning. There’s a perfectly good BLT just waiting for you to add to.

Farming isn’t for the faint of heart. You could want to be a farmer all you like, but if you’re going to be put off by early mornings and getting your hands dirty, then it certainly isn’t the right thing for you to work in. Farming is competitive, hard and rewarding all at once. If you can maximise your passion and hold onto your goals, you’re going to do well. Live the dream in the great outdoors and know you’re making a difference, however small.