Farming is one of the most underrated (and hardest) career paths out there. It encompasses various aspects of business, agriculture, and finances. Starting and maintaining a farm can be taxing, both mentally and physically.
The American Farm Bureau Federation states there are 2.2 million farms in the US, and the numbers are steadily declining. Farming is also one of the most rewarding entrepreneurial feats in existence. With enough patience and dedication, you too can feed communities across the country.
Before You Start
Decide Why You Want To Start A Farm
Before you can grow a successful farm, think about why you want to start one in the first place. Do you want to create a sustainable farm to feed your family? Do you want to create a large business, or contribute to society and animal welfare? Why you want to do it will impact how you do it, and how focused you are to achieve your goal.
Growing a farm as a hobby or as a side business will also have a direct impact on how much you spend and how much time you must dedicate to it. There are also differences in how you will file your taxes.
Research The Industry You Want To Enter
The type of farming you do should reflect your passion and how much time you want to invest. If you are not sure about what you want to grow or what you are passionate about, look into an apprenticeship.
In family-owned farms, knowledge is passed down from generation to generation. While startup farms can learn from books and online platforms (which are useful tools), hands-on training is needed. Try out different kinds of farming and see which one attracts you the most.
Calculating Expenses and Funding
The beginning is always the most expensive part. You will need land, equipment, farm insurance, and more. Starting a farm from scratch is difficult, but possible. Discover different financing options that will help you jumpstart your new business endeavor.
Did you know that you could receive funds for starting a farm? Look into agriculture programs in your area for grant opportunities. Government and nonprofit organizations create programs to assist small farm startups. Rural development can benefit farmers and the community alike.
Meet With the USDA
Whether you plan to be a farmer or a rancher, the United States Department of Agriculture offers assistance to the farming community. USDA offices are located all across the country and can connect you to available programs, grants, and other resources that will help your farming operation.
Learn as You Farm
Learn as much as you can, especially if this is your first attempt at farming. Even people who went to college understand that the most valued trait is the experience. Be ready to network with a community of other farmers, read books, and take courses to improve your skills.
Most important of all, expect to not get it right on the first few tries. Allow yourself to make mistakes – farming is full of challenges and uncertainty. Farmers are learning new things every year, and know how long it takes to get it right.
Reap What You Sow
Farming can be exhausting and complicated, but this is not to discourage you from pursuing your dream. With proper planning and an efficient system, your entrepreneurship will reward you with a beautiful harvest and experience no one can take away from you.
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