People decide to start a farm for several reasons. For some, it’s because they’re organic food lovers and they want to be sure about what they’re consuming. For others, it may be because they enjoy nature and find it to be a rewarding hobby. Other reasons include it being a family-run business or solely because it’s lucrative. Whatever the reason, farming contributes immensely to society as one U.S. farm is said to feed 165 people both in America and abroad. Taking into consideration that there is an estimate of at least 2.1 million farms across America, it is fair to ask what the secret to their success is. Below are a few tips on how you can become a successful farmer, whether you’re already in the farming industry or looking to start afresh.
Understand the Science Behind it
Being passionate about farming is definitely an essential ingredient in becoming a successful farmer. However, it may not be enough. Any farmer who is going to be successful should have a love for their land, courage and determination, practical experience, and in-depth knowledge relating to the science behind farming. It requires that you have a technical understanding of your land as well as the crops that you intend on growing. Plants and animals happen to be relatively complicated organisms, so it is important that you understand the characteristics of your plants and livestock and are well aware of the diseases they are vulnerable to and the methods of controlling the risk. You should also have knowledge regarding crops germination and growth. Likewise, if you’re breeding cattle, knowing breeding habits, likely illnesses and what their feeding requirements are is key. Such knowledge can be acquired through taking a course, obtaining a degree within the agriculture sphere, or shadowing an experienced farmer.
Choose the Right Crops to Grow
Choosing the right crops to grow when you decide to become a farmer is critical to your success. Corn, cattle, calves, and dairy products are said to be among the top 3 U.S. farm products. It means that if you’re venturing into the farming world, you might want to concentrate on these products. As with every business, follow the trends and pay attention to the seasons. The climate where your farm is located is a determining factor of the type of crops that you should focus on as well as the type of soil that region has. Wisconsin, for instance, is said to be a renowned dairy state. It means that focusing on growing fruit would potentially be the wrong farming approach as dairy is more profitable in that area. Do as much research as possible and find out what’s best suited for the region you want to farm in. It may also be a good idea to find out how high the demand for that product is as well.
The last thing you would want as a farmer is for all of your hard earned work to be destroyed because of your inability to store your products correctly if they’re perishable. Conex boxes or steel storage containers are a great way to store and transport your products in large quantities securely. You could also use them for animal feed or grain storage if you happen to be breeding cattle. Additionally, storing agricultural machinery such as tractors, trailers or trucks if you own any as well as immediate supplies, fertilizers and pesticides are important. Without storage, your produce could spoil, or your machinery could become damaged or stolen which would set you back financially.
Farming without good soil is almost impossible as good soil can be argued as the foundation of successful farming. You should, therefore, know how to identify soil that is suitable for farming and how you can improve your soil if it isn’t up to par. One of the methods you could use to find out whether you have healthy soil or not is performing a soil test. It will tell you what your soil type is, what nutrients you have in your soil as well as if any deficiencies are present. You can either attempt to assess your soil on your own or call in a professional. Seeing as you’re running a business, it may be best to get a professional test done, so it’s as accurate as possible. If it is found that your soil isn’t in good condition, but it isn’t that critical, you could attempt fixing it yourself. It can be done by extensive composting to start with.
Having enough money is significant when running a farm, or any business at that. Starting a farm can be pretty expensive as you’ve got so many initial expenses to consider such as equipment, seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. It is, therefore, a good idea to find ways to cut costs. For one, think about renting land instead of attempting to buy it. If you have no experience farming, you should probably seriously consider starting off as a hired farmer as farming without experience poses a major financial risk. When looking for ways to finance your farm, think outside of the box. Think of unconventional ways to source funds such as fundraising on social media or creating a crowd funding campaign.
Marketing and Sales
Having cattle or crops is one thing, but actually selling them is another. This is where putting on your business hat is key as you need to market and sell your products. Some things to take into consideration are where your products are most profitable and how to manage your finances to ensure you’re making a profit and not at a loss. You need to know how you can plan your production in the best way possible so that you can take advantage of the markets that favor you and what you want to achieve as a farmer.
Becoming a farmer is definitely an unorthodox route to take. However, it may be comforting to know that many before you have trodden that road. Being able to tend the land and grow food that feeds people globally sounds like a very rewarding job to have. Sentiments aside, however, it is important to be practical in your approach to farming if you want to succeed at it.