Are you looking to turn your farm plan dream into a farmer reality?
Us humans have been planting, caring for, and harvesting crops for around 15,000 years, which really makes farming the oldest job in the world. Look at how far we’ve come in that amount of time; there are thousands of viable career paths in our ever more complicated world.
Sometimes, though, you just have to get back to the basics. Being a farmer means early mornings and hours upon hours of hard, physical labor, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. Being able to see your crops go from seed all the way to the market is a special feeling.
So is the money that you’ll make from them. In this post, we’re going to help you create a farm plan that won’t fail. You see, farming is a business like any other, and you’ve got to be savvy to pull it off.
But, if you approach it with a strong work ethic and make a few good decisions, your small farming business could make you a fortune.
Making a Farm Plan
Before you start buying up land to plant your crops on, you need to come up with a good farm plan. All successful businesses start with a plan, so sit down and consider your approach to the following things:
- Where you’re going to get startup capital
- Your main objectives for starting the farm
- A mission statement to live and work by
- Industry and market analysis
- Organizational structure: Who’s going to be doing what?
- Break-even analysis
Then, look at more farm-specific things, like:
- Where you’re going to look for land
- What kind of farms are already in that area
- Finding farm equipment for sale
- Making sure you know how to farm
Write everything out in a document with everyone involved in this farming startup and refer to it constantly as you’re getting things organized.
Learn to Farm
There’s that one tricky hump you may need to get over: do you know how to farm?
A lot of young entrepreneurial-minded wannabe farmers realize very quickly after they make the decision to launch a farming business… that they don’t know how to farm. This is a pretty large and important facet of running a farm, so you’ll have to learn.
Maybe you grew up on a farm and you’ve retained some of the knowledge that your parents and grandparents instilled in you. Or, maybe you’ve never farmed in your life and you’re going into this completely blind.
Regardless of your background, before you jump feet first into the farming profession, you should gain some experience. You can apply to volunteer with an experienced farmer that can show you how to use machinery and what a normal day might look like.
The other way you can learn is by starting small and taking it slow. A small garden can turn into a larger garden, then a hobby farm, then you can start purchasing smaller machinery. When you let your farming skills develop naturally, you’ll be ready when it comes time to go big.
Finding Your Niche
Now that you know how to farm, you can start to identify your niche. This is an important part of starting any business because it involves doing valuable market research that will inform what product you’ll be producing.
You may have big dreams of starting a berry farm outside of Boise. Before you launch yourself into that endeavor, you need to do your due diligence to make sure that there’s a) demand for your berries in Boise and b) that someone else isn’t already successfully farming berries in Boise.
For this reason, it’s good to have a few ideas of what you might want to farm. You can start with one product and as the farm grows, you can start adding other things to your repertoire.
Locating Your Land
Next, you’ll have to find a piece of land to start your farm on. The real decision here is whether you want to buy land or lease it.
If you buy land, you’ll have full control over what you do with it, but it’s up to you to maintain it and it might be expensive. If you lease land, you’ll be able to pay a monthly fee to someone that isn’t using their land, which will be significantly cheaper. But, you’ll be at the mercy of the landowner’s plans.
When you’re deciding on buying or leasing land, you’ll need to be mindful of your proximity to markets that you might sell at, the soil quality, access to water, and existing facilities on the land.
Selling and Marketing
Once you’ve got the perfect piece of land, you can start growing your products. All of that time spent learning how to farm will pay off as soon as that first harvest comes around. Having a flourishing farm is wonderful, but you do need to sell your harvest to make it all worthwhile.
When you’re first starting out, the best way to get your small farm noticed is by selling at local farmer’s markets. You can sell a lot of your products at them and meet a lot of valuable contacts in the farming industry.
It’s also a great way to get noticed. With the right marketing, you can quickly outgrow the smaller markets and gain the attention of local grocery stores and supermarkets.
Set up a website and get on all of the social media platforms to promote your brand and your farm. With some savvy advertising and a great product, you can grab the attention of bigger buyers. It’s important to build up your list of helpful contacts but only expand in a way that feels comfortable.
Get Your Galosh In the Door
In principle, starting a farming business isn’t too complicated. Buy some land, grow a crop, and sell it. However, you need to have a solid farm plan in place before you begin or you’ll fall flat from the jump.
Make your farming business plan today to get started on this exciting new endeavor, then find some land to start planting your crops.
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