Holidays and Traditions
Do you want to be a farmer?
The dream of living off the land, tilling the ground and growing your own crops is one that many people share.If you didn't grow up on a farm, it can be easy to imagine a life far away from the hustle and bustle of city life.There is a big difference between someone who knows how to farm and a farmer, so consider your personality, your goals, and your strengths when making a decision.
Step 1: Think about why you want to be a farmer.
Farming requires a lot of knowledge and investment.Part small business owner, part scientist, and part manual worker is what you have to be.Farming is unpredictable, even if you do everything right, because of natural disasters such as floods, pests, and the price of crops.Farming requires more time investment than a 9-to-5 job.Farming will have to become your life unless you want a small farm or large garden as a hobby.
Step 2: Do you think about your priorities?
What do you want your life to look like?What are your goals for yourself?Are they concrete, such as an annual income or time with your family?Is it a feeling of satisfaction or a quality of life?Do you want to sacrifice or not?What are you willing to do to achieve your goals?
Step 3: Do you think your personality is a good fit for farming?
Farming can give you a life of independence and connection to your land, but it is also a huge responsibility.Knowing how you will respond to situations will help you decide if farming is right for you.Is it okay for you to be solely responsible for a large operation?The success of small farms depends on their owner.You are in charge of all the day-to-day operations as well as long-term planning as a farmer.There are many decisions to be made when the fate of your farm is at stake.Is it possible to accept uncertainty and variability in your life?There is a high chance for failure in a farmer's life.Good years may see you operating at a break-even level.Between 2012 and 2022, the number of farmers in America is expected to decline due to the hardship of farming.Are you a problem-solver?Having the imagination to think of creative solutions will be important to your farm.Are you a patient?When you first start out in farming, you will make many mistakes.It can take a long time, even years, until your farm is fully successful, so you will need to be able to work toward long-term prospects.
Step 4: List your weaknesses and strengths.
Tell yourself the truth here.What are you good at?What are your weak spots?Are you good at accounting?You must be able to calculate risk margins, record sales and purchases, and track profits in order to keep your farm running.Are you good at heavy labor?Modern equipment can break manual labor in farming.To be a farmer, you need to be fit and healthy.Is there enough money to invest in farming?A lot of capital is required to start a small farm.You need to purchase materials and equipment.You have to buy land or face unfavorable land lease relationships if you want to keep your farm.Are you able to learn quickly?If you want to succeed in farming, you need to keep up with the latest trends and techniques.Do you have health problems?If you are self-employed, health insurance can be expensive.If you have chronic health problems or need a lot of expensive prescription medicines, farming may not offer you enough reliability in your health care.
Step 5: Is the economic hardship of small farming acceptable to you?
Small-scale farming is a poor-earning business that requires outside income to stay afloat.Saving for retirement or sending your children to college may be goals of yours, so farming may not be for you.In 2012 the median farm income was.The average small farm in America lost over a thousand dollars a year.
Step 6: Visit websites about farming.
Farm Aid provides information and resources about farming in order for you to make a decision about becoming a farmer.The resource center is devoted to beginning farms.The National Young Farmers Coalition has resources for beginning farmers.The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, a branch of the USDA, has a project called Start2Farm that offers a lot of information on beginning a farm, finding funding, and locating services.
Step 7: Reach out to your local extension.
You can access the extension office at a college or university.Local small business owners and agricultural producers will be served by these offices.They offer a lot of resources on farming and agriculture.
Step 8: Talk to farmers.
Real-life farmers talk about their lives and experiences.Get to know the farmers who sell their goods at your farmers market.Ask them what they like and dislike about their work.Call or email the farms in your area to see if you can meet with them.Farmers are usually very busy and passionate about their work, so they will be happy to talk to you.There are online message boards where you can ask questions and learn from farmers.It is better to talk with people in person.
Step 9: People are on a farm.
If you are serious about becoming a farmer, volunteering on a farm is a good way to learn if the lifestyle is right for you.Many local farms offer volunteer programs, as well as organizations that link organic farms with volunteer opportunities.
Step 10: There are farms in your area that are looking for interns.
In exchange for your labor, many of these programs will give you room and board as well as a small stipend.If you are serious about starting your own farm, experts recommend three to four years of apprenticeship.
Step 11: Determine what crops to grow.
It can be difficult to narrow down the types of crops your farm will grow, but there are ways to do that.Most of the agricultural crops grown in the United States are grain crops.One of the fastest-growing sectors in American farming is organic vegetable production, which is a good choice if you live in an area with a demand for it.There are a lot of resources that can help you make a decision.You can find links to help you conduct research on crop planning at the New England Small Farm Institute.Information on regional crops can be found in the National Agriculture Library.If you want to know more about crop planning in your area, contact your state or province department of agriculture.
Step 12: Find a place to farm.
Most beginning farmers can't afford to buy their own land.80% of America's farmland is controlled by owners who are not farmers.According to most expert sources, beginning farmers should start by managing someone else's farm, lease farmland from private owners or land trusts, or take over an existing farm from another person.Word of mouth is a powerful source of information about farmland.Do your research and cultivate your network of farming connections.It is possible to find farms to take over or farms that need managers from sources such as the "Farm Link Program Directory".
Step 13: Tell the truth about your potential locations.
If you want to find affordable farmland, you may need to relocate.It is possible to fantasize about a farm in the Hudson Valley or the Bay Area, but keep in mind that such areas are very expensive and highly desirable to other people.If you want to buy your products in a populated area, look for farmland that is out of your price range.The areas recommended by Modern Farmer are Lincoln, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; Boise, Idaho; Mobile, Alabama; and Grand Junction, Colorado.They are close to populated areas, but not so prestigious that you can't afford land.
Step 14: Financing for your farm is secure.
Federally backed loans from the USDA are available for beginning farmers.You can begin your research at an online resource such as FarmAid or Start2Farm.The "Farm Service Agency Beginning Farmer Loan Program", National Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs, Farm Credit Services of America, and the American Farmland Trust are all good places to begin your funding search.
Step 15: Limit your initial development.
If you want to control your startup costs and limit your risk of failure, start small and develop your farm gradually.You don't need fancy equipment to start farming.Your main focus should be your soil and product.
Step 16: You should grow what you know.
When you're first starting out, cultivate what you have experience with.If you worked on a berry farm, you should grow fruit.You should raise pigs if you trained on a pig farm.As you get your farm up and running, begin with some expertise and experience in your area.
Step 17: You should promote your products.
Your network of personal and community connections will be the most important way to promote your farm products, but you can also use other marketing options as well.Place coupons in the local paper, create "pick-your-own" events, even cold-call restaurants in your area to see if they want to purchase your locally grown goods.You should market yourself on social media.You can post pictures of your farm and crops on social media.You can create an inspiring board.These social media tactics are useful ways to get your farm into the public eye, even if they don't seem related to tilling the earth with your hands.They're almost always free.
Step 18: Become a CSA society.
These organizations connect people in the area who want to buy local produce with the farmers who produce it.Most of the time, people will buy "boxes" at a subscription rate, and you will deliver whatever fresh produce you're growing at that time.This is an excellent way to spread word-of-mouth about your farm.
Step 19: Think about farm tourism.
Many city dwellers are eager to learn more about farming and get their hands dirty, even though this route may seem like selling out.Promote farm tours and gardening classes.You could advertise as a wedding venue.Even if your crops don't do well one year, maximizing every revenue stream will help you stay afloat.Wedding budgets are great news for farmers, as brides and wedding planners are willing to spend big to have their wedding in a picturesque rural locale.It can cost thousands of dollars to use your farm as a wedding venue, which could be a significant chunk of your annual income.
Step 20: Continue to learn.
The first step is knowing how to grow crops.Continue to do research on new techniques and opportunities even after you have learned the basics, and try to learn from other farmers.Don't get lulled into a false sense of security about your farming.Those with experience and real-life knowledge of farming and raising livestock/crops will give you the information and knowledge you need.You will have to learn from other people's mistakes."Learn from the mistakes of others, because you won't live long enough to make them all yourself," is a saying common among airplane and fighter pilots.
Step 21: Don't be disengaged with your community.
Running a successful farm requires a strong connection to your community.A support network is also a result of a good relationship with your community.If you don't know how to communicate, network or talk with other people in your community, you cannot market your product or sell your crops.Make friends, acquaintances and business partners with the various people involved in agriculture, be they farm equipment mechanics, local butchers, potential buyers, other local farmers, or various other people.
Step 22: You should appreciate what you have.
Most farmers don't have a lot of money to spend on things like toys and luxuries that other farmers do.Farming gives you the chance to think creatively, to be your own boss, and to feel proud when you put in a long, hard day of work.Many farmers say that they love the sense of independence they get from farming.Don't think you have to have the latest equipment to be a farmer.It's a mistake for brand-new farmers to think they have to spend a lot of money.Ask experienced farmers for advice.Don't be afraid to increase your assets to improve your farm.There is a line between working with what you have and having to spend money to get the things you need.
Step 23: It is expected that you will be a jack or jenny in all trades.
You need to be a welder, mechanic, electrician, chemist, plumbing, construction builder, accountant, vet, marketer, and economist.It's a good idea to know which hats to put on.Someone will teach you if you don't have all of the skills.This is where you can use your community engagement.
Step 24: You should respect your farm.
Your success as a farmer is dependent on a number of factors, including your own hard work and skills, the land, animals, and the forces of nature that you interact with.Don't try to turn your farm into something other than what it is.You will get a deeper understanding of your farm if you cultivate a deep appreciation for it.Whether or not you can raise certain livestock with success or failure depends on where you live.It is important to respect your farm's equipment.Farm machines are not toys and should not be treated as such.Understand that they are powerful machines that can easily kill if not handled correctly, and follow safety procedures at all times.
Step 25: Love and be proud of what you do.
As a farmer, you are growing food for other people who can't grow their own food due to time, living spaces or life choices.Compared to other people, you get to experience rural life at its fullest: the highs, the lows and the hard work that goes along with it.Only 2% of Americans are actively farming.In Canada, 5% of the population follow this category.Being a part of the minority, you get to provide food for others.
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