If you're planning on starting a farm, there's a lot of work that needs to be done first. It doesn't matter whether you're planning on creating a small farm, something you build in your backyard or one that covers acres, you need to understand how farming works. That requires you to learn about best farming practices, tools of the trade, required licenses or certificates, and rules and regulations you need to abide by. During this process, we also recommend attending networking events and trade shows to network with like-minded professionals.
To help you get started, we'll cover some of the basic farming requirements here:
1. Create a plan
Before you even purchase a cheap bag of sunflower seeds, assuming of course your farm will have sunflowers, you need to draw out a detailed plan of what it will look like and eventually become. This plan should be in the form of a business report and also include a blueprint of where the farm will be located on your property.
When developing this plan, keep in mind that it'll change as the weeks, months and years go by. Nothing stays the same, after all.
2. Know what equipment you need
Only purchase what you need. Unfortunately, people — whether they're farming or not — get caught up in purchasing items they simply will never, or, at the very least, rarely use. Not only is this a complete waste of time, because you don't need to learn how to use these machines, but also money. Use that time and money elsewhere.
Some common pieces of equipment you'll need are as follows:
- Pickup truck: This is an extremely useful long-term investment because you'll be using it to carry everything from dirt and plants to other pieces of equipment, such as rototillers. The type of pickup you use will depend on the type of farming you plan to do. A small farm requires a smaller truck, whereas a large farm requires a more heavy-duty vehicle.
- Tractor: Even if you own a couple of mules or horses, long gone are the days when people relied on animals to do their farming. It's just not a practical process, and, as we mentioned earlier, you'll be wasting time. Compact tractors are perfect for small farming. These tractors can accomplish everything from mowing lawns to digging foundations or bailing hay.
This should have been No. 1 because it's that important. You won't always succeed. In fact, you may not even succeed right away. A crop may fail because the conditions weren't ideal or you didn't grow it properly.The one thing you must realize about farming is that 90 percent of what you try to accomplish is out of your control. Ten percent is what we've been discussing: creating a business plan, purchasing equipment and growing the correct types of crops. The other 90 percent is related to the weather and other external conditions, such as pests. If your area goes through a drought, your crops may suffer. If a new pest invades your area, part of your farm could be damaged.Despite these difficulties, it's important to realize that much of business is rebounding from setbacks and growing stronger.
Are you going to focus on raising cattle or growing corn? Do you want to do both? Can you actually accomplish both? If you raise cattle, will you do so to produce milk or meat? And then, how will you distribute the crops?These types of questions must be answered well before you begin sowing the land. Understand your market and where your audience is located.
Starting a farm isn't as simple as planting a few vegetables and flowers to make things look nice and calling it a day. No! It takes a ton of work, planning and financial capital to get a farm up and running. You also need to be very patient. Often people become excited about the idea of starting their own farm, but that motivation fades when they realize they won't be able to meet their goals immediately.
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