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So You Want to Be a Farmer

Posted on 26 November 2017 by sam

So You Want to Be a Farmer

“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

A switch to a career in agriculture can be a fulfilling, albeit challenging, change. Farming will open your eyes to food production and give you a newfound appreciation for basics we take for granted. It’s definitely a change you’ll want to consider and plan for for a long time. You may have minimal income, and you will have to do lots of manual labor.

Crops

You’re probably planning on growing some crops, right? Don’t take too much on at once.

Make sure to plan specifically what kinds of crops and how much you want, and be sure you know expert growing techniques. Depending on what size your crop will be, you will want to look at different seed providers and equipment. You might be a rancher who keeps a small patch to simply sustain the household. You might be going for a few large vegetable patches from which you can gather a harvest suitable for a farmer’s market. You might be wanting to go into massive, high-quantity production of a major crop such as corn. Or you may even want to grow something fun and seasonal, like a pumpkin patch that you can open to the public! All these options are worthwhile and fulfilling, but they all take a great deal of planning, preparation, and hard work.    

Structures

There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned barn raising! Of course, putting up a barn today happens a little differently than it did a century-and-a-half ago. As you well know, farming isn’t only about growing the crops and raising the animals. There’s a whole element of infrastructure, and this includes your buildings. Agricultural buildings deal with a lot of wear and tear. If you’re housing animals, you have lives at stake. Whether you’re storing equipment or harvest, or whether you’re housing cattle, horses, or other livestock, you will keep thousands of dollars worth of product in these buildings. It’s essential to invest in buildings and building materials that maximize protection and utility. Use a contractor whom you trust!

Extra help

With a massive undertaking like a farm, it’s definitely okay to get help in the areas you aren’t expert in. For instance, you may want to keep a CPA who knows the ins and outs of finance and farms. You’ll also want a lawyer in the know. This is especially true if you want to farm any plants that might have regulations. If you’re interested in growing cannabis, for instance, you’ll want to make sure you’re complying with all the legal ramifications, many of which are still not quite defined.

As you grow your farm, you may need to hire help. You’ll probably be spending double-digit hours a day working anyhow, and you may, happily, reach a point where the work can’t be done by just one or two people. It’s possible that you will find a ranch hand who is expert in an area that isn’t quite your forte, such as training horses, breeding practices, or operating heavy machinery. Spending a little extra money to maximize your output is going to be a great return on an investment.