Tips for Opening a Small Farm Business

The farmer's life is a life of hard work. Your day begins before the sun even rises, you wake up early and get to work. If this sounds like too much effort, then you're at the wrong place because cultivating a farm is tough, but it's rewarding as hell! There are a lot of factors that go into opening a small farm, and here we will guide you through some of those steps, so pay attention.

Create a Business Model

First and foremost, prepare a business model. It doesn't matter whether you are starting big or small. You need to map out vital functions of your business (yes, farming is a business), so finances and marketing need to be treated seriously. Putting this all down on paper will help you visualize your business more accurately, as well as potentially spot out any potential problems. How will you transport your goods? Where will you be storing them, and how many units can you store? There are countless logistical problems that you must pay attention to.

Get Experience

This one is a no-brainer. To be able to open a small farm (and gain money), you need to be aware of what you are getting into. Experience is golden for this. There are books about farming. You can ask any people you know that have experience in the field about it. There are even youtube videos for farming tips. Generally, you need to take a student approach and just soak up all the knowledge that you can to succeed. But you will still need to get a real feel for it with physical labour. If you didn’t grow up near farms, you need to actively seek one out and ask for help, or more precisely offer them help. You want to gain some experience, so volunteering for someone is not a bad idea by any means. As long as you get the required experience, you are good.

Choose Your Niche and Dominate it

Research the supply & demand in your area of influence. See whether meat/plants/fruit you want to sell is profitable and goes for a decent price. There is no point in shooting yourself in the leg by choosing to mainly focus on breeding cattle if the price of beef has plummeted. After a couple of months, that’s it, you’re in financial ruin. Find out what is selling for a high price in the foreseeable future and stick with it. The location might not be fitting for what you want to grow/breed, in which case it’s better to consider a different location or a different product.

If You are Ambitious, Seek Out Good Loan Offers

If you have structured an ambitious business plan coupled with a good financial plan, then it might be worth your while to seek out cheap loans. You have two choices.

1) Either you start small with the money you have and check out the field, see whether it is your thing or not.

2) If you have fully committed to the business, there is no need for financial strains to hold you back.

The second method works out better when you have a well-structured plan. Some programs can assist new businesses, so be sure to take advantage of them!

Networking

Make relationships with other farmers and agricultural workers that could help you achieve your goals (and you theirs). This also goes hand in hand with the previous tip where we talked about soaking up knowledge from other, more experienced people in your branch of work. Ask around about what you want to know, offer collaborations, etc. You can even talk to the agricultural workers and tell them how efficient the hydroponic system can be for their crops (provided they don’t already know about it).

Permits & Taxes

You will need to educate yourself about relevant local and state regulations that could affect you in any way. Carefully read up on the taxes that you need to pay. You will most likely need to purchase a business license as well, depending on where you are from. And don’t forget to get insurance! You never know when something might go wrong, so it’s always good to be secured.

What Land to Purchase?

The key factors that you have to consider when purchasing the land are:

• The fertility of the land

Be certain that the land you are buying is fertile and fit for farming.

• The distance from the market

It doesn't make sense to be 200 km away from the nearest market, doesn't it?

• Access to clean drinking water

This one speaks for itself. To have any crops or breed any animals, you need a clean source of water.

About the author

Alison Pearson is an interior design student. She is a writer and designer, and her ultimate passion is art and architecture. She is also a bibliophile and her favourite book is "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner.

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