Agriculture is one of the industries that has dominated the planet for years but with significant developments. Farming is more than just heading to the farm with your boots and coat, exposing you to plenty of opportunities for creating a bright future.
Nowadays, you will find farmers deeply engaged in the field even if one wasn’t born in a farming atmosphere. Starting a farm can be exciting and demanding at the same time. Hopefully, you’ve grasped everything it takes to start and flourish in farming. Above all, farming requires dedication, determination, and staying updated about the latest market trends.
This guide will take you through how to start a successful farm and offer some tips to help you in the profession.
Step 1: Understand Why You Wish to Start a Farm
Starting a farm is a gradual process that involves walking through various steps. The foremost step in becoming a successful farmer is understanding why you want to venture into the business. Are you starting a farm as part of your hobbies, to keep your family tradition alive, or a business?
Determining the reason behind your efforts is essential as it will fuel your motivation and help develop a strategic business. Again, your reasons should be self-determined and not influenced by peers, prevailing prices of farm produce, and other unstable factors. Understanding why you want to start a farm guides you through all the other steps more smoothly and effectively.
Step 2: Choose the Type of Farming Business
Now that you know why you want to enter the farming world, you can move to determine the type of farming you wish to embrace. There are plenty of options in the farming business, each with advantages and disadvantages.
Factors affecting the type of farming you can choose include budget, amount of land available, passion, location, pros, cons, and marketability. Also, you should consider the ag equipment needed and their affordability.
Most essentially, ensure you have adequate education (practical and theoretical) experience in the preferred type of farming. If you don’t, this is the right time to take a short course regarding farming in general while specializing in a particular branch. Some basic farming types include hay, vineyard/orchard, flower, poultry, crop, and dairy farms.
Step 3: Engaging Other Farmers
Nothing beats the power of engagement, regardless of your field. As an aspiring farmer, connecting with others in the field to understand different stories is essential. You can be super motivated listening to other people’s farming history, from how they started to how they beat various challenges and became who they are today.
Don’t worry if you don’t know any farmer you can engage with. These people can be easily found in agricultural tours, farm exhibitions, local farmers’ groups, and social media platforms. Use the opportunity to acquire various farming tips, the local terrain and market, and more than you could have imagined.
Step 4: Critical Research
Conducting thorough research is fundamental to starting any business, including farming. First, identify various questions concerning your chosen type of farming and strive to find answers to them.
Some practical research subjects for a farm business include understanding the marketability of your potential product, who to sell to, and how to sell. If you’re just getting started, it’s crucial to start with the local market before going regional and international.
Step 5: Cost Estimation of Various Tools and Legal Requirements
With an idea of what type of farming you want to focus on, you can estimate the cost of various tools and legal requirements. The main question in this phase is, “How much do you need to get started?” Some of the farm essentials you should budget on include:
- Tractors are vital machines in the farming industry. For large-scale farming, you will need tractors for planting, harrowing, disking, tilling, plowing, and pushing other farm machinery.
- Land: The space to accommodate different farm products. You will require to purchase or rent if you don’t own an existing property.
- Other preparations: Farming cost estimation doesn’t involve acquiring tractors and land. Other preparations affect your estimated budget, including veterinary costs (for animal farming), marketing, packaging farm products, storage, irrigation (crop farming), seeds/seedlings, and soil preparation.
Step 6: Develop a Business Plan
Before venturing into the farming business, developing a business plan to guide you through the way is essential. A business plan outlines your goals within a stipulated period, reminds you why you chose the business and highlights how you aspire to achieve those goals.
A good business plan should incorporate competition strategies, goals, marketing strategies, business models, target market, and consumer needs.
Step 7: Establish a Business Structure (Licenses, Permits, Mode of Operation)
The business plan development stage is followed by establishing a business structure for your farm. It involves choosing which model suits your farm between the five major business structures: cooperative, partnership, corporation, sole proprietorship, and Limited Liability Companies.
A sole proprietorship is a best-suited structure for farming start-ups due to its flexibility, among other advantages. After settling for a business structure, you should move to determine the legal requirements for the farm business.
Step 8: Get Funds and Manage Your Risks
Starting a farm business requires a secure source of funding. Some ideal sources of finance for farm start-ups include personal savings, venture capital, earnings retained from other businesses, contributions from friends and family, angel investors, and loans.
Each of the above options has its pros and cons, thus, should be critically evaluated before making a decision. This is the right time to assess the risks of venturing into a farm business.
Step 9: Get Started and Go Big
Nothing can stop you from commencing your farm business operations at this stage. Get all the essential equipment and materials, understand the season market patterns, and launch your farm business.
You also need to develop a strategic plan on how to get your farm products to the market while focusing on building a trustworthy brand. As the years proceed, you can start to work on expanding your farm business and reaching greater markets. You got this!