Why do farmers farm? Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and cultivate the growth of crops. They love to live in the company of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it makes them miserable ."- Wendell Berry.
I know there are a lot of people that want to become farmers but have never grown a crop or raised any livestock before. Not to worry guys, this article will set you on the path to realizing your dream of being a farmer.
Here are 9 steps we have compiled for you to excel as a farmer with little or no experience. Read and enjoy it.
Step 1: Find Your Why.
First, ask yourself what is motivating you to get into the practice of raising crops or animals? Be aware that any kind of farming involves a lot of hard work which takes huge responsibility and patience. It is advisable to talk to experienced farmers to get a better understanding of what to expect, and the location you intend to start a farm in. Experience is the best teacher.
Step 2: Choose what farm enterprise you would love to get into.
In most cases, there are two main categories in agriculture to choose from: Crops such as vegetable production, seed or grain production, vineyards, hay and silage production and Livestocks such as raising beef and dairy cattle, poultry, goats, beekeeping or others.
Organic, sustainable, and even regenerate farming is another sector of agriculture to consider when choosing. This covers all crop and livestock production. Most, if not all farms rely on and utilize more than one enterprise to maintain an operating farm. So, consider that as one of your major plans.
Step 3: Visit with Some Experience Farmer
It is highly advisable that you find those who are farming in a similar manner to what you intend to do and ask them for a personal tour of their operating farms. Do research on upcoming local agricultural events, and attend as many as you can, there you can ask many questions such as weather talk and its impact on their farm, what they do and how they do it.
Farm markets are also a great place to meet producers, not only do you have the opportunity to purchase their products but also to talk to them about how they get their products and about their operating farms (If they have any).
Step 4: Research as much as you can.
Use as many resources as possible: Books, internet, agriculture newspapers, magazines, podcast, and videos. Read books that discuss the kind of farming you want to get involved in. A bookstore or library is a great place to start. Visiting an ideal institutional library will give you resources than one at a local secondary school. Search the internet for various articles (Agricsquare) that cover the many topics of the particular enterprise you want to start.
Online communities such as Agricsquare are great places to discuss a number of topics in farming and ranching with other producers and agricultural experts. In your research, remember to find out the aspect of farming that you need to know about, from the skills needed, how to operate, the market potential for your products, environmental conditions and many more etc.
Step 5: Attend educational sessions or classes in the sector of your interest.
You can attend information sessions held by various agricultural organizations, schools, extension services. Depending on the sessions, you may want to get into animal sciences, agri-business, agricultural management and many others, they will give you the information you need to run a farm. Such sessions may be on-farm economics and finances or how to grow and harvest a certain crop, some sessions are free, others may require an entrance fee or admission to attend.
Step 6: Consider having to move.
Starting a farming operation will need the right location, and you should be aware some regions of the country are more conducive to farming than others. In your research, you will need to find out which location is or are more suitable for the kind of operation you are interested in starting up.
Note that environmental conditions such as soil, climate, topography and vegetation should be considered. For example, an area that has rocky soil is ideal for raising livestock and some hay, but not for growing crops.
Step 7: Express your desire to learn
Take note of how people do their tasks and ask them to teach you if you feel you won’t be able to learn it yourself. Learn the useful skill to your interest including how to change the oil in a tractor, fix the combine, get the cows prepared for milking, how to pastures and the livestock that graze them and many more.
Do not expect that you know everything because you have read about it somewhere in a book, ensure to practice as well for better understanding. Experience is everything, and the more experience you gain, the better equipped you will be to start up a farm on your own.
Step 8: Be flexible and open to new activities
You should be willing to perform any and every task that needs to be done on a working farm to gain more experience. For instance, if you’re uncomfortable with having to put a sick and dying animal to death humanely, you may be missing the point in understanding that you will actually be doing the kindest thing for that animal in ending its suffering.
Step 9: Know when you are ready to begin your farm
For most, it will take at least a year or two of being a part of a farming operation before they can be considered “good enough” to graduate from being a mere farmhand to an actual farm-owner and operator.
I hope these steps will encourage more people to get into the world of farming.
Read, comment and share if you find this article very useful. Thanks.