Planting and Picking: How to Start a Farm of Your Own

how to start a farm own farmland

You're tired of the office, or the warehouse, or the factory, or the construction site. You want to make your living off the land. You want to be a farmer. 

The only problem is this: You have no idea how to get started farming. 

Fortunately, we do, and we can help you start your farmland. Without further ado, here's how to start a farm. 

1. Find an Appropriate Market 

First and foremost, you need to find an appropriate market. If there isn't a market for what you're growing, you're going to fail. It's as simple as that. 

The market you choose is dictated by two primary factors: what you're able to grow in your area and what consumers in your area are buying. 

To find an appropriate market, you need to research your area. As a beginner farmer, you're advised to stick to a few key crops. Trying to sell a wide variety can be troublesome, particularly because it's difficult to grow enough of each crop. By choosing 2 or 3, you can grow large quantities of each. 

For reference, here are the top crops that are grown in each state. Choose a couple of crops that are popular in your area and hone in on them. 

2. Establish Funding 

The most difficult part of starting a farm is establishing funding. After all, you can't grow substantial amounts of crops for free, or even at a low price. You're going to have to front a fairly substantial amount of money. 

Ideally, you'll have your own money to throw at the endeavor. If not, you have a few other options to choose from. 

You could ask family and friends if they have any interest in investing. Then, you could pay dividends to investors at a later date. Note, though, that this requires a great deal of trust and is not suitable for many budding farmers. 

The other option? Loans. Yes, they force you to pay interest, but they also allow you to get your foot in the proverbial door. 

There are a number of farm loan programs provided by the USDA. These loans come with reasonable interest rates and can be a big help funding everything from equipment to crops to the farm itself. 

3. Find Suitable Land 

Planting a substantial amount of crops requires a substantial amount of land. To make a profit, you're going to need at least a half an acre. Note, though, that 1 to 3 acres is ideal for small-scale beginners. 

You can find land on a number of different resources. Not only do real estate sites like Zillow list land, but so too do sites like landandfarm.com and landwatch.com. 

Remember, this is farmland. As such, you want it to be relatively flat and filled with the proper nutrients. Stay away from desert climates and areas that are prone to flooding. 

Generally speaking, the Midwest has the best farmland. But you can find appropriate spots in most areas throughout the United States. Choose wisely; your choice can single-handedly make or break your farming endeavor. 

4. Build a Business Plan 

Do you have romantic notions about living off the land? If so, you should throw most of those notions to the side. Why? Because, while it can be fulfilling, farming is still business; you have to be able to make money, and it isn't always easy. 

As such, before you jump into this endeavor head-first, you need to build a business plan. Not only do you need to establish who you'll sell to but also how exactly you'll bring in money (selling crops, hosting weddings, agrotourism, etc.). 

You also need a marketing plan. After all, consumers aren't just going to know about your farm. You need to get the word out. 

Odds are, you're going to be starting at a loss. So you need to establish a plan that ensures you'll eventually be making a profit. This can take years, so you need to be as detailed in it as possible. 

If you can, speak to a fellow farmer, one who's already had some success at it. He or she can guide you to ensure that your business plan is solid. The more solid your business plan, the less risk you'll have of failing. Find more tools and tips for starting your farm now! 

5. Be Prepared to Make This Your Life 

Farming is not just a job or a living; it's a lifestyle. If you're going to make this work, you have to really want to do it. 

It's not a flippant thing like rushing out of the house and putting in your 8 to 10 hours at work; farming requires almost constant attention and will consume almost your entire life. 

This is even more true if you raise livestock. After all, livestock needs to be fed twice a day, and someone (probably you) has to do it. This requires waking up early, even when the weather is miserable or you're feeling awful. 

You'll scarcely be able to take time off, at least in the beginning. Because you'll be operating in the red, you'll have to keep your expenses to a minimum; that means hiring as few employees as possible. 

But this isn't to say that farming is a meaningless existence; quite the contrary, in fact. Many farmers couldn't imagine themselves doing anything else. And many individuals would take 14-hour days on their own farm over 8-hour days in someone else's office (or factory or warehouse). 

In the end, the point is this: You have to be gung-ho about this. You'll have a lot of money tied up in this endeavor, and you have to do everything in your power to keep it afloat. 

Ready to Start a Farm? 

What do you think? Are you ready to start a farm? If so, you should get to it and buy that farmland. Nothing's going to happen if you continue to sit on your hands and just dream about farming. 

Searching for other such information beyond farming and the agricultural industry? Our website has you covered. Take a look at some of our other blog posts now in the Startups section of Bootstrap Business.

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