By Brooke Chaplan
The farming profession has served as the backbone of civilization’s survival since the birth of agriculture, and it will likely continue to be lucrative for a long time to come. But while it’s an evergreen industry, it can also be an expensive one. It’s also one where factory farms often make it harder for smaller farms to survive. That said, you can carve a comfortable living out for yourself if you plan for the important stuff. There are a few ways that small entrepreneurs can handle the biggest expenses of starting a farm business, which are mainly the property, equipment, and manpower. By taking the time to do research and discover the most cost-effective methods, you can get your farm running and competing in no time. Here are just a few of the ways you can handle the biggest expenses of starting a farm business.
It All Comes Down to the Property
Location, location, location. In order to plant, you have to have a large area to plant on. But this can cause a lot of problems, depending on your location. The most prohibitive pathway for entry to new farmers is the cost of land. That is part of the reason why 97% of farms in the United States are family-owned, but the practicalities of real estate have a factor to play as well. In short, prices are going up, and the more you pay per acre, the smaller the margin of profit from your labor is going to be. Land is likely going to be your biggest expense, but you have some control over how much you pay. Be diligent in your research and take the time to evaluate your options. If you’re serious about farming, a strategic relocation for land acquisition could be worth your time. Look into the different income and land taxes that exist in different states, and consider which areas support farming endeavors. There are plenty of local and state governments that want to encourage homesteading and farming businesses and may be willing to help with land acquisition.
Quality Equipment is Important
The next big expense is farming equipment. When you think of farm equipment, you probably think of tractors, harvesters, and other big machines, but farm equipment can also include smaller, more specific tools. No farm is going to turn a profit without some serious equipment, but the difference between farms that sink and swim often comes down to the quality of their tools. Researching both suppliers and manufacturers is important, especially when shopping for tractors, as these are going to serve as the backbone for most farming operations. Preowned options are a completely viable option for purchasing equipment, but you’ll want to be especially diligent in researching who you’re buying from. In either case, you need to be thinking of this equipment as not just a purchase but a long-term investment.
So is Prioritizing Your Needs
The most important thing is to take a careful look at your budget and think realistically about what you can afford. It can be easy to get excited by grand ambitions, but over-investing in too many will ensure that none pay out. Take the time to budget carefully, leave a cushion in place for unexpected expenses, and carefully evaluate all of your options.
Farming isn’t going to make you a millionaire overnight, but if it’s what you’re passionate about, you can carve out a comfortable niche for yourself. But it’s always important to treat farming as a business above all else and make sure you get in the habit of managing your finances carefully from the start.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan.