Starting your own farm is a thrilling and liberating decision. You’re probably eager to get the land, tools, crops, animals, and everything else you’ll need to start your farm and get working. Eagerness is a wonderful trait to have, but it’s also the downfall of many beginning farmers.
Agriculture is tricky, and starting your farm without an adequate amount of knowledge about the field could cause your once-sustainable farm to collapse fairly quickly. Before you start your new life as a farmer, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the most common mistakes made by beginning farmers. Avoiding these common mistakes is the key to achieving farming success.
Starting With Too Little Capital
Leasing makes farming an affordable venture to pursue. This doesn’t mean that farming is cheap, however. Setting up your farm is relatively expensive, and you’ll incur a lot of start-up and emergency costs in the process. This is what makes starting with little to no capital one of the biggest mistakes that new farmers can make.
Before you get started, you’ll want to make sure you have enough money to cover emergencies such as animal sickness, destroyed plants, and unpredictable weather conditions. Not convinced you have enough capital to get started? Don’t give up on your dream just yet. You can apply for farming loans from the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, which will help cover some of the cost.
Using Inefficient Tools
There’s nothing wrong with being resourceful and relying on cheaper tools in the beginning, but once you have your footing, investing in more reliable and efficient equipment is crucial. There’s no denying that modern farm equipment is expensive. Luckily, leasing or renting equipment makes it much less expensive short-term.
When you’re deciding on equipment, there’s nothing wrong with splurging a bit. That old, run-down tractor might have a lower purchasing point, but it will cost you more than purchasing a new tractor in the long run. This is because older equipment is less efficient, requires more maintenance, and has a shorter lifespan than newer equipment. Along with purchasing high-quality equipment, you’ll want to purchase high-quality tires. There are a lot of different tires to choose from, with some being better suited to certain soil conditions than others. There are also different sizes to choose from. Make sure to do your research before purchasing.
Focusing on Too Much at Once
Another one of the most common mistakes made by beginning farmers is focusing on too much at once. Diversity is the key to a sustainable farm. Unfortunately, trying to diversify too much when you’re first starting out can lead to a lot of stress. Most successful multi-product farms started out as specialized farms. Once the farmer mastered their first specialization, they moved on to another. After repeating this process several times, they ended up with a farm full of many different kinds of animals and crops. If you’re just starting out, it’s better to pick one enterprise and stick with it until you start to feel confident in your abilities as a farmer. You can consider adding a second specialization after you start producing consistent results with your first.