Tips for Starting in Farming
Farming is one of the world's most ancient and rewarding practices. A relatively recent discovery reflects that the first evidence of agriculture dates back to an astounding 23,000 years.
You might be interested in farming for a variety of reasons. Naturally sourcing food, taking care of livestock, and enjoying the peaceful nature of flowers are all benefits that farming can present.
No matter your reason for wanting to farm, numerous benefits can come about as a result of the practice. We're here to give tips on beginning farming to make the most of your agricultural endeavors.
Let's start by discussing how crucial it is to have a vision for your farming goals.
What's the Importance of a Farming Vision?
Since there are many types of farming—it's best to narrow down the areas of agriculture you want to focus on. You don't have to limit yourself toward one type of farming, but having an awareness of what goes into different farming varieties will help you plan your actions to make your vision a reality.
Perhaps you have a piece of land you're looking to farm on. Will the land and weather conditions be able to support your agricultural plans? If you need to scout for farming locations, consider land areas that support your goals.
Preparedness is vital when supporting a farm. Outlining worst-case scenarios and brainstorming responses to problems is a great way to stay ahead of the curve. Farming experts recommend diversifying your crops. Diversifying what you grow strengthens your ability to power through if one of your crops fails.
Examples of common farm problems include:
- Malfunctioning equipment
- On-site accidents
- Lack of storage
An essential element of formulating a farming vision is establishing a target market.
Establish a Target Market
If you're not looking to sell your agricultural products to a target market and want to farm for personal resources, the chances of small-scale farming being your best bet are high. You can still manage a small farm if you're looking to target a market.
Microgreens are an example of a farming trend that has taken off in recent years. If you're farming microgreens or other food products, you can take your small-scale operation to local farmers' markets and establish a community presence.
Whether you're looking to target a small, medium, or large-size farming operation, it's helpful to outline how you'll reach your desired target market. Finding sustainable customers is one of the fundamental pieces of finding success within a target market. If you're getting into farming, you love the process and wish to rinse and repeat. Having loyal customers that find value in what you do will help make your farming successful.
An easy way to find a target market is to identify what you love to do. If flowers are your passion, it's a great idea to study florists' practices to understand the overall business and how you can play your part. When you enjoy what you do, it's easier to put in the extra footwork to make your farming practice click into place.
If your goal is to create a significant market presence with your farm, it's still better to start small to mitigate risk and learn as you go.
Find a Mentor
Farming is frequently passed down through familial generations. If you can locate a family member, friend, or local farmer with experience in agriculture, you can strike up a mentor relationship.
A big part of what makes mentorship so valuable is the opportunities you'll have to ask specific questions. Mentors can help you save time, making the same mistakes that they perhaps did during their beginnings. Once you connect with a mentor, see if you can continue to expand your network through their farming associates.
Internet resources and books on farming are a great alternative and serve as their form of mentorship.
How to Look for Proper Farming Land
After formulating a vision for your farm, deciding if your farm will be for personal or business use, and taking to research and consult mentors, you'll start to have a better idea of what type of land will be right for you.
If you're looking to sell your grown products at markets, it's best to select land areas close in proximity to markets. While most areas feature smaller, local markets, you won't want to travel far to feature your products in broader markets.
Evaluate the Land's Water and Soil
Having direct access to a quality water supply is critical for supporting your farm. Wells and municipal water supply are two common water sources for farms. Be sure to ask the person you're buying the land from about water supply to ensure you'll have adequate resources.
When you have proper water, you're going to need quality soil. It's standard for farmers looking to purchase land to request a soil quality test. The area's local extension service usually conducts these tests.
See If the Land Can Accommodate Additional Facilities
Certain types of farms may require specific outbuildings. Searching for land that already has some of these facilities can save you time and money building them yourself. Typical outbuildings include houses for livestock, farm shops, as well as tools and machinery facilities.
See If the Land's Neighbors Will Be a Good Fit
If you're looking at pieces of land that don't have neighbors in the direct vicinity, then chances are you'll save yourself some stress.
It's important to know if your farm will be successful when living next to neighbors as their actions can affect your agriculture.
Perhaps you're looking at starting a vegetable farm, and your neighbors use a specific type of pesticide on their agriculture that can harm your plants. Consulting ahead of time with potential neighbors can make or break your decision to move your operation onto an available land.
Stay Organized Financially
Maintaining organized financial records will help you understand what kind of a budget it takes to run your farm and see when the market demand has been the highest. Use your financial information to help yourself make adjustments as needed.
Let's dive into some tips for staying healthy and safe once you begin the farming process:
Staying Healthy and Safe When Farming
Farming is a physically demanding practice. Taking proper safety measures before and during farming will help ensure your safety and success.
As you work long-days farming outdoors, you'll be putting yourself at a higher risk of experiencing heat stress. Suppose you don't take action to correct the initial stages of heat stress. You can put yourself at risk for developing more serious heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Wearing sunglasses, sunhats, and waterproof sunscreen are all easy ways to prepare for farming work. Staying hydrated will help you go the extra distance when farming, especially during hot and sunny days.
It's essential to hydrate before you begin farming. Try carrying a portable water bottle with you so you can rehydrate every 20 minutes on average.
When searching for a quick strategy to rehydrate—consider using Hydrant. Hydrant is a rapid-hydration drink mix with a science-backed formula created to properly hydrate you with the right balance of ingredients.
Hydrant doesn't contain synthetic colors, artificial sweeteners, or stevia as the flavors are made with real fruit juice powder. The result is a light, refreshing taste that’s perfect for the mornings or after working in the sun.
Consider Hydrant a helping hand when starting out developing your first farm.
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