Farming is the oldest profession out there. Many people are drawn to the idea of the lifestyle – it’s a chance to get away from the complexities of urban life and make a living providing basic human needs. What most people don’t realize is that getting into farming is no easy task. Setting up a farm from scratch is extremely costly. Having the necessary funds is important if you want your farm to be successful and profitable. Here are just some of the biggest costs to budget for, as well as some tips on how to possible save money on these items.
There’s a lot of learning required to start a farm. First, you need to learn all the steps required to grow and harvest crops/livestock. You then have to learn how to use all the necessary machinery. On top of this, there’s the entire business side of running a farm – if you’re not simply creating a homestead and want to sell your produce for profit, a lot of business know-how is required.
You could learn all of this with a four-year agriculture degree. This will cost you roughly seventy thousand dollars, although thankfully you can take out a student loan to cover this. A cheaper way of learning could be to get employed by another farmer and learn on the job. You may be able to pick up everything this way, but it could take a good few years and you might still benefit from taking a few small courses and workshops.
There’s plenty of land for sale out there that’s suitable for farming. Land prices can vary dramatically depending on the location and the quality of the land. The amount of land you need depends on your purpose – a cow farm may require 250 acres, while a profitable wheat farm may require 3000 acres.
Many farmers acquire land by inheriting it off a family member of a retired farmer that they worked for. It’s possible to start by micro-farming on a small patch of land – this won’t make you enough money to live on, but could be a great side hustle to provide some extra income. From here you may be able to grow a name for yourself and get help from investors to expand, allowing you to afford more land. In order to buy land, you’ll probably need a land loan. You may even be able to buy land with existing farming facilities on it.
Farms require a lot of equipment to help them function efficiently. If you’re dealing with crops, you’ll need a tractor and a combine harvester. There may also be equipment worth buying such as chisel ploughs and grain trucks. If you’re looking after livestock, it’s possible you’ll need milking equipment, refrigeration facilities, troughs and other tools. This can all come to a large amount if you’re not careful.
There are ways to save money on agricultural equipment. It’s possible you’ll be able to buy a lot of it second-hand. Ultimately, you want this equipment to be in good condition, otherwise you’ll spend a lot of money in repairs. Use trusted websites to search for used equipment and inspect the equipment in person before buying where possible.
You may also be able to lease machinery instead of buying it. This could be ideal for machinery that you don’t use regularly. Alternatively, you could buy machinery and rent it out to other farmers to help make your money back.
You’ll need somewhere to store harvested crops and to house livestock. For storing bushels of grain, you’ll need to buy plenty of bags or grain bins. These will have to be kept indoors somewhere, which could involve building a metal barn. As for livestock, you’ll need somewhere for housing these animals. This could include stables or chicken coops.
You could buy a pre-existing farm – this will likely have much of the storage space already provided. Alternatively, you may want to hire contractors to build you a barn or stables. Some of these structures can be bought as kits for you to build yourself – this is common with chicken coops.
As for grain bins, you may want to bulk buy these from a supplier. By shopping around online, you may be able to find the best deal. There may even be a farmer out there selling some second-hand grain bins for cheap.
Finally, there’s the cost of your produce to consider. If you’re planting crops, you’ll need to buy seeds to sow and some fertiliser to plant these in and help them grow. Alternatively, you may be planning on buying livestock. The likes of chickens are fairly cheap, whilst cows are much more expensive. On top of buying these animals, you’ll need to stock up on feed for them.
When buying seed, you’re best to buy in bulk, which will get you a big discount. Joining local farming groups can also give you access to membership discounts on seed. Buying seed for you first harvest will be more expensive than any year after as you can keep some of your seed to sew the next year.
As for buying livestock, you’ll need to scout around to find good deals. It’s worth trying auctions and contacting independent breeders directly where you may be able to negotiate. The animal’s health and its breed can all affect the cost. Those that aren’t fussy about the breed are likely to save money. You’ll need to make sure that the seller has various documentation and licensing that allows them to legally own and sell that animal. You too may need to look into licensing that allows you to buy this animal.