If you have an interest in farming and contributing to American agriculture, it’s a great time to get started due to the increasing demands on the agriculture industry.
Having the proper tools and resources is vital to your continued growth and success. Although it can feel overwhelming not knowing where to start, there are a few important steps to take as you learn the ropes.
Utilize Different Resources
Fortunately, many resources are available to help you get started with your farming endeavors to ensure you’re equipped.
The Farmer Resource Network is a great place to find different types of resources and includes a convenient search tool.
You can also access the ATTRA’s Internship and Apprenticeship Database to find opportunities for farming internships in the local area to learn from experienced farmers. You’ll get a firsthand experience and proper training by spending time on an actual farm.
Learn the Science
As an aspiring first generation farmer, it’s important to learn as much as possible about agriculture.
Although getting a degree isn’t required, it’s important to learn the science behind farming to ensure you can effectively solve problems that arise each season. Prioritize reading to learn about the science of farming, as well as other types of aspects of the business.
You’ll need to become educated on leadership principles, operational structures, and even accounting concepts to develop confidence with your skills and expertise.
Form the Right Relationships
Although many people attempt to network with as many people as possible when getting started in the industry, it’s more important to find relationships where trust is present.
You’ll need to find a mentor who has your best interest in mind and can help you avoid mistakes as you’re starting out.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
When you’re working hard towards becoming a farm owner, keep your current job as long as possible to reduce your risk of financial loss.
Although you may be passionate about farming, you still need to be able to pay your bills to avoid getting into debt.
Have patience with the process, knowing that you’ll put yourself at less of a risk if you wait as long as possible to transition to becoming a full-time farmer.
Asking questions is key to understanding why you’re meant to do tasks a certain way.
Having more of an understanding of the different parts of farming will go farther than just trying to appear knowledgeable.
It’s important to continue to learn and always have the right people who can give you answers when you have questions.
Become More Creative
Thinking outside of the box is key to attaining success as a new farmer and overcoming challenges you may face in the agriculture industry.
Consider thinking about different foods that other farmers aren’t growing in the local area, which can allow you to become more competitive. You can also consider what you can offer to a local farmer to ensure they assist and guide you with your own farm.
Although your passion can motivate you to work hard and develop your farm, other factors will contribute to your success as a first generation farmer. Forming the right relationships with veteran farmers or having access to different resources available will allow you to have the advantage and become more confident in your abilities.