Tips for Beginner Farmers
1. Set Clear Goals inline with your abilities.
Why do you want to farm? Are there other ways that you could achieve your goals with less risk or less effort?
2. Develop a Business Model
Once you have developed a big idea, you need to analyze it from all possible angles. If you will be selling any agricultural products at all — even if you plan to start at a small scale — you need to consider and plan for all the various functions of a business. The 3 primary functions you need to address are operations, marketing, and finance. Writing down your plan for each of these areas will help you to think critically and identify weaknesses.
Business Model Canvas
3. Separate Business and Personal finances.
Before you spending money on the farm business, open a new bank account for all of your farm transactions. Separate personal and business banking accounts will make it easier to distinguish between farm and non-farm expenses, critical for accurate record keeping.
4. Dream Big, but manage risk plus plan for failure.
Farming is an incredibly risky venture, and it takes a colossal investment of time and money to get started. Minimize your financial risk as much as possible by financing the business from savings or business earnings, rather than debt.
Grow slowly. Live frugally. Be prepared to keep an off-farm job for years until the business is large enough and stable enough to support you.
5. Relationships are Key.
Connect with other farmers, extension agents, and agricultural service providers in your community. Building relationships with other producers, especially older generations, can be incredibly valuable and satisfying for all parties.
Tips for Beginner Farmers: Ask lots of questions, not just about production, but especially about finances. Be generous in supporting other farm businesses in your community.
Establishing strong ties with the agricultural community will give you access to resources for support and information. A solid social network can help you make better decisions and grow your farm business faster.
Source: Cornell University