Agriculture is one of the most important industries in the world. Apart from producing food, farming can be structured as a reputable and manageable business. The structure of the agricultural world has shifted in the past century, agribusiness has become the new norm and it’s becoming more popular to venture into the well-structured farming business.
Gone are the days when farming was done on a small scale, these days it has become popular that farming could be done as a business, and be taken seriously as such. Clear planning, goal setting, evaluation, and execution are required such that any business would thrive. Here we are going to discuss how to start, manage and grow your agricultural business.
Why start a farming business?
People usually start a farming business for the reasons they would start any other business, to make money. What makes every business viable, is to have an innovative idea, make a new twist to an old concept, see a void, and then fill it. Some farmers are born with the desire to connect with the land, every dream is driven by passion. Like any other business, farming can be a calling and a career.
Steps to starting the farming business from the ground up.
The process of starting a farming business is straightforward but it’s not something that can be done overnight. The idea is lucrative, but it takes time to learn how to run the farm, plan your crops as well as the marketing strategy.
Here are some of the actionable steps that will walk you through how to farm like a pro:
1. Choose something to produce
As a farmer, the first step in starting a farm is deciding what you want to produce. What you plan to produce will weigh heavily on your preferences and interests as a farmer.
Sustainability is also important to you as a farmer, it’s more advisable to grow crops in a fashion that promotes biodiversity. You can grow or raise any plant or animal as long as circumstances permits.
Ultimately, you will want to consider what sort of agricultural products will provide the return on investment that you are hoping for with your small farm.
2. Learn about your product
In farming learning, as you go has been proven to be a disaster. For farmers learning about your products is essential. Some colleges and universities offer degrees or certificates in agriculture. It is important to first learn how to farm and then plan a career in Agriculture. If the formal education route is not interesting to you, could work as an apprentice and learn about farming. Reading magazines, and books about farming can also help.
3. Figure out your finances
Like any other business, you would need funds to get started. You’ll need land, equipment, labor, licensing, insurance, and more. There are a few ways to fund a small farm. The simplest way is to buy the farm cash or investors so you would make your dream a reality. Although funding for an agricultural business can come from a variety of sources, there are three general pots of money available to both producers and processors to help support growth, expansion, and research activities. Agricultural businesses can leverage private equity funding, government funding, and traditional financing (e.g., bank financing) to help support their growth objectives
4. Strategize and prepare
How you plan to prepare your land depends on what you want to produce. If you are growing crops, you have to ensure the fertility of your land. You may spend a few years fertilizing your land naturally with compost and manure. Alternatively, you can use chemical fertilizers. Choosing how to enrich your soil will go back to your thoughts on sustainability. During your agricultural education for your small business, you will learn about crop rotation. If you are buying land that has been farmed for years, you will need to determine which crops to plant next. You will likely plan and strategize a few years out based on crop rotation patterns. Irrigation is something to take into consideration when you’re starting, as well. If you are raising livestock, you must build the appropriate stables. Whether you’re raising livestock for meat, eggs, milk, wool, or other byproducts will determine what sort of structure you will build.
5. Implement Your Farming Business Plan
You’ve created your business plan, and now it’s time to take action. It is important to go into this journey with some flexibility. Remember to have backup options so that you’re covered no matter what happens. The conditions have to be just right for a successful harvest. Here are a few things to consider:
- What type of climate is best for my crop?
- Which regions have this type of climate?
- Is the land fertile and rich in the appropriate nutrients?
- How much rain does the area get? Does it flood easily?
- If it’s dry, is it possible to irrigate the land?
- How easy will the fields be to work in?
- Is the land safe for all of the employees and animals (if applicable)?
6. Market Your Products
How you market your products will be determined by who you plan to sell them to. There are a few things to consider when identifying the target audience for your business
You have to put into consideration if the product is sold as an ingredient to a manufacturer or if you would be selling to stores or directly or consumers. Marketing online is also strategic, and can also be viable if there is an option for customers to pay online.