If you want to be a small farmer, chances are you’re not dreaming of business management, bookkeeping and the like. Unfortunately, if you want to make money on a small farm, these are things you must keep in mind. A small farm is a business and should be run as such. In this article, we provide 7 smart tips to help you make your farm or homestead profitable. Read on to learn more on how to make a small farm profitable.
What You'll Learn Today
7 Tips To Make Your Farm Or Homestead Profitable
1. Make good plans
As with any business, you’ll need a business plan if you are to succeed. A good business plan consists of an overarching goal and the smaller steps or objectives you’ll need to take to attain that goal. It should also identify the tools that you’ll need to obtain each objective.
Your well written business plan will act as a roadmap for you. It will help you stay on track, accomplishing one success after another to arrive at your final destination.
Additionally, having a good business plan and being able to demonstrate that you are following it carefully can support you in getting financing and other important assistance, if you have limited financial resources yourself.
2. Know your market
Before you ever put a seed in the ground, identify your customers and know what they are likely to buy. Naturally, it’s helpful to look around and see what farmers in your area are growing successfully, but remember if they’re growing it, they may be meeting the needs of the market.
In addition to taking the time to get to know your neighbors, you should spend some weekend days scoping out your local farmers’ market. Take note of the best selling plants, baked goods, meat and other products on offer.
Setting up a website is a good way to get to know your potential customers and find out what they are likely to buy. It can also be a good way to sell your produce, crafts and other farm items. Many modern farmers find it efficient and profitable to take orders online and then deliver personally or by commercial carrier.
Take careful note of what you learn, and even after you have started farming, keep good sales records so that you can tweak your planting and harvesting plans.
3. Take everything into consideration when planting a crop
In addition to meeting market demands, you’ll need to think about a number of different factors when choosing your crops. You must understand the local weather, know your soil and have the right equipment on hand to deal with the crop you wish to plant.
Furthermore, you’ll need to study that crop to be sure that you know how to take care of it. You’ll find that your local Agricultural Extension office is an excellent resource.
Get to know your County Agent as a source of information and advice specific to your needs. Your county extension office can also give you good advice on how to select the farm animals that are profitable in your specific situation.
4. Don’t overdo it!
You may be tempted to buy a lot of expensive equipment to be sure that you have everything you need to get going on your farm. Be careful, this can be a financial trap.
It’s better to carefully select and purchase a few dependable pieces of equipment for cash than to over-commit yourself for financed big machinery.
Additionally, it’s wiser to get a small start with the bare minimum to figure out exactly what you’ll need in the long run.
5. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
A monocrop is a bad idea in lots of ways. As you’re starting out, choose several different types of crops that you can grow simultaneously and rotate from one season to the next.
Crop diversification is good insurance against catastrophic loss. If you plant all one thing, you could easily lose all of it. If you plant several different crops, you’ll have something to fall back on.
6. Keep good records
Be sure to take good notes on your own production practices, your successes and your failures. Take note of the weather, the soil conditions and every other factor that affects your operation. Having accurate records will help you make good plans.
Naturally, you’ll also want to keep excellent financial records. This can help you avoid inefficiency and will ultimately increase your profits.
7. Never stop learning
Farming is a day-in-day-out activity, but you must find a way to set aside time to study new techniques and information online, in magazines and books and by attending important farm conferences.
Talk with local farmers to learn what has and has not been working for them, and to build good cooperative relationships.
Having good friends will give you someone to fall back on if you should fall ill or simply wish to attend a farming conference. Remember to always return the favor!