An increasing number of people look at farming from a rather romantic viewpoint. There is something about working with the earth that is incredibly appealing in these modern, gadget-oriented times, even when you consider the hard toil involved.

But for anyone wanting to embrace a rural lifestyle and start a farming business, there are a few important things to understand first. The world, most definitely, needs you – but there is a long road ahead if you want to achieve success in agriculture. Here are some golden rules for getting started in the farming industry.


Watch out for debt

A lot of farms end up disappearing from existence because they are financed by debt. Borrowing money to start a business requires a steady income, as you have to pay the money back at regular intervals.

The trouble for newcomers to the farming industry is that it can take a long time to develop the experience you need to turn over regular profit. Focus on improving your experience as much as possible, and then borrow money – doing it the other way around is more likely to result in disaster.

Sure, there is a lot of capital involved in farming, and the cost of machinery and equipment such as tractors and industrial conveyors will set you back a significant amount of money. But if you take things slowly, invest when you have saved, and look to steady growth rather than explosive expansion, you will be much better placed to enjoy a thriving business for many years to come.


Consider your market

Never start a farm for the simple reason that you like the idea of milking cows or growing corn. There has to be a good reason for growing or raising those crops and livestock – it needs a place in the market.

You need to work out who is going to buy your produce, where you are going to sell it, and how you are going to offer an attractive price. Plus, of course, you will need to find a way of transporting your produce to your customers. And all this needs to be completed before you plant a single seed or visit a cattle sale.

It doesn’t matter whether you are considering a niche market or a huge, mainstream operation targeting the nation’s biggest grocery stores, you need a market -and the sales channels – to make sure your business has a future.


Embrace failure

Everyone makes mistakes, but you shouldn’t fear failure. In fact, you should be embracing it in whatever you do in life, regardless of whatever industry you are working in.

For the farming industry, it’s important to remember that failure is inevitable. And not only that, it is incredibly important in the process of building up a successful and thriving agricultural lifestyle.

You can’t rely on the weather to remain clement enough to provide good crops every season. You can’t expect your livestock to go through cycle after cycle without contracting nasty, infectious diseases. And you never know when a plague of locusts or any other pest will turn up on your doorstep and destroy everything you have.

What failure can do, however, is teach you valuable lessons, make you think about where you have gone wrong, and ensure you never make the same mistake again.

Brian McKay

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