Not everyone can be a farmer. Just knowing how to farm or even run a farm doesn’t necessarily make you a farmer. You can dress like a farmer, act like a farmer, even sound like a farmer, but if you do all these or all of these things, does it really make you a farmer, or just some distorted stereotype or prejudice about what you think farmers really are? is?
To be successful, a farmer needs to know a lot about his land and the products he plans to grow. Every plant and animal is a complex organism. For example, those who want to succeed in wheat, rye, corn, tobacco, or cotton should be familiar with the characteristics of the plant, its germination and growth, the diseases and lesions to which it is susceptible, and the methods of controlling them.
The dairy farmer and the farmer must be familiar with the characteristics of their livestock; their feed requirements, their breeding habits and their common diseases. Similarly, growing fruit requires expertise in tree growth, as well as grafting, pruning, spraying and fertilizing. In addition to knowing such things, the farmer must have a sense of business, be able to sell his products where and when it is most profitable, keep proper records (to know where he is financially), and, above all, plan their production to take advantage of the most favorable markets.
General issues to consider
Climate is a key factor in determining the types of crops that can be grown, the yield of crops and the type of livestock that will thrive in the region. Some of the climatic factors that should be taken into account are the amount and distribution of precipitation during the year, the length of the growing season, the severity of winters and the possibility of such natural threats as drought, floods, hail, winds, etc.
Good soil is probably the most important element in agriculture, as it determines not only what can be grown, but also whether the harvest will be high or low. Of course, the size of the farm is very important. Half of the country’s 6 million farms produce very little for sale – in fact, only about 10 percent of total commercial output.
The size of the family-run farm is constantly increasing as more and more machinery is put into operation. For example, a farmer who uses one horse can plant an average of 5.5 hectares of row crops, such as potatoes or corn, in a ten-hour day; with two horses he can plant 11.5 hectares; but with a two-row seeder and tractor, 17 acres; and with four-row tractor equipment, 33 hectares. With the help of a horse mower, a farmer can mow about 8.5 hectares in ten-hour clay; with a tractor he can mow about 20 hectares a day.
Other factors should be considered when choosing a farm, such as whether there are good roads to transport products to market. A farm on a dirt road may be snowed in winter or unavailable in wet weather, and a farmer will not be able to market his milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and other foods until they are spoiled.
Finding a niche within the farming industry
Some of you are so focused on the vision of owning a large agricultural enterprise that you ignore the logical steps to get there. Just because you want to grow 10,000 acres doesn’t mean you can’t start with one acre. Of course, farming per hectare is MUCH different from farming 10,000, but you have to start with something.
The fact is that it does not make sense for a bank to lend millions of dollars to someone to start farming. Especially if this farmer does not plan to grow a commercial crop that other larger and more well-known operators will produce more efficiently. It’s just too risky. So does this mean that agriculture is only for those who were born in it or have a couple of million dollars to finance themselves? NO.
Instead, find a niche that will allow you to start smaller, get more margins, and increase your business from there. Want to become a great herdsman? Think of a small herd on rented pasture that you can sell directly to the consumer. Or, perhaps, a thoroughbred operation. You want to become the largest producer of hydroponic salad in the country. Find local customers looking for a better alternative and start small. Zoom in from there.
I have always loved raising pigs. When I moved to Austin, I looked at a business that would feed wild pigs trapped on Texas ranches and sell meat for dog food (you can steal it). There are countless niches in agriculture. Farmers, who now own tens of thousands of acres, usually inherited a farm that was created a couple of generations ago on less than 100 acres. Don’t compare your first step with someone else’s 1000. You have to start with something.
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How you can actually become a farmer
- Choose the particular type of farming you would like to go to.
In most cases, there are two main categories in agriculture: crops such as growing vegetables, seeds or grains, vineyards, hay and silage production and livestock, such as raising beef cattle, poultry, goats, beekeeping etc.
Organic, sustainable and even renewable agriculture is another branch of agriculture that should be taken into account when choosing. This applies to all crop and livestock production. Most, if not all, farms rely on the use of several businesses to run an existing farm. So consider this as one of your main plans.
- Visit a farmer with experience
It is strongly recommended to find those who are engaged in agriculture, similar to what you are going to do, and ask them to personally inspect their existing farms. Explore upcoming local agricultural events and visit as much as possible, there you can ask many questions, such as the weather and its impact on the farm, what they do and how they do it.
Farmer’s markets are also a great place to meet producers. You not only have the opportunity to buy their products, but also talk to them about how they get their products and about their existing farms (if any).
- Attend classes in the field that interests you.
You can attend information sessions held by various agricultural organizations, schools, expansion services. Depending on the sessions, you may want to study animal science, agribusiness, agricultural management and more, they will give you the information you need to run a farm. Such sessions may relate to the economics and finances of farms or the methods of growing and harvesting a particular crop, some sessions are free, others may require an entrance fee or permission to visit.
- Think about the need to move.
Starting an agricultural activity requires the right location, and you should know that some regions of the country are more favorable for agriculture than others. In your research, you will need to find out which place is more suitable for the type of activity that you are interested in starting.
Note that environmental conditions such as soil, climate, topography and vegetation should be taken into account. For example, a rocky area is ideal for raising livestock and hay, but not for growing crops.
- Gain work experience
Agricultural students can increase their knowledge of the industry by participating in internships, as required by some educational institutions. The internship gives students practical practical experience in agriculture. Students can seek help from school counselors or teachers in finding internship opportunities. In addition, many farmers learn their profession through on-the-job training, working with a more experienced farmer. For those without formal education, some farms offer training to teach them the skills they need to start a career in agriculture.
Seek state aid. The Competitive Grants Program for Novice and Farmers, administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, offers inexperienced farmers the opportunity to work as an intern or apprentice. This can help future farmers gain experience and learn more about the agricultural sector.
- Plant your seeds
Whether you have some experience or no experience at all, the amount and volume of work on a farm can be huge. If you want to become a farmer, you can learn a lot! Most farmers start their careers as assistants or trainees before becoming a farm manager. Taking agricultural courses is a great way to speed up your work and learn everything you need to know about agricultural work – from how to perform specific tasks to the business side of things.
The AI Certificate in Agriculture will give you the basic skills to start working on a farm. It is ideal for those who need to get acquainted with the industry and have not yet found their feet. If you do not have practical farm experience, you will receive it when you start work, which is important to complete the course.
The OC online agriculture course will teach you broad skills relevant to the industry, but will also give you the opportunity to specialize in livestock, crops or both. You will learn how to observe and report on the weather, repair property and equipment, keep records, detect unusual diseases in plants and livestock, and operate irrigation systems, among others.