Can a new farmer make it?

Old 11-16-06, 10:47 AM
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Can a new farmer make it?

I want to start my own part time farming operation. Can a new guy make it work in today's world? I used to farm 10 years ago with the help of my dad. It was tough but we loved it. Then, for personal reasons dad went to work in town and quit farming so I did the same. This might be the wrong forum for this unless someone has a suggestion for another forum....
Old 11-16-06, 02:44 PM
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I don't know if there are any full time farmers that frequent these forums - they are probably too busy working an underappreciated, underpayed job.

The few farmers that I personally know all have another source of income, some with a job in town and others with a retirement income.
Old 11-16-06, 05:16 PM
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Can a new farmer make it?

If you know what you are doing and do not have a lot of overhead (land mortgage, equipment payments, boat payments, ex-wives, etc.), you have a chance.

If you have overhead and a bad year, you can get wiped out. Bad years can come every three or four years in agriculture. That is the reason it is now a business for those that can control the finances, really dedicated and can find a way to survive the bad years and enjoy the good.

Old 11-17-06, 09:35 AM
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small scale farming

I'm not a farmer, but your question interested me. There was just a story in the Washington Post, which I couldn't find on-line because it was probably 2 weeks or more ago, but it was about local farmers who are making it by selling speciality crops to restaurants and farmers' markets. Mostly veggies, I believe. But there was also another article a couple months back (I read the food section a lot) about farmers who were specializing in products for the immigrant market which were not available readily or not available at all. It sounds like there is opportunity but that you would need to do research to see what the need is. And then you might have to align with farmer's markets until you have an audience and can sell directly to restaurants. The restaurants these farmers were selling to were high end restaurants and need quality and/or unusual product.
Old 11-17-06, 09:43 AM
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Cilla is talking about niche marketing. These farmers found a niche where there was a need for product and are making money providing it.
Old 11-17-06, 01:33 PM
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A good source of info would be your local Cooperative Extension Service and your Dept. of Agriculture. Find out if there is a local Farmer's Association. If so, attend a meeting and talk with other farmers and what they produce. Most of the farmers in my area are into beef cattle. There are few who grow veggies for the local farmer's market.

By producing diverse crops, you may stand a better chance in overcoming down years. Large farms tend to focus on one major crop, which can be troublesome in bad years. What crops were you considering? What is typically grown in your area? With the trend for organic foods, organic farming may be a niche.

You can visit some farmers in your area and talk with them about the farming industry and where they think it is headed in the future. Visit local fairs and talk with farmers there. And, you can do a lot of internet research.

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