The increasing popularity for locally-grown organic produce has seen a massive increase in the number of people establishing small specialty farms. Food is essential for all life to survive and the planet needs nutritious food from people who genuinely care about the our health and the health of the environment. What better way to live and show that you care than to have your own organic farm that is economical and agricultural sustainable.
The biggest challenge facing new farmers is finding suitable land to get started. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available for securing the right tract of farm land to suit your needs that may not cost you as much as you think.
- Buying Farm Land
The most obvious option is to head into your bank and borrow the money you need to buy farm land. Unfortunately, lending policies with many banks and financial institutions can be quite strict, so it’s not always possible for some people to get a loan application approved
If you can get your loan approved, think carefully about how much your business really needs to get started. You’ll need enough to cover the purchase of your land, equipment, and machinery. Your farm will also need a reliable off-road pick-up with good towing capacity, like the RAM 2500 or something similar, as well as making sure you have enough operating capital put aside to cover expenses until you start generating money.
You can also check whether you’re eligible to apply for financial assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA offers a Direct Farm Ownership Program, as well as a Value Added Producer Grants Program that could be the ideal solution for obtaining your farm land. There are also a range of loan programs specifically to assist new farmers with buying land.
- Renting Farm Land
The Farmland Information Center provides plenty of great tips and advice about leasing your farm land instead of buying it. Renting the land is an ideal way for a fledgling farm or ranch business to get started without needing a huge amount of capital up front.
Paying rent payments to a landlord can be a much more affordable option for many farmers. It’s also the ideal way to check whether a particular crop or agricultural business idea is viable before diving into debt.
- Borrow Farm Land
Crop-share farming is another option open for new farmers. The land owner provides the land, while the crop-share farmer provides the labor and machinery.
The biggest benefit to new farmers with crop sharing is that there are no cash payments made while crops are being cultivated and grown. The crop-share farmer also doesn’t have the risk of keeping up with loan repayments on a large mortgage, so it’s a viable solution for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of cash to get started.
When crops are harvested, the land owner receives 50% of the proceeds derived from sales. The crop-share farmer keeps the remaining 50%, which can then be re-invested back into the business to purchase new machinery or equipment, or to fund future business growth and expansion.
There are plenty of options available for buying, renting, or borrowing farmland to get started. The key is to weigh up each option and understand how each one could impact your future business goals. Then choose the one that suits your needs best.
Toby White was raised on a small family farm which he took over several years ago and has built up with the help of his brother and uncle. He wants to encourage others, particularly the younger generation, to take up farming and writes about the industry in his online articles.
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