The Beginners Guide to Buying a Farm
This is the beginners guide to buying a farm. If you want to or are thinking about buying a farm, then you’re in the right place. This is a comprehensive guide to buying a farm.
Before my husband and I were married, we were anxious to find a farm of our own. We dreamt of raising a family on some type of farmstead, our kids could play and work alongside us, and we would be able to grow our own business – along with some type of commodity. After many failed attempts to find farmland of our own, we found a strawberry farm for sale in the most picture-perfect setting and we knew that is just where God wanted us to be.
We both grew up on farms, Tim a dairy farm turned beef and grain, and me a corn, soybean and wheat farm. We had no idea what it would take to produce strawberries yet we were eager to learn. That is why if you find yourself yearning for the simple yet demanding life on a farm, I hope you’ll learn a few of the keys to success I’ve learned so far in this journey.
What is your niche?
Before you think about buying a farm, you’ll want to determine what it is you’re going to grow/raise and make money from.
Since our farm’s commodity was already determined (strawberries) it helped us gain insight from the previous owners as to how we would make it cash flow.
Look around and see what other farms are doing in your area. Is there market share available in their niche? If not, what other products/services could you be producing that would be new and original yet sustainable in your area?
How to get started with buying a farm.
Here is what you’ll need to get started:
- Land – Farms come in all different shapes and sizes from 1 acre to 1,000. Do you have land available or is there some for sale?
- Capital – If you’re just getting started and you need to buy land, buildings, supplies, animals, feed, seed, etc. you’ll either need your own start up money or borrow from a lender.
- Business Plan – Having a plan will help you and your lender (if needed) to see how your business will operate.
- Marketing Plan – How will you sell your product(s) and make money? If you’re going to borrow money from a lender they’ll need to know this.
How will you be successful in farming?
- Knowing how to make basic business decisions
- Understanding of how markets work – supply and demand as well as consumer driven
Common Questions/FAQ About Buying a Farm?
What do I need to know about farming?
- You do not need to be an expert when it comes to farming. I certainly am not. If you have a desire to learn and are willing to work hard, you can and will learn what you need to know. We’re still learning new techniques when it comes to business management, marketing, cropping, finances, etc. every single day, and you can too.
Where can I get more help?
- There are a lot of resources available to learn more about farming. Here are my top 3:
- Part of our purchase agreement for our farm was that the previous owners would mentor us through the first year. We could not have done it without them! It was a great way for us to gain the knowledge we need especially during the busy harvest season when you don’t know what to expect!
How can I find land?
- A short online search of “Land for Sale+Near me” or using your zip code can help – we found our farm for sale online!
- Using the resources above or even talking with other local farmers.
Is farming hard?
- Yes, mentally, physically, and emotionally it is hard. But if you love being outdoors, getting physical activity and watching the circle of life play out right in front of you every year, it is so rewarding.
Where can I find capital to loan?
- We cannot say enough good things about the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). They offer ownership and operating loans at reduced rates for beginning farmers.
Where should I sell my goods?
- It really depends on your farms business model, and what products you are going to sell. For us, we invite customers to our farm to enjoy the experience of picking their own produce. It saves on labor cost and is a unique was to sell our goods. There are also farmers markets, and even online.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Farming.
- Farming is a lifestyle as much as it is a business. From sun up to sun down, you’re busy working either out in the field, barn or in your home office. Farming is not for everyone, but it can be for anyone who will work hard and dedicate themselves to growing food responsibly.
- Do you dream of owning your own farm? What questions do you have? Drop them in the comments below!