Guest post by Tyler Burysek
In today’s agriculture industry, many young farmers dream of starting their own operation.
Starting your own farming operation can bring excitement and anticipation for everyone involved, however, it can also trigger nervousness, fear and many questions.
How to build capital?
How do I maximize profits?
What kinds of sacrifices will I make?
These questions often hinder beginning farmers in early decision making processes.
Most automatically place limitations on themselves that prevent them from maximizing the potential of their operation.
For me, “beginning” or starting anything is the hardest step in any process. So if you are like me, here are 3 tips that could prove useful to you as a beginning farmer:
1. Keep GOOD Records.
Record keeping is the primary difference between successful farming operations and ones that fail. PERIOD!
Farmers who keep good records have a better handle of their operations and are able to analyze markets more efficiently to maximize their profits.
Farmers who do not keep records don’t know about their operations enough to make smart decisions. These people usually make off-the-cuff decisions that can prove to be very detrimental to their livelihood.
How do I keep good records?
Extension offices usually offer courses throughout the year to help farmers better their record keeping abilities.
If you were to get a term loan with me through the USDA Farm Service Agency, you would be required to take some form of financial training or “record keeping” within the first two years.
2. Don’t take on too much!
Frequently, a young farmer will view (especially in today’s markets) current cash grain bids from area elevators or cattle selling for extremely high prices.
Impulsively, most young farmers get the idea that they can immediately take advantage of markets by going out and planting 500 acres of corn or purchasing 250 head of feeder steers for resale.
Going from nothing to something is highly unlikely in any industry, especially agriculture.
If you aren’t an established enterprise with a lot of net worth and built-up equity, then you will have no chance of even starting an operation of this magnitude!
Lenders lend capital to those that have a “feasible” plan.
So how much should you do?
Do what you are comfortable with. Do what you can afford.
Some things in life aren’t worth the stress and worrying that they create, particularly in agriculture.
Talk the decision over with your family and people whose opinion you respect. Visit area lenders such as banks or other credit agencies to see what kind of financing they can offer.
3. Have a plan. Set some goals.
Most people know what they want to do, however, some jump in blindly.
Agriculture is an intensive industry that requires a lot of attention to detail.
Whether you are fertilizing crops, vaccinating cattle, or milking a dairy herd; you are in control of the details. Therefore, your actions directly influence the success of your operation.
Goals? Yes, goals.
Where do you want to be in one year? Two? Five? How about ten?
Set the mark of where you want to be and set feasible goals to reach your objective.
You want to have 50 head of milking cows by year three? Plan each year to hold heifers back or to buy replacements within your financial means.
You may not reach all of your goals, but the closer you get to reaching them; the better your operation will be.
A new era in agriculture:
America’s agriculture industry is getting old.
The people who have taught us how to cut hay or notch pigs are fading away. Cattle numbers are depleting and acreage being put into croplands is decreasing.
However, today’s technology is on agriculture’s side.
With a little initiative, beginning farmers can pave the way for a new era in agriculture.
Agriculture is a very rewarding industry.
There is no feeling like harvesting the crop in the fall that YOU planted in the spring. Nothing can match how good it feels to see a heifer that YOU raised have her first calf.
YOU will invest time, emotion, and money into agriculture.
We talk all of the time about “maximizing our profits”, but I truly believe “maximizing our happiness” through agriculture is the foundation of having a successful enterprise.
Farming is truly a “risky business,” but it sure can make for a wonderful life.