What You Should Know Before Starting a Farm on Your New England Property
November 11, 2020 | Kirk Callender
Farming is the backbone of American society. It is wonderful to be self-sufficient and create your wealth by providing food to people nationwide. While some people think the average farmer lives in Nebraska or Kansas, there are many small farmers in the New England area.
However, it can be difficult to know how to start being a farmer yourself. There are many groups and resources for New England farmers to look at before they invest in a farming career. Farming is a rocky business for some people, but preparing beforehand can save you a lot of grief.
Join a Group of Farmers
There is strength in numbers. Talking with other farmers through social media or agricultural union meetings can give you a sense of the lifestyle. Farmers like to join groups that tell them what techniques they are using, and can communicate with each other on problems they face. Groups can hold farmer’s market events and get local attendance up.
Some farmers join a CSA (community supported agriculture). This is where local spenders will be an investment to have access to your crops—giving you a steady stream of customers. There are problems in relying on the community this way, and it may be a short-term investment.
Do Your Research
Before you venture into any new career, you need to be aware of the current state of the business. Farming has fluctuating rise and fall of importance, making it more unstable than other career paths. There is also a need to understand agricultural science to increase the number of crops you receive each year.
Despite what some people believe, modern day farmers use expert levels of technology. Much of it needs to be programmed to automatically feed animals, analyze weather patterns, and can monitor temperature in their barns with the touch of an app. Farmers today are very educated people.
Think About Raising Farm Animals
Farm animals can be fantastic long-term investments. Animals produce eggs, milk, meat, and wool depending on what you have in your barn. But farmers need to think carefully about their individual situation before they buy into this market. Thankfully, there are several factors to help you make your choice.
Not only should you think about what would make you the most money, but you need to analyze the space you have, their food consumption, and how easy they will be to protect. Chickens and ducks are some of the best for these factors. Cows are great investments if you have the land for them. Goats are also great producers, but have unruly behavior. Look into which animals work for you.
Use the Right Equipment
Researching different equipment options for your potential farm is another smart move to make. The technologies mentioned can help you monitor your barn’s temperature (as well as other helpful features) from your phone. Technological advancements have expanded the capability of farmers to make a profit and do their job safely.
For example, a tractor canopy can reduce the risks of sun exposure such as skin cancer. Make sure you get one of these. You might also want to buy some technology that makes your harvesting and watering processes easier. Invest in gardening accessories to make your life easier.
Pick Your Crops
Another obviously important thing to think about: What crops do you want to grow on your farm? Much like animals, you are going to want to pick crops that are cost-effective. You also need to consider the climate you are living in. New England weather and land is not always well-suited to some crops.
Potatoes are one of the favorite crops to plant—as they are easy to profit from. Cabbage and corn are also popular, as are some kinds of bean. If you want to ditch food crops altogether, tree farms are also easy ways to make money.
As a farmer, you must be aware of how to use the weather to your advantage. Generally, the New England area faces some of the roughest winters in the country, but has spectacular fall harvest weather. Farmers may not be able to control the weather, but they can learn to work with it.
For example, analyzing the humidity level and moisture of your soil in your town can prepare you to protect your crops from flooding. Wind speed and direction and precipitation can point to signs of a terrible storm approaching. Learning weather patterns can help you save a ton of money.
Allocate Time and Work
You also should think about how much time you are able to work on the farm each day. Not only that, but figuring out what the role of your family and community should be. Farming is hard work, and may require early mornings and late nights to be profitable. The whole family may have to pitch in.
In smaller New England communities, farmers may hire some high school workers to help harvest crops in the fall. This can take some of the burden off you. Figuring out the best way to allocate your work and establish your work week will be a key in becoming a successful farmer.
A big problem some new farmers face is they have the equipment to farm, but they do not have the necessary storage or buildings to keep everything pristine. To become a successful farmer, you must have a barn for your tractor and supplies. If you do have a barn and garage area, you already are setting yourself up well.
Building this storage is going to be an investment, but it can be worth it in the long run. You need to protect the other supplies you worked so hard for. Your wallet will thank you later.
Becoming a farmer probably takes more work than you previously thought. However, a job in farming is incredibly rewarding and promotes good values. Your hard work and dedication can improve the life of your community and your family.
Read this next: What New England Residents Need to Know About Home Maintenance