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It’s hard to be successful at farming or any other enterprise without a plan.Many hail the romanticism of farming, but in reality, farming is a business, in most cases, a multimillion dollar business, and one that often involves multiple generations or partners.
While farm workers are looking for a paycheck, the number one reason they stay, according to the experts, is job satisfaction.
Periodic assessments that involve healthy discussions about job expectations and challenges will help to reduce turnover and keep the operation running smoothly.
Diversification can be key to the survival of today’s farming operation.
Existing farms can have an advantage in niche markets.
Depending on the source, business plans can be structured in different ways, but each seeks to accurately depict what your business is all about in both words and financial numbers.
“A good business-planning process will put you through the paces of assessing the realities: exploring markets, looking at your assets, and thinking about what you can realistically do with your time and skills,” says Jody Padgham, editor of (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Ed Service, 2012).Like any farming operation, having a successful agriculture side business is dependent on producing a consistent quality product. There are any number of crops that can fit into an existing operation, it’s a matter of determining which one is right for you. For new farmers obtaining adequate working capital can be one of their greatest obstacles.Options range from non-GMO and heirloom varieties of traditional crops, to vegetables and crops like cereal rye that can also serve as a cover crop to prevent erosion during winter months. Experts estimate entering into a Midwest grain farming business with no family backing could require upwards of million. Even a combination of owned and rented land at today’s prices quickly reaches an astronomical number. Farmers must be able to weather drought and market fluctuations as they work through day-to-day and year-to-year operations.Some find that a SWOT analysis can help facilitate the process.The SWOT approach outlines Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to the farming operation, as it increases communication amongst family and other members of the business team.Often it’s a matter of making a small change in production or marketing strategies.Sometimes it involves identifying a creative local market or adapting agriculture business ideas picked up from other farmers.Undoubtedly, when beginning farmers get started, it’s their passion for feeding the world good food and taking care of the land that drives their ventures.However, farming is a tough business, and without a solid business plan, it can be difficult for a first-time farmer to make ends meet.Managing a farm business goes beyond the annual profit/loss.It’s more than controlling costs or even knowing how to get the most benefit from tax laws.