7 Tips for Young Farmers to Succeed in Farming
When you’re just starting out farming, the process can be overwhelming if not properly planned out at the initial stage. There are different areas you need to keep track to stay on top of everything. Here are a few tips for managing your operation and becoming more effective.
1. Track details and keep records. The more you know about your business the better. Don’t try and keep track of everything in your head. Write it down. Be organized with all your records, including accounting, Farm Service records, field records, pasture rotation and banker records. Keep a record of your short-term and long-term goals so you can refer back to them often.
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2. Create a budget. You should have a whole-farm budget and a budget by enterprise. Your budget is a way to estimate the income, expenses and profitability of the farm and each enterprise. This information gives you a baseline to follow for decisionmaking and monitoring to make sure you are on track with where you need to be. Your budget should reflect the reality of your starting small, it doesn’t have to be big that you can’t finance it at the starting stage.
3. Know costs and breakeven per unit. Once you have created a budget, you need to know costs and breakeven per bird, per crates of egg, bushel, per acre and per head. Knowing this information, you can market your production more effectively and adjust your commodity mix accordingly. Make sure to include your own salary as expenses, taxes if applicable
4. Create a cash-flow projection. This will help you understand the timing of when money is coming in and when payments are due for planning purposes. It allows you to determine if you have enough money to cover obligations, and, if necessary, look for other sources of revenue.
5. Have a written marketing plan. You need to have a marketing and risk management strategy written down. You don’t necessarily need a 20-page plan but you need to have a written plan. Be thinking about options. This will make you hold yourself accountable and shows your lender or business partners you know what you’re doing.
5. Shop around for good deals with vendors. You don’t have to just to take what they offer. Look for discounts and consider all potential sellers. Even small savings on DOC, seed, fertilizer or other purchases can add up over time.
6. Get a mentor or mentors. Tap into knowledge from family members or other farmers. You might do this as part of a group or association. Attend learning sessions and always be on the lookout for new information you can turn into valuable knowledge for your operation. This will help you to get there faster with less mistakes.
7. Surround yourself with professionals. Don’t be afraid to hire a crop consultant, marketing consultant, financial consultant, nutritionist, veterinarian, etc, as the the farming business grow.