The farmers year begin with proper planning, projections and gathering of information required for a successful farming season. So what farming tips does the farmer need for his enterprise to thrive?
The article is an attempt to list out issues or a quick checklist for the farmer. This will help the farmer watch over his investment properly ensuring that his investment yields the desired returns.
Some farming tips or key steps for a successful farming season include;
1) Identify the land to be used for crop production
2) Conduct a field assessment putting into consideration various risk factors and production factors such as good road network, nearness to market, accessibility of input supplies
3) Conduct a soil test for nutrient and soil borne pathogens
4) Invite an agronomist to assist with the interpretation of results and best practices for effective outcome.
5) Decide on which crop to grow based on the soil test result.
6) Design a project implementation plan to guide you and your workers throughout the production cycle.
You have dreamt of becoming a successful farmer, and you are prepared to venture into the ever-changing world of farming business.
All that is left is to trade in your current job or day-to-day engagements for farming as a profession. Venturing into farming is not an easy decision to make. Any experienced farmer will tell you that pursuing farming requires learning some critical lessons to ensure you’re on the right path to agricultural and economic freedom.
While following proven steps may not always guarantee success, based on my experience, it takes hard work, perseverance and intelligent adaptation to new farming innovations to be a successful farmer. Starting out will not be easy. Let’s have a look at some of the top farming tips you should consider when starting a small-scale farm.
Farming Tips: Develop a thoughtful plan
Successful farming operations are based on diligent planning. A plan will help you decide what type of farming you want to engage in, where and how you will do it. My first vegetable farming business didn’t work out well due to simply not having a well-thought-out plan on what goes into proper land preparation. You need to explore different options and pick one that suits you best and go ahead and seek some advice from already established farmers.
Any farming plan must include proper risk management. People get sick, equipment can break down, accidents can happen and the weather is largely unpredictable. In short, anything can happen, so plan for the worst. Proper planning and diligent execution of all on-farm and off-farm activities will determine your success or otherwise on the farm.
Get the right farming equipment
Here is another farming tip. You cannot start farming without the right farming equipment. Whether you are venturing into small-scale farming, large-scale farming, livestock farming or poultry farming, you need the right investments before starting out. This is where most new farmers fail. According to few construction companies, think through your major purchases, determine how best to finance them and how that investment will benefit you and your farm.
Farming Tips: Identify your target market
So you want to grow watermelons, start a vegetable selling business or raise cattle? Maybe you just want to target the local market as I had planned for my first vegetable farming business. But have you done your research well? How will you find sustainable customers? What will you do if they buy all your farm produce? What if they don’t buy and you have got a barn full of a harvest?
You need to figure out where you’re going to sell your products, who will buy them and how you’re going to do it. Once you’ve done that, create a backup plan, because you’ll certainly need it. Without an appropriate market to sell to, you’ll make losses. A solid marketing plan is critical before you even think of planting your first seed or buying your first cow.
Farming Tips: Do what you love
Everyone agrees that farming is hard work. So, like me, do yourself a favor and grow something that you love. Like, do you love passion fruits? Then grow passion fruits. So long as you’re matching your land or farm to its suited use, you’ll be on the right path to gaining some meaningful steps forward. It may not seem true, but many of us are driven by finances and so-called traditions rather than our passion when it comes to making farming decisions.
Have reasonable goals
Yes, we all want to be ambitious, but as an Entrepreneur article on how to start farming notes, you need to have reasonable goals if you want to be successful. Remember that a farmer is a businessman first and farmer second. You may be talented, have that visionary plan or even have the finances to bankroll a new farming venture, but you need to start out small and have reasonable goals that are achievable. Find your pace and set goals that you can track.
Manage your cash flow
It’s very important that you track your income and expenditure. Keep all your receipts, invoices and all other relevant documents related to income and expenditure on your new farm. It makes sense to keep records so you can easily track transactions and your financial progress. This way, you can know which months have the highest income and demand for money.
Learn, ask questions and share your knowledge
If you don’t like reading and learning, it’s time things changed. Farming is a progressive venture where learning new skills, farming techniques and innovations as well as sharing knowledge is part of day-to-day life. Don’t just pick up a new skill and apply it. Ask questions regarding how best you can use it to benefit you. There are numerous farm-based training programs where you can learn much more about farming, according to experts at Beginningfarmers.org.
Conclusively, farming is one of the most rewarding ventures today, but it takes good planning, research, training and constant adaptation to changes to be successful. As one old farmer once told me, there’s no better-refined group of people in this world than those who call themselves farmers.
Adapted from Sonya Harris, YPARD 2017
Don’t Forget To Keep Farm Records
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