Can you make a career farming?

Farming, its not easy, if it was, everyone would do it. Thats why only a few can handle it. Honestly, I’d never make it as a farmer and thats why I appreciate people like my husband and the ones that are able to handle it.

First of all, you need to know how to manage a business. Many don’t realize it, but you are running a full-time business. Managing people, paperwork, crops, equipment, more paperwork, taxes and the phone calls, good Lord the phone calls. It requires learning the market, how to buy, sell and when to hold on to your crop. Computer work is a must. Making spreadsheets to see what you have in and whats going out as far as grain, payments and even land rent. Tech savvy is nearly a must.

Managing a crew isn’t easy. Everyone needs to stay busy and sometimes when the weather isn’t cooperating you’ll need to find a way to keep them busy, after all they want their paycheck at the end of the week. The crew may not always get along, so thats when the management and people skills come in. Dissolving common disputes between the workers will happen, just like any job. Keeping your crew safe is the upmost important thing though. You want your crew going home safe, which requires those safety talks.

Equipment purchases. Going shopping for new equipment is fun, until they show you those numbers. For instance, a new John Deere 8345R tractor which is a fairly common tractor for a good size farm, has a price tag of $408,000. So theres the tractor, but its not much good without an attachment. You’ll need a plow, planter, grain drill, fertilizer of some sort, sprayer and some way to move dirt around for terraces and drainage usually. Now granted, if you’re first starting out, you can rent all these things or even hire someone to do it. That list is just an example to show it takes money to make money in farming. You can easily get yourself in a hole, thats where the business management comes in, and a good relationship with your banker helps too!

Board member. Several farmers are on their local and even state level boards. Its good to be in the know about whats going on in the Agriculture world. Politics actually have quite an influence in the Ag world.

Weather, it doesn’t always cooperate. When you finally get your plan together on what you’ll plant, when you’ll plant it and how, good ol Mother Nature will typically show you who’s boss of that plan. She can either help or hurt your plan. Farming is a gamble. It’s also rewarding, so don’t get discouraged.

Weather is usually why you’ll need a good relationship with your crop insurance. They are there to help you when you need it. Which will also bring me back to the first part, PAPERWORK! Filing is SO important. Organization is key, keep your paperwork organized, I literally can’t stress that enough. I may also know firsthand how important it is, whoops!

The average age of the U.S. farmer has grown from 50.5 years to 58.3 years old.

Obviously with that statistic it shows the need for farmers is starting to be a concern. The younger generation needs to know its ok to go into a field of work that requires getting your hands dirty! Some people are made for it and have a passion for it. I’ve talked to many people, all ages and diversities that have wished they would’ve gotten into it, but just didn’t know where to start or if their family would approve of such a job. Farming is rewarding and its pretty dang important, after all you’re growing food that we kinda need to survive.

There’s a lot to farming, yes, but it’s been such an amazing way to raise kids. I feel like it really shows kids how different life can be. You don’t NEED an 8-5 job to make it in life. You don’t need a fast paced city life to be successful. Skilled labor and common sense are so rare these days and I feel like those two things are lacking in this world, but are making a comeback. When I graduated High School 16 years ago, you were basically going to be a nobody without a college degree, now, the need for skilled labor and common sense is high in demand. It’s ok to not wear a uniform to your job everyday, it’s ok to not have a job with a salary, vacation time, insurance and that typical 40 hour week. Some people are molded differently thank God, and thats what makes the world go round. It takes all kinds of kinds.

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