Starting to Farm on Your Property? Here's 5 Things You'll Need
Farming is one of the oldest human pursuits. The ability to produce food at home instead of having to stay on the move to find it has enabled the development of human civilization. If you have some land that you want to start using for this time-honored purpose, here are five things that you’ll need.
Whether you have livestock on your farm or not, you will probably need some fencing. Crops of all kinds attract wildlife and the occasional escaped animal from other farms. That’s reason enough to build a fence at least around the boundary of your property. If you have cattle, horses, or other animals of your own, you will also need to subdivide their grazing areas for maximum efficiency.
Unless you expect to plant and care for all your crops by hand, you’ll need some mechanical equipment. Of course, this will start with a tractor of adequate size and horsepower to operate the other things you will use like hay balers, seeding machines, and plows. Use online resources to find used equipment to get you started at a lower cost. Connect with a handy neighbor who can teach you basic maintenance and repair.
Dressing for the farm isn’t just about looking the part. Heavy boots are to protect your feet and ankles from everything from cow hooves to dropped buckets of feed. Wide-brimmed hats minimize strain on your eyes and protect you from excess UV exposure. Sturdy leather gloves prevent injuries and blisters, and no farmer’s pocket should be without a good knife. You’ll use it more than you ever imagined.
Whether it’s a barn, a shed, or a shop, you need some type of structure to house your equipment, tools, and implements. You may also need additional space to store large amounts of harvested crops like hay. Keeping these valuable assets indoors will improve crop values, extend the useful life of equipment, and reduce the risk of theft. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you do need a building.
The last thing to put in place is a good business system. Tracking your expenses and revenues is vital to any business, even if it’s a farm that you’re just operating for fun. Would it be cheaper to buy grain for your cattle or grow it yourself? The only way to know is to document your finances. You’ll also need this information at tax time.
Farming is a respected and important profession. You can be a part of that, even if you are just dabbling. For it to be a positive experience, though, you’ll need these basic things in place.