Farming Tips to Become a great Farmer

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Farming is the technique of growing plants. However, farming was a critical development in advancing human civilization, farming of domestic species created food leftovers that allowed people to live in cities. The history of farming began thousands of years ago. After collecting wild grains at least 105,000 years ago, developing farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago and keep goats, pigs, sheep, and cattle over 10,000 years ago. In the 20th century, industrial agriculture based on large-scale mono-culture arrived to dominate agricultural outcomes, though nearly 2 billion people still depend on agriculture.

Farmers love to nurture and watch the growth of plants; they love to keep animals; they love to work outdoors, and they love the weather, maybe even when it’s miserable. So if someone wants to become a farmer but has never grown a crop or raised Livestock before, this article will help achieve the dream of being a farmer.

Farming for Kids
Farmer and grandson at pumpkin farm

How to Become a Farmer?

To become a successful farmer, it’s better to practice and understand many things like:

1. Farming is Interesting

First, it is important to know that farming can be really interesting. Many people leave urban behind then, although they can make more money and easily without all that hard work essential to daily life in rural. Farming is a way of life; its emotional and spiritual reward is priceless.

Farmers have been in this business for decades and know how to manage everything well, so it is always good to listen to their advice and criticisms, be open to possibilities, listen well, and refrain from arguing about something they have known for many years.

2. Deciding about Projects to get into is Beneficial

Usually, there are two main categories of agricultural production to choose from:

  1. Crops, grain or seed production like; (oilseeds, cereals, and pulse crops), berry farms, vineyards, citrus and apple orchards, and vegetable production, etc.
  2. Hay and silage production; and Livestock including beef or dairy cattle, hogs (pigs), horses, sheep, goats,  poultry (turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese), beekeeping or exotic animals (ostrich, yak, muskox, deer, elk, bison, buffalo, emu, etc.).

Organic, sustainable and even regenerative farming is another sector of agriculture which covers all crop and livestock production but depends on non-conventional ways of producing such products. So also, there are economic classifications like commercial/industrial versus small, organic, sustainable or family farm).

Getting an operable farm will need the engagement of more than one enterprise. For example, a dairy farm can only be profitable by having silage, hay and grain enterprises to feed its cow herd.

A crop-only farm will often have a rotational cropping system that may pertain to growing and harvesting at least two crops per season, rotating cereal, oil seed or pulse crops every year to balance out soil fertility and quality and to meet future market projections.

Generally, the larger the farm, the more specified the enterprise. However, this is only sometimes the case. Usually, people start small in this business and then grow eventually because it is wise to spend only a little money on something that may be turned out to be wrong.

3. Networking with Some Farmers is always Helpful

Networking is everything in business; it can save time and money. But, first, researching local agriculture events and attending them can help get friends or ask questions to understand the whole experience better.

They were asking about how farmers did this and can help in better understanding and help also in bringing new ideas to flourish the business. Finally, meeting up with farmers can be amazing as it is a chance to purchase their product to try out at home, and also they may give a personal tour of their farms.

4. Research is always Needed

Good research is essential to learn about anything, so books, agricultural newspapers and magazines, podcasts, and videos can be helpful. The library is a wonderful place to start, and a bookstore is also ideal for making a collection of farming-related books; online book sites are also good to look through.

Learning every aspect of farming is the key to being successful in this business, like learning about the skills needed to perform different jobs (basic mechanical aptitude, knowing animal behavior, growth stages of crops, how to operate machinery, etc.), the potential market for the product, environmental conditions and changes of your area (soil type and quality, topography, and how to perform the many duties of the farm (feeding cattle, from how to harvest a grain crop, or bottle-raising a goat kid).

Farming for Kids
Female farmers tending sick cow at organic dairy farm

5. Attending Continuing-Education Classes May Save Time and Efforts

Attending college or university or even various information sessions about agriculture and farming is not required but recommended for better understanding and knowledge about animal sciences, agri-business, agricultural management and production, agricultural mechanical engineering, business, economic and financial management, crop sciences, animal health or pre-veterinary medicine, horticulture, etc.

Getting a degree or a certificate is recommended; however, farming does not require formal education because many aspects of it cannot be covered in the classroom.

6. Moving to the Countryside will Turn the Dream into Reality

Moving to the countryside and leaving urban residence can be a practical move; researching can help in this point also to choose the right area as many areas are more conducive to different sectors of agriculture than others.

Finding the right location considering soil, climate, topography, and vegetation, can make this business successful. For example, an area that has rocky soil is ideal for raising livestock and some hay but not growing crops.

How to get the Experience Needed to Become a Good Farmer?

Anyone who wants to become a farmer should follow some steps to play it right, like:

1. Offering Services as a Farm Worker or Laborer:

Offering services as a farm worker is the most important step toward becoming a farmer because it is a great opportunity to gain the necessary experience of forming by exchanging extra help the farmer needs. Also, like other careers starting from the bottom, working hard and getting out of the comfort zone will help make a career path.

There are many ways to start getting experience on a farm, like; getting internship opportunities or any training, then join to them.

Or getting a summer job as a research assistant for a university that holds research trials on research farms that will allow to participate in research activities and learn some duties that are very important to what to do on a farm.

Some farms need extra seasonal help and exchange this experience for learning opportunities over the busy season. In these cases, the salary payment may be at most minimum wage because most farmers have strapped for cash themselves and cannot pay an expected hourly salary well above the minimum.

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Young woman with rake in field with plants

2. Expecting to Work for Longer than a Typical 8/hours Work Day:

Farmers may work more than 8 hours per day, depending on harvest time and birthing season, hay harvesting, checking livestock, and finding one that needs immediate medical attention. In all these times, farmers need to work harder and longer than at any time.

3. Expressing a Desire to Learn:

The desire to learn can differ from successful people; only some things can be learnt without the help of teachers or mentors, so asking about how to do something is the first step to learning a new thing.

Operating a farm may take a month or two of learning many tasks like how to change the oil in the tractor, fix the combine, how to manage pastures and the livestock, make feed for livestock, get the cows prepared for milking, and even simple things like telling the difference between wheat and barley.

Experience is everything, and the more gaining experience, the better equipment will help start a farm. In addition, the experience will open the eyes to seemingly-trivial technicalities and understanding of the art and science that goes into how many enterprises are managed on the farm.

4. Flexibility and Openness to New Activities:

Flexibility is essential to get into this business, as it is important to do lots of activities through the day like, Mucking out barns and stalls of animal manure, backing up a machine, Operating a tractor, till or harvesting a crop, Killing pests like rats, mice, Climbing ladders or up on top of grain bins, Operating machinery like a skid steer, keeping on top of feeding and milking schedules, harvesting for 12 straight hours or more often with few breaks, and butchering an animal.

5. Being Physically Fit:

Farming comprises many physical activities, including crouching, lifting, pushing, kneeling, bending, pulling, etc. Only farm managers can skip some physical labor, or ask for help from others.

Learning about mechanical tasks, becoming familiar with farm machinery, using them safely, and maintaining and fixing them is also necessary. For example, the smallest farms usually rely on a rototiller and a small lot tractor, among other tools.

Farming for Kids
A rear view of tractor with farmers in vineyard, grape harvest concept.

6. Dress the Part:

Wearing a suit and elegant shoes is inappropriate clothing as walking onto a farm to start work. So instead, wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and labor boots is highly suggested, particularly those that are safety-standard approved and have steel toes. Also, invest in a good pair of work gloves to protect the hands from cuts, abrasions, or blisters in a short period or even make them dirty.

It is better to have short hair; if it’s long, it’s better to tie it back in a braid or ponytail; a hat or a cap is ideal for protection from the sun.

7. Having a Good Sense of Humour:

A great sense of humour and a positive attitude is essential to any farm, and laughter will make the day go faster, especially with all the hard work throughout the day, which may cause body aches.

8. Knowing the Right Timing for Running a Farm:

It may take a year or a few years to turn from a mere farm into an actual farmer (own and operate a farm).

To conclude, being a farmer can be an enjoyable experience because being on a farm can soothe the soul and can be a spiritual experience. However, being a farmer is challenging as it requires some skills and information. Therefore, this business needs good research, studying, reading and networking to do it right.

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