So you think you can farm?

pexels-photo-175389Many people dream about owning their own farm. They romanticise the idea of large areas of open land, fresh air and being able to see the stars at night. They think life outside the city limits is all about living the dream. They truly believe they’ll have the pleasure of a simpler life without all the distractions of the metropolitan daily grind. But any true farmer will tell you this is not the case.

Running your own farm isn’t easy. It’s a business and it’s just as stressful as any startup in the city. At the end of the day, profits still matter and you have to be able to maintain the farm. However, it can be still be a rewarding lifestyle. And if you’re thinking of starting your own farm, here are some questions you should ask yourself.

Can you wake up early?

If you’re a late sleeper and value lie-ins on Sunday mornings, then farming is not for you. Farmers are up and working by the time the sun has risen, every single day of the week. By the time most people are making their way into the office, you will already have been out working for hours. Which means you’re tired by the time evening has arrived, so you can say goodbye to any late night activities you may enjoy.

Is manual labour your thing?

If you’re not willing to get your hands dirty, why are you even considering farming as a possibility? There are few other jobs that require more manual labour than being a farmer. You’re out in the field all day working the land. Even though you will most likely have employees to help you out, you will still have to do your fair share of work. It’s a very physical job and you have to be prepared for that.

Can you handle being outdoors the whole day?

Not everyone was made to spend hours out in the hot sun. Have you ever heard of a farmer’s tan? Well, it’s a very real thing that’s caused by days out on the farm. Being indoors is something you won’t be doing often. Most of the time, you won’t venture indoors while the sun’s still out unless you pop home for a meal or a cup of coffee. Hats and sunblock will become your best friends.

Do you have the finances?

Purchasing a farm and building it up is not cheap. You have to purchase equipment, hire labourers and handle all the expenses of the day to day running of the farm. It’s just like starting your own business in the city, except you can’t start off working from a home office. If you’re serious about running your own farm, you should seriously consider applying for agricultural finance. It’s a great way to be able to afford the costs of a farm while growing your crops, finding buyers and distributing the goods.

Are you management material?

Unless you consider a vegetable garden as a farm, you’re not going to be able to run your own farm by yourself. It’s pretty much impossible. You’re going to need to hire labourers to help you with all the work. That means you have to have good management skills. Just like if you were in a leadership position at a corporate, you have to be able to lead a team. You need to communicate in the proper manner, motivate people and ensure the job at hand is being done correctly.

Do you have the necessary knowledge?

You can’t just purchase a large plot of land and decide to be a farmer. You have to know a thing or two about agriculture. You need to do indepth research on whatever you plan to grow in order to ensure it thrives and none of your crops die. You don’t want to invest all your money, time and energy into running a farm only to have it fail because you didn’t know what you were doing. It’s important you have all the information and knowledge you need. If you don’t know, you can always speak to someone who knows agriculture well and has been running their own farm successfully for years.

Where will you farm?

Before you set your heart on living the farm life and growing specific crops or farming certain animals, you need to know the area. It’s important you choose the right land in a place with the perfect conditions for your particular farm. You can’t simply choose a place in the countryside where you’d like to live and pick whatever crops or animals you’d like to farm. You have to make sure it’s the right place with the right weather conditions, soil and atmosphere for whatever you want to grow or breed.

Running your own farm isn’t easy. But if you’re the right kind of person, are committed and hard-working, and know what you’re doing, you’ll have the time of your life.