Friday, July 8, 2011

How can new and beginning farmers overcome overwhelming obstacles?

No one ever said farming was easy. Young and beginning farmers may face extra challenges too. These include high start up costs, availability of land, and cost of land, equipment, seed, livestock, feed, and fertilizer. Ben LaCross, 31, of Cedar, Michigan is a young farmer. He was interviewed by The Lempert Report on how he views these challenges. He states that, "The payout schedules for harvested crops can be spread out over the course of the following 12 months after harvest. That cash flow bottleneck makes it hard for anyone just to jump into farming."

Although these may seem like huge barriers, there are still opportunities for young and beginning farmer hopefuls to join the farming profession. Some young and beginning farmers are doing so by thinking of unique ways to solve these issues. Some examples:
-Working for a farm and gradually deferring salary for equity.
-Renting land and/or equipment from a retired farmer.
-Building a relationship with a farmer who is close to retirement and may be willing to sell you land at a fair price.
-Finding mentors to help you make difficult decisions and give advice.

If you are someone who has recently started farming, what barriers did you have to overcome to become a farmer? If you are someone who is a veteran farmer, what advice can you give to young and beginning farmers?

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