Most people who get into farming don’t do it for the money. They do it for the love of the work and the important service it provides. After all, people have got to eat, haven’t they? Right now, there are more bus drivers than farmers in most developed countries. And so you would think that this important sector was dying out. In fact, in the UK, the average age of a farmer is now 59-year-old.
With such a need for fresh blood, the industry is doing all it can to attract new talent and entrepreneurship. Older farmers are looking for ways to share their knowledge with younger farmers. And it’s all in a bid to make farming seem attractive and relevant in the 21st century.
The problem, of course, is that being successful as a farmer is difficult. It’s not exactly seen as the easy option by many. So here are some tips that experienced farmers want to share with the next generation of upstarts.
Match The Land For Use
Young farmers don’t always get the exact piece of land they want. But often they will try to force it to support the crop they want. Unfortunately, this isn’t how land works. Some land is really well suited to growing, say, barley. Other land is perfectly suited for grazing sheep. It’s rare to find a slice of land that can do both equally well. And yet this is how many new farmers start off when trying to make an impact in the industry.
Do Everything You Can To Save On Labour
Everybody knows that farming is labour-intensive work. Farmers often have to get up early in the morning and work until sunset, especially around the harvest. That’s why it’s important that they do everything they can to save on labour. Right now, farmers enjoy a plethora of labour-saving machinery for processing and harvesting crops. And these solutions are marketed most heavily. (In fact, if you’ve been in farming for any length of time, you probably have these already).
But many farmers miss out on the not-so-obvious ways that they can save time and energy. For instance, not all farmers are using quad bikes to get around their estates. Instead, they walk everywhere, costing them an enormous amount of time in the process.
Identify Your Niche
Many farmers start off with an idea in their head about what it is that they want to farm. Right now it’s trendy to make juices, jams and pickles. But what if your target market lives a long way from your farm? That’s a problem. Sure, artisan jams and juices are great. But if you’re hundreds of miles from the nearest market, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to make them profitable.
Here’s the thing with niche products: you have to put a lot of effort into finding customers. Sometimes the best option is to forget temporarily about what it is that you want to make, and make what people in your area want instead. It can sometimes be a compromise.