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How Do I Become a Family Farmer?

A man picks strawberries on a family farm.
A farmer uses a tractor to till a field.
Article Details
  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Traditionally, family farms grew the majority of food sold to consumers for consumption. That notion has changed considerably over the years, as factory farms have grown and the demand for food has increased. If you want to become a family farmer, you will need to inherit the farm from a family member, or you will need to start the farm on your own.

Farming generally takes up a significant amount of land, and if you want to become a family farmer, you will need more land than you would have needed centuries or even decades ago. The crops you grow will often be dictated by the area in which you will be farming, and you will need to do a careful analysis of the soil, the conditions of the land, the common weather and growing seasons of a region, and other factors such as consumer demand. A significant investment of money for equipment and land will be necessary, and it is likely that a fair amount of time will pass between initial planting and turning a profit.

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You may also become a family farmer by taking over an existing farm. This farm may be owned by your family, or you may purchase it from another farm owner, but in either case, you may need to make significant changes to the function of that farm in order to make it profitable. You will need to make a careful assessment of the farm's worth before purchasing so you pay a fair amount for the land and the equipment. Once you own the farm, you will need to adhere to local and federal laws regarding farming in your area. If you want to become a family farmer who raises cattle or other livestock, you will need to follow laws regarding the treatment of the animals and the sale of those animals before and after slaughter.

Sometimes family farmers arrange contracts with larger distributors or farms that ensure the farmer's crops will be purchased for a certain amount. This is one way to help alleviate financial burdens, especially during lean growing seasons, though many family farmers prefer to maintain their own identities and sell their own crops without being tied to another business entity.

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