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What Are the Best Tips for Starting a Farm?

Starting a farm is much like starting any other small business, though the specifics will differ depending on the type of farm and how large the operation will be. The first step when starting a new farm is to determine what the products will be, who is likely to buy them and how long it will take to become profitable. This type of information can be used to draw up a business plan, which may be required in order to obtain any necessary financing. After the plans have been drawn up, the land and equipment can be obtained and the market can be further explored. One viable option for many small, new farms is to pre-sell the initial crop to interested parties, since this can create operating capital and also guaranteed customers.

Farms can range in size from relatively small market gardens to enormous corporate-ran operations. Most family farms have been replaced by corporate interests, but starting a farm is still possible with the right knowledge. Since it is typically impossible for small operations to compete directly with large ones, some of the keys to starting a farm are identifying a niche and taking advantage of scalability. A new farm can be anything from a market garden that occupies an acre or less of land to a larger multi-acre operation with both crops and livestock, so long as the fundamentals are sound. It is also sometimes possible to buy an established farm or to even start a new franchise of an established business.

The first step for anyone who has an interest in starting a farm is to study the market and identify a niche. Many small farms and market gardens survive by selling produce and meat directly to local families or at weekly farmer's markets. It is also possible to create relationships with nearby restaurants, as many chefs are interested in finding fresh, local ingredients for their menus. After these markets have been identified, it is then possible to develop a business plan, look for financing and start farming.

One viable way of starting a farm is to create a market garden. This type of operation is often highly scalable, so that it can easily be built up as the business becomes more successful. Rather than growing a crop and then looking for buyers, this type of plan typically involves finding customers very early on. Individual or family packages are typically sold or reserved before planting takes place and then the produce is delivered regularly throughout the growing season. As this type of operation matures, more crops can be added to support additional customers, and livestock such as chickens may even be raised as well.

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