The lure of returning to the land and building an agriculture-based business runs surprisingly strong among younger Americans today. In fact, many from the Millennial generation are now expressing a desire to build an agricultural business capable of producing an income while also helping to fulfill the demand for healthy, sustainable foods and products.
Since startup costs for any income-producing farm can be substantial, many of these younger would-be farmers may lack the financial capability to purchase farmland for sale. If you are interested in farming but are among those who are are hindered by the initial cost, the following tips can help you save money on your initial land purchase and get started with fewer delays.
Plan to start small
When large tracts of farmland are not within a new farmer's budget, starting on a much smaller scale is the best alternative. This may mean looking for ways to scale your farming plans down to make them doable on a smaller parcel. Some good ways to do this include:
- using hoop houses, greenhouses, and staggered plantings to grow more vegetables on less ground
- choosing smaller livestock breeds or types, such as raising sheep instead of cattle or choosing mini cattle breeds over standard sizes
- creating a market for what you grow, such as selling washed salad greens directly to restaurants
- creating a micro-dairy that produces specialty cheeses, ice creams, or other dairy products, instead of just selling bulk milk
When attempting to scale down any farming plan to fit a smaller farm, always look for ways to increase profit by marketing the end product, instead of just producing the raw materials.
Look for added value
The next factor in making a farm more affordable to purchase is to find one with some infrastructure in place that will be beneficial for your farming operation. This includes any infrastructure that would be costly for you to add after the purchase, such as:
- drilled wells for livestock or irrigating crops
- barns and sheds to house livestock, store machinery and materials, or to process and store raw materials and products
- fencing, roads, and other improvements
When looking for land for either livestock or farming endeavors, paying more for land that is already cleared and ready for pasture or planting can actually be smart. Brush-covered, unimproved land may be far cheaper to purchase, but it may need a large investment of time and labor to before it can be farmed.
For specific questions about purchasing land for farming in your area, take time to discuss your financial situation and farming dreams with a reputable real estate agent who specializes in the listing and sale of farmland.