Jake Bodimer is guest editor of the Growing our Generation enewsletter. This article is part of the Oct. 24, 2016 edition.
Let’s cut to the chase. It is expensive to get into farming. Land prices, equipment, livestock purchases, input costs, etc. present a pretty daunting hurdle for anyone to start from scratch and begin farming. So, do you throw up your hands and decide, “This isn’t for me?” Or maybe you think about taking the approach Billy does in Where the Red Fern Grows. You have to do your part and meet halfway. I know, this may be taking some of you back to your childhood a bit. If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, check it out with your kids sometime.
Everyone does need help to get started. Some may be able to get a boost from family. Others take the part-time route and use nonfarm employment to slowly acquire land, livestock, facilities, equipment, etc. Some gain experience at a local farm and leverage that experience to move forward.
Never be afraid to ask for help. Just remember to also ask yourself: What do I bring to the table? Is it experience, capital, education? Find your strengths and use those to the fullest potential. When you talk to your lender or other resources, share those strengths with them.
Get to know the farmers in your community. Pick up part-time work at a local farm to gain experience. There is no doubt that farmers welcome solid, dependable farm labor that is eager to learn. You never know what opportunities this can lead to.
Even those that are fortunate to have the family farm to help get them started go through these similar processes. Here is a story from Illinois.
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