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Recent posts by Wyatt Fraas

Beginning farmers: the quest to find land

You’ve decided that farming is for you, and the next step is to find your own land.

As a new farmer, you want to identify when landowners are first thinking about a change. You want to know when a landowner’s children decide not to come home, or when a health condition forces a change in farming activity. You need to learn this at the earliest possible stage, so you can introduce yourself as a solution

For beginning farmers, opportunity may lie in being creative

This is a time of tremendous opportunity in farming and ranching for beginners graduating from college or looking to start a venture of their own. Alternative crops and high value markets offer profit potential and lower risk for new farmers.

If land ownership is the preferred route, funding will have to come from savings, bootstrapping, investors/partners, or loans. There are no grants, or free money, for farm startup and operation.

Beginning Farmers: I want to start farming. Is it feasible?

I just graduated college and I want to start farming, is it feasible? What are my options?

This is a time of tremendous opportunity in farming and ranching. Commodity production (undifferentiated crops and livestock sold into “commodity markets”) has minimal profit margin, unpredictable price swings, and many risks for a small, uncapitalized, inexperienced farmer. That type of farming is best entered with substantial farming-family support.

Retiring Farmers: What makes a good successor?

Retirement is when the owner departs from labor and management of the farm business. Retirement may not mean moving away or giving up on mentoring the next generation, but it does entail leaving management decisions to someone else. It can be a gradual or sudden process. It may be driven by long-term goals, health issues or events outside your family.

Beginning farmer grows organic and sheep operation

Justin Doerr left the Army after serving overseas and knew he wanted to farm for his civilian career. He is big on planning, so he attended farm tours and webinars across three states to prepare for launching his farm business. He eased back into sheep production, using facilities his parents had vacated while Justin was in the service. Since his youth was spent following his father's direction on farm tasks rather than making his own farm decisions, Justin wanted to share the risk in his startup year of crop production.

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