These days, farming is a lot more than just plowing the field and planting seeds. Farming also includes marketing your goods, managing finances and employees, keeping up with technology—and that’s just the beginning.
Young farmers face even more challenges to getting started in agriculture than their predecessors did: tighter budgets, higher costs of living, stricter lending standards and less land availability to buy.
But there are still ways for young people to get into farming if they’re willing to do their homework first! Here are some options for financing your farm and getting access to land ownership:
The government’s Farm Service Agency provides loans to new farmers for land ownership.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides loans to farmers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial sources. The FSA makes loans in three categories: operating, production and conservation. The first two of these are most relevant to agriculture.
Operating loans are used for operating expenses such as labor costs, seed, fertilizer and other supplies needed for crop production. They can also be used for livestock purchases such as cows or pigs. These loans have a 15-year repayment period with fixed interest rates ranging from 1% – 3%.
Production loans are issued to cover the cost of land purchases; equipment purchases such as tractors; seeds, fertilizers and chemicals needed for growing crops; breeding livestock like cows or pigs that produce milk; feeder cattle sold at auction markets, and more.
Here are some other ideas on adding capital once you have land.
The government offers a number of programs for young farmers.
Besides loans, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) also offers a variety of programs to help young farmers get started. These include:
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) provides training, mentoring, and financial assistance to beginning farmers.
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) pays landowners to set aside environmentally sensitive land for conservation purposes in exchange for rental payments and cost-share payments that help them manage the land.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides technical assistance for soil health testing, nutrient management planning, irrigation systems upgrades and more—all with the goal of improving productivity while reducing environmental impact on your farm or ranch!
Tips for renting or buying farmland for new farmers
1. Understand your local zoning requirements
Zoning requirements vary by location, and can be a barrier to getting land. The zoning code is often based on the size of the parcel. Some zoning restrictions are based on the use of the land: for example, if you want to farm horses or cows in an urban area where there isn’t enough space for them (or if they would disrupt neighbors), then this may not be allowed by your local government.
Other zoning restrictions include things like prohibiting certain types of buildings like garages or sheds as well as limiting how close neighbors can build houses next door to each other—these rules exist so that everyone has access to sunlight and fresh air without losing too much privacy!
2. Determine what kinds of land are available
This may seem like an obvious step, but it’s important to know exactly what is out there. There are many different types of farmland—some more suitable for young farmers than others.
For example, some farms might be located in urban areas or industrial parks where you would not be able to grow crops or raise livestock. You should also determine if there are any restrictions on how you can use the land (for example: no pesticides).
Evaluate the pros and cons of each type of farm available to determine which type fits your needs best. Some types will require more work than others; some will cost less than others; some could provide greater financial benefits while others may allow you more freedom in terms of what crops/animals can be raised there.
3. Find out who owns the land
The next step to getting farmland is figuring out who owns the land you want. This can be done by searching public records or talking to local farmers. If you find that a farmer owns the land and they are open to selling or leasing it, ask them what their priorities are in terms of selling/leasing their property.
For example, some farmers may only want to sell their farms directly so they can continue working on them as long as possible; others might prefer not selling off too much of their property at once because then there would be less space left for growing crops later on down the road.
If at all possible, try not asking them “Is this available?” Instead say something like “I’m interested in buying/leasing some land hereabouts – could we discuss prices?”
4. Find out what their priorities are
Once you’ve identified a potential seller, it’s important to ask them what their priorities are. For example:
Are they willing to sell?
Would they consider leasing or renting the land instead of selling?
What are their plans for the future of this property and how does that fit into your own? If it doesn’t fit well, then maybe this isn’t the right route for you.
5. Ask questions and educate yourself
If you’re considering buying farmland, there are some questions that every young farmer should ask. These include:
What’s the history of this land? How has it been used in the past and what would it take to get it back to its former glory?
Who is the owner and why do they want to sell or rent their property to me? What kind of relationship do we have and how might that affect our working relationship moving forward (for example, if they are very hands-off and don’t care about what happens on their land)?
What other resources are available nearby—businesses, schools, etc.—and what kinds of services do these places offer (legal advice, accounting help, etc.)
These steps will help you make a connection with someone who has farmland that’s right for you.
There’s a lot of information to gather. The first thing you need to do is research the land you’re interested in, including its history, location and potential uses. If there are any restrictions on what kind of crops can be grown there, make sure you understand them before approaching the owner.
Ask the right questions when talking with landowners about their farms: “What crops have been grown on this farm over time?” “How long has it been in your family?” “What type of soil does this land have?” These types of questions will help you get a sense for whether or not this property would work well for growing food crops or raising livestock—and how much work may be involved in bringing it back into production if it hasn’t been used recently (or ever).
Be prepared to educate yourself about different types of farming operations so that when someone offers their land up as an opportunity for young farmers like yourself, they’ll feel confident enough about making connections with others who share similar interests around sustainable agriculture practices.
Final thoughts on finding land to start your farm
If you’re ready to get started on your farm, there are plenty of resources available. You can find land through local realtors and by searching online. There are also organizations that specialize in helping young farmers find affordable land and offering financial assistance with purchasing it.
There are also many options for financing your farm. You might be able to get a loan from a bank or credit union, or you could take advantage of government programs like the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Young Farmer Loan Program or the USDA’s Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program.
Large companies like Land O’Lakes also offer financial assistance to young farmers who want to start their own business but don’t have access to traditional financing options because they lack experience or collateral.
If you’re interested in becoming a farmer, look into these options and see if they could work for you! And if you need help managing your farm take a look at Farmbrite.