We’ve all been hearing about the brain drain going on these days, taking educated youth and professionals from smaller centers and rural areas to larger metropolises with greater job availability and a seemingly better lifestyle. However, there is a growing number of cars with bumper stickers saying “Farmers Feed Cities” and similar slogans, and the urban farmer’s markets have never seemed so packed. Have you ever considered that maybe farming is a great livelihood and a great financial investment?
Your initial apprehension might be due to the fact that you don’t know what you are doing. Many farms are run as a family businesses so the lifestyle and knowledge of the job is instilled at an early age. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn later in life. Many aging farmers have no one to leave their farms and extensive knowledge to. Team up with an experienced farmer in the local area that can farm your property for you, at a price, but while doing so, explains the process and equipment that you will need to operate your agricultural business yourself in the future.
The second thing that comes to mind is risk- severe weather, fire, illness, or worse. However, crop insurance for agricultural businesses is a real life saver for many of those in the industry. So you don’t have to lose too much sleep over whether or not the rain will fall or if it goes below zero overnight after you just planted something.
Often overlooked you’ll find additional streams of income that aren’t traditionally attributed to farms and agricultural operations. One such idea is that of opening a wedding venue. In the last few years, rustic barn weddings have become hugely popular, yet the number of venues that accommodate this wedding style is still quite small. Transform an old barn into a money-making tool with very little effort except for maybe advertising this space as available.
Another idea for an alternative use for a farm is that of a bed and breakfast. Some people (those that followed the money to the city) need some time in an environment closer to nature and closer to their roots. Setting up a bed and breakfast is a great chance to utilize some of those unused rooms in that lofty farm house and treat your guests to fresh, farm-to-table meals that will have them coming back again and again.
Before you decide whether or not a farm is worth your investment, look into the unique features of the property. Is there a well? Maybe a woodlot that you can sustainably harvest? Good soil for Christmas trees? Some farms sit on natural deposits of gravel, and it could be worth looking for a company providing quality underground mobile mining and tunneling equipment to extract and sell this commodity. There are other hidden treasures that rural properties have which may only be discovered after completing a professional assessment.
A lot of today’s farmers are doing well financially, and thankfully, because of the progression of agricultural technology, no longer have to work from sun up to sun set as they used to in the days when they plowed their fields with a team of oxen. However, do not underestimate the hard work that goes into working the land in order to reap a good harvest, no matter what you grow or tend on your farm. Be ready to learn a lot, put in many hours of work, come up with countless creative ideas for side income streams, and at the end of the day, enjoy a tremendous amount of satisfaction for work well done.