Many times, I am confronted by the age-old question of whether there is really money in farming. And most importantly, should one quit a job to start farming? Well, my philosophy has always been “Don’t quit your job to start a business, start a business to quit your job...” But then again, each situation is different. I am no expert, but here is my attempt at answering this question by putting it in the following categories.
Know your ‘WHY’
Firstly, it’s important to know why you want to start farming and if you can’t answer that question, then stick to your 9-5. Seriously. At the end of the day, farming is a business and I’ve seen people go into farming because land and funding was made available to them and they thought that they would make a success of it when they had no initial plan in place. Be honest with yourself and invest your time and energy into something you have a passion for, and if it happens to be farming, then so be it.
You have to be mentally fit
If you easily become frustrated over small things and tend to quit when the going gets tough, then this is not the industry for you. Farmers are resilient and some may say that the resilience is built over time, however, I believe that you have to have some level of resilience within you before you decide to become a farmer because your character will get tested in ways that you could not imagine.
I will never get tired of saying this, you have to be hands-on as a farmer. Established farmers that I know, are still very active in their businesses today. They know what goes on in their farms at every level of their production and no employee can tell them otherwise. They have worked hard and paid their dues to what many will see as a well-run farm and business today.
It takes time to realise the money
If you think farming is a “get rich quick scheme” then I will be the first to disappoint you and tell you that it’s not. It takes time (months or years) to realise the return on your investment depending on what field you are in. Therefore, don’t be in a rush to make money fast, do things right the first time, without cutting corners and you shall be rewarded.
Farming is not cheap
The capital outlay to start a farm comes at a hefty price, but there are ways to work around this, especially on things such as infrastructure and equipment for example. Not everything can be solved using the DIY approach and there are certain aspects in this business that one cannot compromise on for the sake of saving money.
So, before quitting your job to start farming, have a plan in place that will ensure the success of your farming activities. Speak to other farmers and do as much research as possible.
Farming can be rewarding on so many levels and I wish you nothing but the best for your business.