If you have never lived on farm land before and are considering making the transition to a new career, you may be surprised to find that farm life is not the tranquil, peaceful, retirement like environment that you were looking for. Farm life is a fast paced, intense, early morning, late night type of life style that can be incredibly rewarding if you know what you are getting into. But if you have different expectations, you may find yourself putting up your farmland for sale and high tailing it out of there as soon as possible. Before you make any brash decisions, here are a few things for you to consider:
Responsibilities and Duties
These will vary depending on what kind of farm you decide to run and what animals and stock are on your farm but here is how a day in your life as a farmer might go:
- Wake up before the sun and throw down some breakfast before bringing the cows in for milking
- Milk the cows while examining them for any signs of illness. Sick cows are separated for vet inspection.
- Take cows back to the paddock and clean the milking shed.
- Feed any animals that do not graze, such as chickens, pigs, horses and others.
- Muck out stalls and clean droppings from around the animal areas.
- Complete any chores that the farm requires; cleaning, fence mending, grass mowing, weed pulling, setting up grazing, etc. The chores can vary depending on the day.
- By now it’s probably around noon, so take a break for lunch.
- Take care of the bigger chores like field work, planting, harvesting, watering and the rest of it. Again, these will vary depending on the season.
- Bring the cows in again for their afternoon milking.
- Clean the shed again.
- As it gets dark, all the animals must be brought in to their homes for the evening.
- Dinner time with the family.
- Now it’s time for paperwork; record keeping, profit projections, employee payouts and all the regular human resources work of a successful business.
- You may or may not get to bed on time or be awakened in the middle of the night by a mama animal giving birth.
If farming still seems attractive to you even though you will have virtually no free time, keep reading.
Records and Paperwork
Living on farm land and raising a successful farm is not just about the stock and the crops. A huge majority of it is just like any other business. You need to make sure that you are adhering to employee regulations and offering any necessary benefits. You must keep profit and loss statements, accurate records, proof of sales and purchases, income statements, tax records, receipts and more. Budgets must be updated regularly and paperwork needs to be on hand to help you determine when and how you can buy parts to repair machinery or invest in new equipment or purchase stock to build your business. There’s a lot that goes into it and you must stay organized on top of all of that!
Contacts and Networking
Farming is a community project. You need to know who you can trust to help you through the beginning stages of living on farm land. Especially if you have never done it before there is always a chance that other farmer and traders and vendors will take advantage of you not being experienced when it comes to farming. You could end up paying too much for your stock or receiving low quality animals or crops. Make sure that even before you move to the farm land that you are making connections and contacts and weeding out those who you can not trust to be honest and open with you about farming.
Now that you know a few things about what you will go through as a farmer, you may be a little better equipped to make a knowledgeable decision about what to do. There’s no right or wrong answer. There’s only what will work for you and for your family. Keep in mind that you may have to move pretty far from your current home in order to find farmland that will be suitable to the visions you have for your farm. If your family is okay with this and you are prepared for the work, then do it, embark on your adventure!