Can anyone become a farmer?

  • Fanatics -

    Thank you for your patience today and welcome to the newest version of Cyclone Fanatic!

    Most of the changes we have made are very simple, but will greatly improve your user experience while visiting the website.

    We have upgraded our forum software to speed things up. Our homepage is much cleaner and should be even more mobile friendly than before.

    We appreciate your loyalty and are committed to not only keeping Cyclone Fanatic in tip-top shape, but continuing to build this community for the next decade and beyond.

    We ask that if you are experiences any glitches to let us know in this thread . Will will be diligently working on the site all day.

    Thanks again.

    Chris Williams - Publisher

mtowncyclone13

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Oct 10, 2012
20,007
9,003
113
grundy center
This is a legitimate question and I'm hoping for honest feedback.

Is it possible for someone not born into farming to become a crop (not animal) farmer and make a profit?

Using myself a hypothetical example, assuming I want to be in business for myself and enjoy working hard when I directly benefit, is farming an option?

What are the chances someone could get into this line of work with no experience or agriculture connections? Do you buy land, rent it, etc? If you're new, how do you structure loans for equipment, etc. It seems incredibly daunting.

Are there programs to get young people into farming since everyone says farming has a demographic problem? Or is the learning curve just too great for someone without connections?
 

jsb

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Mar 7, 2008
19,271
15,456
113
You’d have to have money. I suppose when the farm economy is good you might get a bank to loan you money. But not now.

but I’d avoid it ;). My 70 year old dad was up until 3:00am combining last night and will get up at 4 am for his regular job tomorrow. He puts his daughter to shame.
 

buf87

Well-Known Member
Dec 15, 2010
8,382
5,050
113
Iowa
Takes a lot of money to buy equipment & inputs. Tough to find land to rent & expensive to buy land to create a career out of it unless you have a father or existing farmer that want to help a person get started
 

ISUCY23

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2008
5,605
2,730
113
Ames
No, unless you have a lot of money. Finding ground to farm is extremely difficult and on top of that, your input cost and machinery cost are very high.

You basically need someone to start you out or come from a farming family. Even then it’s tough.

And as a young farmer, it’s a lot of work for not a lot of money and a lot of risk.
 

cowboycurtis

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2006
1,032
166
48
Damn near impossible. Two ways to do it in your situation. First would be to know someone who would rent some ground and then you would start small with old equipment and still keep a full time job. Maybe, with a lot of luck, you would eventually farm full time but would take a couple decades to get there.

Second would be to find an older farmer, with no kids that want to farm, and work for him. Hopefully learning a lot along the way. Eventually taking over the operation. Even then, you would probably be $500,000-$1,000,000 in debt from buying him out, and that’s if he’s a smaller operation.

I farm, have a seed dealership, and a trucking operation. I’m pretty sure my farm would have been broke a couple times without the other two jobs chipping in some cash when needed. Now that I think about it, farming is kinda dumb. A lot of work that drains your account. Never seem to get comfortable enough to only farm.
 

istater7

Well-Known Member
Mar 31, 2010
4,495
724
113
You would need a good chunk of money and some sort of connection to the industry. If you really wanted to start farming, the ideal situation would be to work alongside an aging farmer that could help show you the ropes, help you out by sharing equipment with you, and possibly set you up to rent land they are currently lending. It is going to be pretty tough to convince someone to rent land to you or participate in a crop share lease with you coming in green without any experience. There are beginning farmer programs, but you would need some sort of connection to help set you up for success. If you really wanted to do it, starting with some livestock would be the way to go.
 

CascadeClone

Well-Known Member
Oct 24, 2009
3,592
2,359
113
I'm not a farmer, but do own part of a small business. So I can maybe comment on it from that perspective.

To be successful at a business (any business) you have to have 2 things:
1. domain knowledge - you have to know how it works, what to do and not do, good network of customers and vendors, etc
2. business sense - financial know-how, access to capital, good judgement, etc

Most small business people have a lot of 1, and a little of 2. And they do OK.

Going the other way, you better have lots of capital to burn while acquiring all that domain knowledge.


If you really wanted to get into farming as a business, I'd say your best bet would be to find someone with lots of #1, and bring your cash, business acumen, and even more cash -- and partner up. Then over time learn the business from them, and take it over.

I would probably say the same if you wanted to open a pet store or a sandwich shop with zero experience. Go work at one for a few years to figure it out. Then open your own.
 
  • Agree
  • Like
Reactions: Snydes and cyfan21

I-Statefanin IACity78

Active Member
Sep 10, 2019
139
122
28
36
I grew up on a 800 acre 300+ cattle farm.

I went too junior college for Agriculture and passed it by the skin of my teeth. Much much harder then i anticipated. Alot of hard stuff.
 
  • Disagree
Reactions: LRam1270

ISUCyclones2015

Well-Known Member
Dec 19, 2010
10,391
3,280
113
Dallas, TX
My uncle did this at age 45 not too long ago (2006). Though he grew up on a farm and probably knew a little more than average person. Bought the farm from a fellow that said he'd needed x amount a year until he died. That was the price of the farm. "Luckily" (That sounds so bad to say but not sure how else to convey it) the guy died 6 years later in 2012. Uncle got all the equipment along with the house and the land in the will.

Doubt that's a popular option to acquire land. My uncle had known him for a couple decades and he even helped teach him.

Even with all that "sweet deal" stuff, he hasn't made a profit in any of the 7 years after the guy died. Break even at best he says. That tells me you do it for the love of farming and not to make money.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Doc and VeloClone