Top 10 Questions to Ask When Starting A New Farm
1. What are your goals? (Holistic context and purpose- See Alan Savory’s Holistic Context)
- Quality of life goals
- Time off? Lifestyle. (EX: Kids in Sports…)
2. Where is your location? – A farm needs a farmer and a location.
- Rooftop in New York City
- 8,000 acres in Iowa
- The 5-40 acre hobby farm
3. What do you want to produce?
- Market Garden of mixed Veggies and fruits
- Pasture (Cattle, Sheep, Chickens, pigs, etc)
- Orchard or vineyard
- Homesteading for just your family but high diversity
- Or something entirely different?
4. What is your market?
- Who is your customer?
- Are you focusing on wholesale or retail?
- How many people are in your geographic region?
5. What start-up capital do you have to start with?
- You can start with next to nothing
- Cash flow dictates your scalability and speed (turning cash flow on a cattle farm takes longer than a lettuce crop)
- Resource base – (Holistic Management- Alan Savory)
6. How big do you want to get?
- Do you want a homestead, small garden, or maybe a large farm
7. Who are you doing this with?
- Business partners?
- Your family? How many kids are you raising?
8. How long do you want to take to get to the end vision?
- Establish your farm enterprise contexts.
9. Do you know your limits?
- Evaluate your stress load tolerance. How much can you handle?
- Figure out the resilience of your crops, staffing, and finances.
10. When is enough?
In an effort to grow, we often lose sight of the reasons in the first place. I often think about the value shift that PT Barnum faced in the movie “The Greatest Showman.” His drive and ambition almost made him lose everything. High achievers can struggle with finding contentment in building out a farm. They can start too much too quickly and fizzle out without developing a legacy. What “never enough” pitfall are you prone to fall in?
- Clearly define your personal limitations and build a cadence of accountability in your farming seasons.