By 2017 AgCareers.com Marketing Intern Danielle Tucker
As you got older while growing up on a family farm, you might have been itching to leave the farm, so you decided to pursue a degree and find a job off the farm and gain an education. Although at the time it felt right, you might feel like climbing the corporate ladder didn’t seem to quite fit what you were after. There might be a little voice in the back of your head telling you where your true passion lies. Ultimately, your goals are to return to the farm where you grew up and first fell in love with agriculture.
Now hold on… just because you are longing to farm doesn’t mean you can’t and it doesn’t mean getting an education was the wrong choice. Education is absolutely vital to help advance the agricultural industry due to the rapidly changing way of life.
So, let’s develop a plan and start thinking long term! Maybe you decided you want to return to the farm someday, whether it’s family owned or maybe it’s not. But your goal is to farm. Look at some things listed below that you’ll need to do to reach your goal.
How to Return to the Farm: A Checklist
Develop Cash Flow
No matter what, you’re going to need make and save money. There are several different situations you may be in. If you have a family farm to return to, it may be well-established, or it might be falling apart. If you don’t have a farm to return to, there is a lot of work ahead. Either way, any of these situations will require you to invest money. You will want to work hard and develop a career path that provides a good cash flow for your future dreams.
Save, Save, Save…
Saving can be hard, but it can be done. Life tends to throw all sorts of curveballs and money seems to be thrown out the window. We are emotional creatures and tend to think about instant gratification rather than the long-term dream. Create a budget and figure out how much money you need to save over time to have “enough” to get back to the farm. Most statistics will show that over two-thirds of people cannot create and stick to a budget. Figure out where your money goes and how you can eliminate unwanted expenses. For example, eat out less, cook from home, make your own coffee, pack your own lunches, don’t buy things you don’t need, etc.
Build a Positive Network
Having a network of positive people who push you to reach your goals can be a huge factor of helping you reach your dream. If you surround yourself with people who put you down and tell you “You can’t do it,” it can really weigh you down if you take it to heart. Avoid the negativity and find people who can encourage and mentor you. Building a network can also work to your advantage if you are trying to start up your own farm from scratch. Local farmers can help you work your way into running a farm again.
Communication is extremely important and can even help you figure out finances and your goals. If you plan to take over a family farm, communicate with your family and have them help you figure out a timeline and budget needed to work the farm again.
If you don’t have a family farm to communicate with, communicate with farmers who currently own land. Figure out where you want to live and what land you might want to purchase or rent.
Utilize your Education
Things will most likely not be the same as they were when you were a kid. There have been a drastic amount of changes and advances in technology and equipment. Use your knowledge you have gained from work and put it to work on the farm. Gain experience along the way and gather as much information as you can that will benefit you going back to the farm. If you go back to continue working with family, it may be difficult to convince older, traditional farmers to change, however, if you want to thrive, changes must be made. Adapting to the new way of farming can potentially be expensive, but they are more efficient and effective to producing good results.
Never give up on your dreams. If you want to return to the farm, make the choice and do it. There’s a quote I enjoy by an unknown author: “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way, if not you’ll find an excuse.”
Looking for a career working on a farm? Find one on AgCareers.com.