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January 8, 2020

How Programs are Helping New Farmers Overcome Beginning Farm Challenges

Learn what resources are available to help start a farm.

Historically, multi-generational farm operations have largely represented U.S. agriculture—most operators continuing on the traditions of their parents and grandparents. Indeed, there are several new farmers who are entering into the industry without a family legacy or inherited land to get them started. These beginning farmers bring fresh passion and enthusiasm to their endeavors and are a valuable part of the ag community.

There are, however, certain unique challenges that new farmers face. Without the wisdom of older generations or the infrastructure of an already-established family farm, it’s easy for these novices to feel overwhelmed by the challenges that arise. Fortunately, there are plenty of programs for new farmers to provide support and assistance.

Business Resources to Help Educate Farmers About the Farm Industry

One of the biggest obstacles that inexperienced farmers face is simply a lack of information. When embarking on any new business venture, it’s crucial to do research and have a thorough understanding of the market. This is just as true for farmers and ranchers as it is for any other group of entrepreneurs. With the internet and advancement of technology in recent years, data and educational resources available are vast and easily accessible. Here are just a few:

  • Curated by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program, this website is a treasure trove of knowledge, covering a wide variety of topics, from production to marketing, to legal and much more.
  • USDA Research, Education, and Economics: Based on hard data and extensive research, this government-affiliated website incorporates the latest statistics to provide fact sheets, tool kits, reports, action plans, and more.
  • SCORE: For farmers and ranchers who are new to owning their own business. SCORE connects interested parties with mentors who provide guidance. They also offer workshops to help teach business strategies, like creating a business plan or personnel system.

Acquiring Funds to Support Land and Equipment Purchases

Finding a suitable piece of land can be a challenge for new farmers. The purchase price can be expensive, not to mention the substantial operating costs of starting a new farm or ranch. Purchasing equipment and customizing the land to your needs can stretch the wallet. However, securing funding is not impossible—indeed, there are many programs and resources that novice farmers can explore.

For example, the Conservation of Reserve Program Transition Option is a program designed to help beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers by providing a monetary incentive to landowning, encouraging farmers to set aside farmland for the Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP. In return, CRP makes this land available to new and beginning farmers, allowing them to rent or purchase plots of land that are in farmable condition. As an added bonus, this program perpetuates a strong focus on conservation, as novice farmers and ranchers must implement an approved conservation plan to participate.

How Land Loans Help New Farmers Expand their Farm Operations

Traditional government-funded farm loans often come with their own set of challenges. For beginning farmers with bad credit or no credit history, it can be difficult to qualify for these types of ag loans. At AgAmerica, we often work with young operators who own just a few parcels of land but have a deep desire for large-scale expansion. Using programs like alternative lending, we’re able to build a loan program that allows them to use the liquidity of their land to responsibly fund the expansion of their operation.

As the experts in land lending, we offer a unique perspective to beginning farmers and give them tools that can help them make decisions more easily when it comes to running their operations. In addition to flexible financing, as a central servicer, beginning farmers will work with our team through the life of their loan. We become an extension of your operation and a financial ally that will keep you on track with your long-term goals as you become an established farm operator. Learn more, speak with one of our local lending experts today.

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