Fresh from college or trade school, many new farmers or ranchers are filled with confidence about their new career. They are technology-savvy and have new ideas about how to fix old problems. Farming and ranching can be a great adventure — as any experienced farmer or rancher will tell you. If you ask, experienced farmers and ranchers will share a few other lessons that may not be found in textbooks.
Be a Lifelong Learner
Farming is a business, and all of the best business owners look for ways to improve. Whether they are networking at the local feed store over a cup of coffee, attending a meeting held by the local extension office, or attending a webinar, farmers and ranchers pick up new ideas in a variety of places. They are always on the lookout for new ideas and different ways to do things to make their process more efficient or profitable. The most successful farmers and ranchers don’t fall into the rut of doing things the way they have always been done in the past.
Use Available Resources
There are countless resources designed just for farmers and ranchers designed to keep them connected to one another. Use these tools and keep up with what is working well for people in your local area. A few time-honored resources include:
- Farm Bureau — Whether you are looking to learn, connect with other farmers/ranchers, or to get involved and be a voice for farmers/ranchers at the local, state or national level, joining your local Farm Bureau can be very helpful.
- USDA — This government agency is devoted to helping farmers succeed. The website shares information about managing everyday risk, land management, food safety, educational opportunities and more.
- Farm Aid — Farm Aid has an extensive network across the United States and connects farmers to the best resources in their community.
Resources are everywhere, and experienced farmers will encourage beginning farmers to leverage their local connections.
When people work alone day after day, it is easy to start to feel disconnected and alone. Successful farmers are often the ones with a wide net of connections and friends in the industry. Connect with your local farmers and ranchers and be sure to keep in touch. Social media helps, but don’t rely on digital mediums to stay connected. Stop in on a neighbor, take part in local associations, and get off the farm every once in a while. Build a network of people that you can talk to, share ideas with and help one another thrive.
Farming and ranching is an exciting journey! If you are just starting out, find a seasoned pro to show you the ropes. Most experienced farmers and ranchers will also tout the importance of insuring your investment. Get to know your local Farm Bureau agent, who can help you with a full suite of insurance for your farm or ranch.