How to become a farmer?

Been farming long - How to become a farmer

Photo credited to unknown.

Ever since I was a young boy I had the inkling to be a farmer. I think it was because I used to work with my god father on his dairy farm. There were many times where I helped him out as best I could at my young age. I always wondered what it would have been like to be a farmer, but never got to fully explore it. My problem was that my family were not farmers. My dad worked as a web master with his company, so at that time farming seemed like the furthest thing . Yet, there was that thought about being a farmer and what it would be like if I were to be one.  Which leads me to my question how to become a farmer.

How to become a farmer?

In most cases, I think what happens is that you are born into it. I don’t think many people choose to be a farmer if they haven’t had some sort of contact with it as a child. However, there does seem to be a small number of people who are looking to become a farmer.

One of the main things that you need to ask yourself is, “are you ready for the hard work?” In my own search to find information about how to become a farmer I found a few interesting things.

To my surprise and delight, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has some great information here. Also, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has some information as well.

Another main question that I find myself presented with is, “can I run a business?” Personally, I have never run a business by myself. I know many people have tried the entrepreneur route, but I haven’t yet. This particular aspect scares me because I am not sure how much of a self starter I am when it comes to business.

Let me reiterate this point, you need to be able to run a business as a farmer because your farm is your business, so if you are new to farming, you are basically a start up business.

Because farming is a business, you need to run it as such.

How to become a farmer can be broken down into some basic steps.

  1. Educate yourself about farming.
  2. Acquire money.
  3. Find good land.
  4. Run your farm as a business.
  5. Hard work.

Educate yourself about farming. The main idea here is to get a better understanding of how the farm works. If you are a new farmer like me, than you are going to need to learn about all the aspects of a farm. One way you can do this is by working on a farm. As I mentioned before, I am very lucky to have the opportunity to help out my in-laws on their farm. If you don’t have this option, consider working as a hired hand on a farm.

Acquire money. This is probably the hardest part of all. There are programs out there that can help you, but it means borrowing money. In most cases, you are looking at a loan, for example, the Canadian Agriculture Loan Act Program can provide you with the necessary loan.

Find good land. As a new farmer, finding a nice plot of land can be difficult. Talk to your local realtors about purchasing land. When you have found a nice piece of land, talk to the farmer who live and farm in that area. They are the best people to talk to about what the land like for farming.

Run your farm as a business. This is extremely important. If you don’t meet your mark for your budget, you are going to put yourself in a tight situation. Agpal is a great program and services locator. Search through this database and locate business help so you can succeed.

Hard work. This is another important aspect. If you don’t put the work into the farm, you won’t be successful.

More on Farming financials

One of the main concerns of being a new farmer is, “can you afford it?” Farming is not cheap. With cities increasing in size, the surrounding land is increasing in price, so if you are a new farmer, it can be very difficult to find affordable land.

In Canada, there is actually a program that can help new farmers. It is called the Canadian Agriculture Loans Act Program.  Using this program a farmer can get up to $500,000 to help you with your farm.

Another place to look at is Farm Credit Canada. They can provide you with a loan for property, equipment or your crops. Also, they have a lot of great information available.

New farmer check list

I have created a bit of a check list for you in order to help you determine whether farming is right for you, and for myself for that matter.

  • Can you work long hours?
  • Can you run your own business?
  • Can you handle the stress of seasonal work?
  • Can you make a  long term commitment to farming?
  • Can you afford farming?

Farming community

In my quest to find helpful tips for new farmers, I actually contacted a farmer to see what he had to say about the topic. I contacted Philip Shaw and asked him if he could give me some advice. The response I got was incredible.  He was  actually inspired to write a whole post in response to my question.  He provided me with some very insightful and meaningful pieces of advice.

The advice he gave me was this

  1. You need capital,
  2. Don’t over extend yourself into debt.
  3. Embrace new technology, but evaluate it first before using it.
  4. Have a vision.
  5. Gain knowledge of agricultural economics.

I have merely provided a snippet of the article he wrote. You can find the full article with all the details here when it is fully published.


Farming is a tough life, and you need to make tough decisions. Consider the information that I have presented before you jump into it.

Do you have any information that you think is important?


  1. HI have a big space were i can put my farm but idon’t not how to stat,
    can you help me.

  2. C. Jacobs says:

    The “You Been Farming Long” photo should be credited to D. Jacobs, who took the photo and holds the copyright. She won’t mind you using it, but credit would be appreciated.

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