What's the Next Step in Growing your Farm?
Are you wishing that you could do more with your farm? For many people, the feeling is that if you're not growing, you're in danger of shrinking, and that can be bad news for your farm.
Fortunately, there are many great strategies for growing your farm. This gives you your pick of strategies so you can find the one that best suits your farm, your talents, and your goals.
Cultivate More Land
One of the simplest ways to grow your farm is to simply bring more land under cultivation. You might be able to do this by cultivating more of your current property, purchasing additional property (either adjacent or in another site), renting additional land, or taking over land as a custom farmer or sharecropper.
Which of these options makes the most sense for you depends on the availability of land and capital, but you shouldn't rule it out just because you can't afford to buy more land.
Improve Your Yield
Rather than cultivating more land, you could work on improving the yield of the land you already have. You might do this by using raised beds to improve the soil, transplanting crops, planting crops more closely, or using a smarter progression of succession crops that speeds the process. These days, innovations in vertical and even indoor farming can increase yields and allow for year-round productivity.
This can be a powerful growth strategy, but some of the tactics are capital-intensive and gains are not certain. Research is your friend here: understand the strategy thoroughly before you try to implement it.
Specialization can be a powerful technique when you're looking to grow your farm. You can often improve your yield by focusing on the crops that grow best in your soil--or the ones that you know best how to grow.
Specialization can also help from a business standpoint because it lets you build up a brand and a reputation can let you command top dollar for your crop. Specialization does have a significant drawback, though: it can make you more vulnerable to fluctuations in the market for your chosen crop.
On the other hand, you might decide to diversify your crops. Many farmers use diversification as a reactive strategy when impacted by a market downturn. However, diversification is most effective as a proactive strategy to head off market fluctuations.
When considering a diversification strategy, don't just look at the state of the market, make sure to take into account the growing conditions on your farm and your personal experience with different crops. This can dramatically improve your odds of success with this strategy. It's also good to consider which crops might grow better in close association or in rotation with each other.
You can integrate your farm by purchasing or delivering crops at a different stage. For example, instead of delivering whole corn, you might process your crop into cracked corn or even corn meal by using a new grain mill.
In some cases, integration can be expensive, but in other cases, you can significantly improve your returns with a relatively small capital investment.
Small farms can find they get pushed around and have to play second fiddle to the larger farms in their area. This can affect your ability to buy or sell supplies or access critical services, which can diminish the productivity of your farm. It also affects your ability to negotiate the best prices for your crops.
But if several small farms work together they can improve their negotiating position relative to the larger farms in the area. Sometimes they can even find themselves at the head of the table if they organize smart and work together well.
The disadvantage here is that it's sometimes hard for farmers to keep working together. Poorly drafted charters can also undermine the function or productivity of farm groups.
Need Help Launching Your Growth Strategy?
As leaders in the manufacturing of farm equipment since 1925, Automated Equipment Manufacturing has helped many farmers across the country successfully deploy these strategies, and we could help you make decisions critical to the deploying your chosen strategy. Most importantly, we can help you choose the best mill to make this strategy successful.
To learn more about how Automatic Equipment Manufacturing can help you grow your farm, please contact us today.