EAST LANSING, Mich. — Each year, inspired individuals enter the world of farming with passion, creativity, and drive. There are, however, a number of challenges beginning farmers face at the start of their new careers. Common examples include finding land, financing, marketing assistance, and knowledge on production. These can become roadblocks that reduce profitability. They may even restrict a farm’s ability to grow. For newer decision-makers, knowing how to manage these roadblocks often becomes a challenge of its own.
To navigate these challenges requires understanding of the financial and business aspects of farming. Often, production is the primary focus of managing a farm. But financial or business decisions can mean the difference between success or setback.
Being familiar with the loan process is as important as producing enough to repay the loan. Farm practices leading to more production can carry costs that lower profitability. Understanding costs is often the basis for knowing if a market price is good or bad.
Michigan State University Extension has introduced the Beginning Farmer DEMaND series. This series has been designed to aid new decision-makers in understanding and successfully managing these scenarios. Whether you’re transitioning from a member of the farm’s labor force into a new role or taking on new responsibilities, the Beginning Farmer DEMaND series has something for you.
MSU Extension educators have already developed several bulletins on a number of topics important to beginning farmers. Some of these topics include information on understanding the lending process, goal setting, and cost of production. They have also produced a series of articles to complement the bulletins and you can see all of the bulletins and articles by visiting the DEMaND series website.
New bulletins and articles are continually being added. Check back regularly for more information. If you want the new information delivered straight to your email, sign up for the “Farm Management & Ag Policy” digest. If you have questions or would like to see a specific topic covered in the series, contact a farm business management expert in your area
Whether you are new to farming, or new to the decision-maker role, the future can look both exciting and daunting. These tools can help prepare you for this future and give you the freedom to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
— Jon LaPorte, MSU Extension
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