5-10-16Victory harvestLiving the life of a farmer was something that I grew up understanding because almost everyone in my life was involved in agriculture; however, not everyone may know what it takes to be a farmer. It is as easy as one, two, three! I am here to show you the three simple tactics to hop right into the field as a top-of-the-line farmer. * Read on to see how brains, following your gut, and cold, hard cash can lead you to the farmer lifestyle you desire.

*Unfortunately, this is sarcasm.

Step 1: Education

5-10-16I Want YouEven though the stereotype may be that farmers are uneducated, this is far from the truth. Farmers today would not be able to run their operations without all the knowledge they have gained throughout their lives. The key to their education is that it has been their entire life and it has been very hands on. If you are starting new as a farmer, you will need to spend at least the next ten years of your life devoting time to learning about whatever type of operation you wish to have. This writer spent one week on a farm and tells what he learned about getting into the rhythm of farm life. Whether you need to spend time in the field growing crops or in a barn working with cattle, that full-immersion education is the first key to becoming an expert farmer.

Step 2: Intuition

5-10-16The Intuitive FarmerUnlike obtaining an education, this step to becoming an expert farmer is not as cut-and-dry. Having the intuition to face the everyday obstacles that a farmer may meet is arguably one of the most important things to have, but, also, the most difficult. A cattle farmer needs to know when to follow their gut feeling about when a heifer is about to have her calf (like the farmer does in this article). A grain producer needs to listen to their inner voice about when to hold back a few days on planting and when the right time to harvest is. Timing of these events is critical to maintaining one’s farm and using your intuition correctly can lead to being an expert farmer. There is even a whole book about this step!

Step 3: Cash

5-10-16Cost per AcreThe final step to becoming an expert farmer is having the cash to start and run an operation. Just like in every other field, operating costs for farmers have gone up a great amount in the past decade.  It can be seen in this graph that cost per acre is on a continuous upward slope. That upward slope is true for all branches of farming, so to be an expert farmer with a successful operation, you need money to handle the costs. This article explains the increasing costs for rice farmers in Arkansas. The increased cost of inputs does not completely outweigh the income that farmers receive for their products. That is why having a cash source is included in these quick steps to becoming an expert farmer.

5-10-16Dairy family

My hope is that after reading this, the number of farmers in the world will increase exponentially! In all seriousness, these three steps are not all that it takes to be a farmer. There is so much that goes into the lifestyle, and these three are only a place to start. There are many places for education to be obtained, it is possible to naturally have the intuition needed, and managing money well in order to start a farm is also a feasible goal. While the cash step may seem daunting, I would say that these farmers would tell you the benefits greatly exceed the costs of becoming a farmer.

Amanda Rollins

Amanda Rollins
Illinois State University

About corncorps

As Illinois' corn farmers, we're proud to power a sustainable economy through ethanol, livestock and nutritious food. We love agriculture, the land and CornBelters baseball.See or follow us on Twitter,
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