As soon as most people hear the word “farmer”, they picture a grown man with overalls and flannels, stubbornly fighting with a flock of sheep or driving a huge tractor, maybe spending his free time chewing on a straw while playing the banjo and watching the sunset. The reality is that there’s a lot more to modern day farming, and farmers nowadays can come in many shapes and sizes.
Those looking to start careers as farmers don’t have to contort themselves to fit some unspoken criteria. Anyone can be a farmer so long as they are committed to putting in the work required to get a farm up and running. And, well, it will be a lot of work. So if you’re looking to become a farmer, there’s no need to stocking up on flannel, but you will need to learn a little bit about the lifestyle and what will be expected of you.
Not Every Farmer’s the Same
This is not a one size fits all kind of situation. There are different kinds of farms, therefore there are different kinds of farmers, each with their own responsibilities and lifestyles. A dairy farmer will need to be up and running at 4:00 a.m. while a livestock farmer can get away with getting up at the same time most city folks do.
The same is true when it comes to preparation. Of course, those raised on a farm have an advantage when it comes to working on farms as adults. But that doesn’t mean people with no prior experience can’t learn how to get things done. Don’t be discouraged by stereotypes, if you’ve been fantasizing about moving to a farm and learning how to get all that hard work done even though you’ve lived in the city your entire life, go ahead and try it out. Just keep your expectation within a reasonable spectrum and know that farming requires a lot of hard physical labour.
Motivation Will Get You Far
Farms have to be sustainable, and that means farmers need to put in lots of hours. There’s no room for phoning it in because they aren’t feeling at their 100%. Likewise, no one benefits from a having a “can’t do” attitude. Even if you have yet to learn how to do most of the tasks, you need to, at least, be willing to learn and put all you’ve got into mastering what you do.
There’s a Lot of Research Involved
There’s a lot more to farming than meets the eye. For example, those interested in having sheep need to learn everything there’s to learn about proper shearing times, and different breeds lest they want a flock that’s infested with maggots. Those set on learning how to harvest need to become experts on the type of soil they’re working with and the right of seed they want to invest in unless they’re willing to go 5-6 years with no produce.
The same goes for equipment and workers. Farmers need to correctly assess how many people they need just to run the farm, and what they need to do to get enough money to reinvest in the farm. After all, handling a farm really is more than just chewing on a straw and wearing overalls.