This is a question that’s asked (or in people’s minds) almost every time we have a conversation with them. Every one has heard that agriculture is unpredictable and difficult to turn a profit on and no one knows what to expect.
It’s a virtually impossible question to answer when you are starting out on your farm, because it depends on so many unpredictable things.
- How interested are you and how involved will YOU personally be?
- How much do you know about growing and how much time can you give to learn?
- What style of agriculture are you planning to adopt – there are so many different ways that you can choose to grow.
- What do you want to grow, and how conducive is your climate to growing?
- What kind of land do you have, and how much will it need to be adapted to grow what you want to grow?
- What’s your farm business model going to be – just selling produce or will you have other ways to monetise your farm?
- What are your manpower costs going to be, this depends a lot on your location?
- How complicated are the logistics of getting your produce to markets? How often can you afford to go there?
- Are you selling your produce directly, or via an intermediary? How much of your profit are they “taking away”?
- Are supporting agriculture services available to you, or will you need to be 100% self sufficient?
- What are your capabilities across the different activities you have to undertake in growing, managing operations, farm “maintenance” and selling your produce?
Can anyone know the answer to all these questions (for you)? Mostly this requires time for you to figure out — and a lot will change on your farm once you get started.
So how can one succeed and be profitable? Learn fast, stay engaged, identify your best customers, keep costs low and margins high. The same as any other business.