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Farming is an essential skill that few possess. However, knowing how to farm is important for producing food for oneself and for others. Farming skills can provide a living, extra income or simply food to eat, depending on the size of the farm. In bad economic times, more people turn back to the land to try to produce some of their own sustenance and have extra to sell. Farms range from small family operations to huge agribusinesses, with medium operations in between. Some farms are organic or pasture-based, while others employ chemicals and modern farming techniques. Here are some ideas to help you learn how to farm.
1.Evaluate the land to determine what will grow best in your soil. Location, soil type and climate are all factors that help determine the best use for the land. Also consider what has been grown previously on the land and whether soil reclamation is necessary to improve growing conditions.
2.Decide whether your farm will be primarily animals (such as beef cattle or chickens or sheep) or produce, or some combination thereof. An integrated farming system incorporates several species of animals and rotated crops to make the most natural use of the land and to avoid depleting the soil. For example, chickens raised on pasture improve the land for next year's crops, and are then rotated to new pasture.
3.Consider your customer base or what food company you will contract under. The farmer to consumer model has received a great boost in recent years as consumers seek out local, natural and organic food sources. Direct-to-consumer sales benefit both the farmer and local buyers. There are also large-scale farming operations, such as contracting to grow chickens for national poultry companies or corn for centralized buyers.
4.Make decisions regarding your farming method, whether you'll be primarily organic and natural, with pasture-based animals, or if you'll follow modern farming practices with pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
5.Research and learn from other farmers as you begin your venture into food production. There are innumerable quality resources for every product and farming method known, as well as local farmers' associations and extension services set up to advise new and veteran farmers