How To Start A Farm In California
You have dreamt of having your own farm for years, and you are finally going to take the plunge and buy some land!
Or maybe farming is something you have recently become interested in, and you’re ready to begin exploring your options.
Either way, you may be wondering, “What are the first steps in making my farm or California ranch a reality?”
There are undoubtedly a lot of steps and variables to this undertaking, but today we will give you a basic guide for how to start a farm or ranch in the golden state.
Step 1: Make A Plan
A good plan will allow you to really expand your dreaming process and design exactly what you want your farm to look like.
Here are some things to consider when making your plan:
Choose Your Farm Type
This decision will impact a lot of choices going forward, so it’s important to establish your farm type from the very beginning.
Perhaps all you want is a small to medium sized hobby farm where you can enjoy your animals and gardens. Typically the cost of these farms comes out of the pocket of the owner, but you can offset some of the costs by selling excess produce, eggs, and other products locally.
If you plan to turn your ranch or farm into a business, it’s important to design your farm with the intention of turning a profit.
Decide What You Want Your Farm To Consist Of
There are so many different options for what a farm can look like.
Now you get the pleasure of designing your own, and turning your dreams into a reality.
“ Do you want to have a micro-scale vegetable farm?
Do you plan to grow acres of hay for other farmers?
Maybe you want to have a diversified farm – a small-scale operation that grows a variety of animals and crops.
You might even be wondering how to start an ecotourism farm, where people will come to stay to see the workings of your farm and perhaps even participate in farm chores.”
These, and many other options, are at your fingertips. You get to design whatever you want your farm to be, so do plenty of research!
Decide What Size You Want Your Farm To Be
If you want a California cattle ranch, you’ll need a lot of acreage.
If you want a quaint hobby farm, you may not need a lot of land.
Deciding what size farm you desire is important to know in advance so you can properly plan, and share your goals with your local realtor.
Determine What You Can Afford To Spend Initially
It’s important to have a good financial plan when beginning a farm, no matter what the size.
Decide whether you will need a loan, and determine in advance the monthly payments you can afford. Also, it’s a good idea to have a healthy cushion for any repairs or emergencies that may arise on your farm or ranch.
“Whether you are looking for a small amount of funding to acquire a few basic pieces of equipment, need a larger chunk of money to invest in scaling up your operation, or need financing to acquire land and infrastructure, there are many potential sources of funding.”
These are all important factors to consider when sketching out your dream farm. As you make decisions, write out your plan so you have it as a blueprint moving forward.
Step 2: Learn More About Farming
Maybe you know a lot about farming, or maybe this is all new to you. Either way, learning will always be an ongoing process in your farming adventure.
Gathering more information about best farm practices can only benefit you as you take the steps to start your own farm.
Some ways you can do this are through reading. There are a lot of books and blogs with farming tips and tricks.
Another more hands on option would be to volunteer at various farms and learn more about the different types of farms that exist in the San Benito region.
An immersive approach will help you get a very clear picture on how local farmers tend to operate.
Step 3: Find The Right Land
Finding the right land can be tricky if you are trying to do it by yourself.
Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Working with a good local realtor can be a total game changer.
What could be a painful process of searching for months, can be simplified and even made enjoyable if you partner with a realtor to find the right land. Realtors have knowledge and resources that are invaluable in your search.
Some things to consider when purchasing land are, how many acres are included?
Is the land mostly open fields, wooded lots, or a combination?
What is the soil quality like?
Is a natural water source present?
A realtor can help you find a property that checks all of the boxes you need.
Step 4: Acquire Permits and Licenses
Research the types of permits and licenses you’ll need in San Benito county for the type of farm you are hoping to start.
It’s important to make sure you have all of the right paperwork done before you begin farming.