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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

How to have a Lucrative Lifestyle by Farming!

Money in Farming?!?
Oh yeah...there's big money in it...

Farming isn't easy for a variety reasons. Starting a farm is just as tough as starting any other type of business, and it takes an incredible amount of work and know-how to keep one going. But a successful farm can provide a lucrative, satisfying source of income for a farming family.

Prices of Farming
Regardless of what they grow, there’s one thing all farmers need: land, which is a finite, expensive resource. For instance, the 2012 Iowa Land Value Survey found that land there averaged $8,296 per acre, and prices had increased 64% over the previous 3 years.  According to an NPR story, some people treat farmland as an investment–they buy land they may not have ever seen in the hopes of profiting from it later. This can make breaking into the farming world more difficult, as artificial demand raises the price of land.
Farmers must also buy equipment, seeds, livestock, buildings, and other items they need to get their farm started and keep it running. For instance, a study on start-up farms done by a Vermont agricultural university found that a small barn cost $30,000, while ewes could cost up to $400 per head. Those costs are relatively small compared to some equipment used by large farms: A Businessweek Magazine article describes John Deere farm equipment that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars per piece. To deflect costs, farmers often borrow equipment from one another.

Government Involvement
Government is highly involved in the farming industry, largely through what’s colloquially known as the “farm bill,” a piece of legislation that’s passed approximately every 5 years. According to a NPR.org article, the farm bill handles subsidies to farms, crop insurance, and other aspects of agriculture, though the majority of the bill’s money goes to the food-stamp program–now called SNAP. (SNAP is part of the farm bill because food stamps were originally viewed largely as a way to keep money flowing into agriculture, and therefore to help protect the industry.)
Farms that operate as businesses (instead of hobbies) get a few tax breaks from the IRS. For instance, equipment that loses value (through depreciation) can serve as a deduction, lowering the amount of money that farmers must pay taxes on. The amount of breaks the government gives farmers shows the high value they place on agriculture.

The Lifestyle
Once farmers get their operation going, they adopt a lifestyle that’s unique in several ways. It can be strenuous: Here is a direct and perfect guide to starting a farm published by the USDA warns of early mornings, then leading into long workdays. Depending on the scope and focus of the farm, farmers must know how to work with both machines and living organisms with equal deftness.
But successful farmers can enjoy a rewarding lifestyle. An article published on the University of Minnesota Extension website described dairy farmers as enjoying the ability to work alongside their families. A thriving farm can provide a solid living–from year to year, farming households tend to have a higher average income than non-farming households, per an article by agriculture professor Carl Zulauf. Plus there’s the satisfaction of being productive in the most literal sense of the term: Farmers make up less than 1% of the U.S. population, yet create enough food to keep the country going.
Carving out a life as a farmer is tough; however, there is some help to be had along the way. It’s a good thing some people pull it off, because the farming lifestyle is both satisfying for its participants and necessary for the country.