Designer Acres

Designer Acres Logo
Search
Close this search box.

You are an Entrepreneur!

If you are starting a farm, you are starting a business, unless you just want a large lawn to mow. Even if you wish to hobby farm or homestead, unless you have very deep pockets, it is a business.

You have costs to meet and most hope to defray them by selling some product – that is a business and it may as well be a profitable one.

In summary, here is a list of things you need to know when starting or improving your farming career. It is essential that the farm be clean, efficient and profitable. This will be expanded deeper in the site.

Table of Contents

3 Takeaway points from this article.

1.

2.

3.

Summary

 

What is an Entrepreneur?

According to the Oxford dictionary, an entrepreneur is “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit“.

If you are starting a farm,  a hobby farmer or homesteader, you have expenses that must be met therefore you are an entrepreneur by default. If you are a smallholder or even work a larger parcel of land, your calling is as a willing entrepreneur.

Is Starting a Farm a Lot of Work?

YES starting a farm is a lot of work. Seven days per week, 365 days per year. It is a lot more efficient if your farm is planned. Working Smart not Hard definitely plays a part. It all depends upon what you do and how you do it.

Consider the wisdom of the following:

  1. Any need for an element that your system cannot provide results in work
  2. Any yield of a function that cannot be used by your system results in pollution
  3. Work and pollution create drudgery which is the punishment for poor design

Tacota Coen – Mixed Farmer Canada

An example of point one is providing water to livestock – you are making work if you need to carry water. For point two, consider the consequences of built up manure.

The labour required for both of these examples can be reduced by careful planning. It is also possible to be more economically efficient so you do not need to spend the time manually providing water and paying for the disposal of manure.

Hay can be produced on-farm and manure used as an input for another enterprise – maybe to boost the hay crop.

Diversified Farming

Monoculture is gambling!

If a farm produces multiple products, stability results.

When one product is experiencing a down season, others are middling along and some are way up. Next year it is the same – but with different products. This leads to profit stability.

Five enterprises is the minimum to consider for any venture. This is one case where more is better.

Remember “a man cannot chase two rabbits at the same time!“, thus you need systems.

Enterprises

There is good money to be made with livestock but with a correspondingly high start up cost. Agistment does not pay that well but can be used to extract some money from unused land. It does fertilise the land, so may be used between crops.

Other enterprises can pay well with a lower startup cost. They may be less common, but done properly, all have high value products and less competition. Many integrate efficiently.

These enterprises will be explored deeper elsewhere.

The Lean Farm​

Lean has evolved to become a functional mix of Kaizen and Kanban.

These are practices that came out of post World War II Japan that raised the country from a total social, economic and environmental mess to the third largest economy in the world in 40 years. They were the test population for the first nuclear weapons and had just lost a major war.

The result was the Japanese Economic Miracle.

Kaizen and Kanban are evolutions of “The Toyota Way”. Like compounding interest, constant small iterative change creates major differences over time.

  • Kaizen creates process efficiency
  • Kanban creates efficient workflow and inventory practices

There is considerable blurring between the methods, so I treat both as Lean.

 The best recent reference is “The Lean Farm” by Ben Hartman which at 240 pages is a worthwhile read.

Lean refers to:

  • the reduction of waste by minimising:
    • defects
    • inventory
    • motion
    • over-processing
    • over-production
    • transport time
    • waiting time
  • improved workstation practices
  • the placement of tools at each workstation
  • documentation at each workstation
  • the use of work sheets to assign staff tasks

The stages of production are shown on management boards showing what is needed to be done and when.

Leadership and People Management​

Create a business that is  process dependent which is role based rather than person based.
To achieve this, the processes become Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and divided to tasks and documented in a clear fashion.
Reduce the effort of training and ensure that you as the owner and chief fire-fighter are not constantly working IN the business, rather you now have time and mind space to work ON the business.
Running around putting out everyone’s fires is not productive.
Your task and that of your subordinates is to ensure that the published procedures are followed, and to improve them where possible.
This will enable you to be away from the business and have it run as directed, enabling you to accomplish higher duties or take a short, well-deserved holiday.

Buying Land​

Land purchase is based upon two main criteria – affordability and suitability.

The feature list below must be considered in the evaluation:

  • Suitability for purpose
  • Climate
  • Distance from facilities
  • Distance from market
  • Slope
  • Access
  • Water
  • Existing infrastructure
  • Soil

First set a five year budget that will include the purchase price, necessary equipment, cost of new infrastructure and cost of operation.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Login

Menu