Due to the rising market for organic products, sustainable consumer goods are expected to hit $150 billion in 2021. This is because consumers are becoming more conscientious and there are significant improvements in farming practices. This ethical industry also offers opportunities for success, so it’s a great business venture.
If you’re interested in starting an organic farm, you have to consider important things like getting an agricultural bank loan for land and equipment purchase, arranging certifications and licenses, and finding organic supplies. Good preparation is also key to a good start. Here are other things to consider before jumping into the business:
Define Your Goals
Decide if starting an organic farming business is realistic enough or if it’s something that you’d like to do to grow your own food or help your community. There’s a huge difference between running a farm for profit and personal reasons.
If you like to make a living out of farming, you definitely need to plan out your business. If you aim to start organic gardening as a hobby and for personal use, you should start a small family farm, not a business farm.
Do Your Research
Once you’ve identified your goals, learn as much as you can about organic farming by reading books and researching on the internet. Organic farming needs careful planning, so it’s a good idea to talk to people who already have the experience to gain more knowledge. You can also opt for training courses and attend events to meet with like-minded people.
Also, it’s important to know the benefits of organic farming to further understand the business. Topics like soil stabilization, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration will explain how organic farming practices are beneficial for the conservation of energy, water, and soil.
Important benefits of organic farming include:
Enhances Soil Nourishment
Organic farming procedures like crop rotation and the use of green manure help fertilize the soil and maintain long-term health. There are no chemicals used to kill the microbes, so the soil’s nourishment is enhanced and the crops produced are also rich in nutrients. Healthy food starts with healthy soil, so avoid harmful chemicals that can cause more damage.
Conserves Agricultural Diversity
Instead of following one form of farming, organic farming methods feature a more diverse crop rotation. This avoids crops from getting diseases and being infected by pests, increases soil fertility, and conserves water. Food produced is often fresher as it doesn’t contain any preservatives.
Mitigates Climate Change
Organic farming practices do not rely on fossil fuels that can cause negative impacts on the planet. Cover crops and minimum tillage help bring back carbon into the soil. If more carbon is stored in the soil, less carbon is in the atmosphere.
High nitrogen levels due to commercial fertilizers can also cause pollutants that can affect plant growth. It can also cause harm to our health and the forests. That’s why organic farmers don’t use synthetic nitrogen fertilizers to maintain a climate-friendly food production system.
Find a Suitable Location
Your farm’s location is an important factor for your business’ success. It should be close to a clean water source to maintain crop growth and health. Also, consider which kind of crops you will be growing, accessibility to your market, and the water quality.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Know what skills you already have and what you need to expand your knowledge. Depending on the kind of farming you’ll go for, you might need to know how to choose and grow crops, find seeds, and harvest.
Generally, these are some skills you need as an organic farmer:
- Critical thinking skills
- Organizational and management skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Time management
When you’ve figured out your strengths and weaknesses, make up for any knowledge gaps by having hands-on training through enrolling at classes and workshops, reading organic farming books, and attending organic farming conferences.
Consider Organic Certification and Licenses
It can take a while to get certified, so it’s best to start thinking about certification as early as now. Certification has benefits like access to fast-growing local and regional markets, additional funding, and technical assistance.
Also, other necessary permits and licenses are important for your farming business. Some licensing issues to consider are farm labor, land zoning, property insurance, and farm safety policies.
Like any other business, starting an organic farming business requires careful planning, marketing, and sufficient skills. This rising trend will not only increase customers and make your business profitable, but it will also pave the way for more companies to adopt sustainable practices that will benefit the environment.