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How to Start a Small Farm

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You want to start farming - but you don't know where to begin! Perhaps you live in the city and you want to buy land and start a farm business. Or maybe you know it's going to take some time for you to find the farm of your dreams, but in the meantime, you'd like to do some homesteading in your suburban backyard. These are the overarching steps that you will take as you make your small farm dream a reality.

Learn About Farming

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One thing you can do right now is learn. Read up on everything farming-related, from choosing land to raising sheep. See if you can find an on-farm job or internship to learn the basics of farming first-hand. Immerse yourself in the language and practices of farming by visiting farms and talking to small farmers who are doing what you'd like to do. Learn all you can from other farmers.

Design and Plan Your Farm

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Keep a notebook or computer file with notes and ideas as you read and talk to people about farming. What strikes your fancy? Do goats seem appealing as a potential farm animal? Do you like the idea of having a diversified farm, where you do a little bit of everything, or do you think you want to specialize in one item, perhaps an alternative crop or enterprise that's a bit off the beaten path? Allow yourself to dream.

Start Your Small Farm Business

Photo © Flickr user NatalieMaynor, used under a Creative Commons license.

Starting a small farm might mean growing food for your own consumption, or just giving extra vegetables and eggs to family and friends. But it's likely that you will want to sell your farm products, whether at a farmers marketLINK, to restaurants, to local stores or regional distributors, to specialty food shops, or directly to consumers on the farm. There are many aspects to getting the business part of your small farm off the ground. Take it one step at a time.

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