10 Rules for Starting a Successful Farm Business


| 12/1/2017 9:54:00 AM


It seems that more and more people share the dream of starting a sustainable family farm. It’s a sentiment that I understand very well, since back in 2006, my wife, Liz, and I opted out of the corporate world to start our own sustainable livestock farm.

grassfed animals on farm 

Starting and running that farm, which grew into an award-winning artisan cheese business, is my fondest business memory. Serving the local food community and reconnecting heritage breed animals to neglected farmland was, and is, a worthy pursuit, and it’s one that a growing number of people are drawn to.

If you’re one of those people, I “get it”, and encourage you to follow your dream. But, before you jump ship to do that, let me offer some guidelines that may help you create a family farm that succeeds in every important way. Now, these guidelines, which I’ll call 10 Business Rules for Starting a Successful Farm, are based on my experience. Others may have their own rules, and as the title suggests, these are business rules. Not rules about growing or animal husbandry.

Still, through my farm membership site and my podcast, I speak with lots of family farmers who seem to be struggling. And, when I look at their situations, it’s understandable, as they’ve ignored several of these rules. If you’re going to farm, you’ll want to succeed. And, since we all like to eat, we all need you to succeed. With that goal in mind, here are my 10 Business rules for starting a successful farm business.



Your Farm is a Business, Not a Hobby

There are a number of ways that people get into farming. Some folks are fortunate enough to inherit land and a family farming tradition. For those folks, farming is in their DNA and they know it’s a farming business, not a weekend hobby.





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