Where Does An Aspiring Farmer Start?

This may surprise you! A number of people are looking to start farming, but don’t have any agriculture background. However, it can be challenging to get an ag business loan if you don’t have farm experience.

Rene Johnson, vice president of ag banking with Lake Ridge Bank, says there are steps you can take before applying for a loan to improve your chances.

Johnson has been in the ag lending and farming industries for more than 20 years. She’s noticed an uptick in nonfarm consumers wanting to get involved in agriculture or even start their own farm businesses. Some of these folks have a romantic idea of what agriculture entails. Others have what it takes and just face a barrier to entry.

Johnson’s first recommendation is to connect with an established farm business to learn the ropes — like a mentor. She recommends connecting with someone who is doing similar work to what you want to do, whether it’s a dairy, llama herd, viticulture, or a pumpkin patch.

From there, an aspiring farmer can get a better understanding of their needs as a beginner when it comes to required assets, balance sheet, and workload.

Johnson says the cost of entry in agriculture is expensive. The good news is that for a beginning farm, you likely don’t need a lot of land or brand-new machinery. She says it’s important to work with a bank or lender who specializes in agriculture, so they can guide you through the process.