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Education first for young farmers?

What do you do when you're confident that farming is in your blood and opportunity is laid out in front of you, but you're young and still learning the ropes? A Farmers For The Future member, Jaker, asks for advice.

“I am 19, and I decided to take some time off from college to run my dad and uncle's 1,200-acre farm,” Jaker says. “For quite some time, I have thought that farming would end up being my occupation, but I never really knew how I'd get into it. My dad wants me to be happy and have a good, easy life, which means not being a farmer in his eyes. But as most of you know, it's in the blood. I was wondering how I could get a start in farming and how I could build a business plan where I can make farming my full-time occupation. If I could figure out how to buy land and make money without going too deep into debt, that would be my goal and, hopefully, it would lead to a successful start at farming. Any advice or insight would be great!”

“What degree were you pursuing in college?” asks Dan Coffman. “If you want to farm full time, go back to college and earn a degree. Take all the classes you can that pertain to farm management. Farming is a business, and you need to treat it like one. You can hire someone to do the grunt work. The most important aspect you need to focus on is managing your business. Once you have your degree, this will give you a good background and also give you something to fall back on in the event that farming is no longer feasible.”

“Take all the classes you can that pertain to farm management. Farming is a business, and you need to treat it like one.” – Dan Coffman

“Dan is giving you good advice,” says Joe McGuire. “Do not stop your degree. If you are not majoring in business or agriculture, change your major. The tuition can be a tax write-off for your business. I am finishing an associate degree in May and I feel very confident that I can work out most any problem that comes my way. Most importantly, I know how to build my business from the ground up. If you are having trouble with your business plan, you should take a class where you have to write one.”

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