7 Factors to Consider before Setting Up your Farming Business
There is an increasing interest in farming and land is the most important item in that regard. Therefore, site selection for farming purposes is a vital discussion for the farmer also setting up your farming business comes with other important factors that must be considered before starting your agribusiness.
Getting your start in the farming industry is no easy task, it requires a great knowledge of horticulture and agricultural studies as well as very hard labor. The other difficult aspect is choosing which crops to plant and keeping those crops healthy.
Crop protection such as aerial spraying is one such example of the operational cost you must consider. Also land is not unlimited and you must have a well-executed and designed layout for your crops in order to have the highest profit yield possible.
Overall, crop selection is the first decision to make in farm development as it will dictate every other decision and there are several factors to consider if you want to be successful.
First, we would like to state the general definition of agriculture which we believe is the pillar for all the land acquisition considerations.
Basically, Agriculture is the cultivation of crops and the rearing of animals to produce food for human consumption.
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Now let us look at the points to consider in site selection for farming business purpose:
1. Climatic factors
By this, we are referring to rainfall, humidity, wind pressure and direction, temperature etc. These factors must be favorable to the farming enterprise you choose be it crops or animals. Different types of crops do well under a certain range of climatic conditions, likewise certain animals.
It is, therefore, relevant to consider the factors that will promote your farming enterprise and avoid those that will not.
When you have a crop that is your livelihood you protect it with herbicides to kill weeds, fences to keep livestock out and effective pest control.
Regardless of if you do this manually or with more advanced methods such as aerial spraying; you also need to choose a crop that is resistant to environmental threats. Choosing to plant susceptible varieties of crops may actually negatively impact crop yield and profit.
2. Socio-economic factors
These factors include infrastructure, population, settlements, market, labor and others. Infrastructure, includes access roads, electricity, water, telecommunication, health facilities, police station etc.
The presence of these makes it suitable to site a venture like a poultry farm. However, proximity to the urban settlement may make it unsuitable. Another example is security and health considerations which will require the presence of health facilities and police presence, respectively. You may need a market close to your farm and available labor.
Careful thought and research must be carried out to assess the suitability of a farm site in the presence or absence of all or a combination of the socio-economic factors.
3. Edaphic factors
These are related to soil conditions like structure, fertility, texture, porosity, consistency etc. These soil factors determine the suitable farming enterprise be it crops or animals. Lands with clayey soils may be suited for fish farming, with all other factors favorable. Some lands are prone to flooding and/or erosion.
These lands, depending on your resources may be managed to set up a profitable farm e.g. fish farming. However, with a crop farm like vegetables and tree crops in mind, avoid such areas as it will not favor the crops.
Especially in regions with mixed climates or variable climates, the adaptability of the crop to thrive in multiple climates is also a key deciding factor. You should choose crops that can easily adapt to various climates at your farm site.
A good method to identify this is to look at existing farms and see what a majority of farmers are growing the most, and how well they are growing. Crops should also be adaptable to crop protection methods such as aerial spraying and other herbicide delivery methods.
4. Environmental factors
An environmental survey and scan should be the very first step you take. This will give you all the necessary information on the biotic factors that can impact your crop growth and yield, soil quality and pH levels, and accessibility to crops.
These factors basically refer living organisms that can impact your farm such as insects and pests, pathogens of disease, ruminant livestock, and weeds to name a few. The rule of thumb is, know your farmland, then choose your crop.
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Topographic qualities such as the terrain, elevation and pH levels of the soil will make the decision for you of which crops can grow there. Not all soils are suitable for all crops and you want to plant crops that are native to the soil you have.
Climate and natural supply of water such as ponds or reservoirs nearby will also play a key factor in crop choice. You must also consider your geographic location in relation to the market area/distribution region you choose to serve. Farm –to-market feasibility is a key factor in crop selection as crops have a limited shelf life.
Your farming operations should not have a negative impact on the environment. Some farming activities, when exposed to human or animals, can be harmful. This is usually the case when farms are site close to the urban area. On the other hand, the environment may also have a negative impact on your farm, reducing productivity.
Some farms are forced to move or change operation and the urban developments catch up. It is therefore very important to consider this factor in the selection of your site for farming.
5. Government policies
Various government make policies that help them to achieve growth in agriculture. Take advantage of it and set up your farm in a location likely to benefit from the implementation of the policy. For example, the government may decide to cut taxes for farms in a particular area or zone of the country.
Also, the government may increase the allocation of subsidized fertilizer and other agro-inputs for certain areas of the countries. You may build a farm in such areas to take advantage of it. You must consider Government policies in your site selection for farming purpose.
6. Biotic factors
This is relating to the presence or absence of some harmful or beneficial organisms. In site selection for farming purposes, you may consider the natural population of certain organisms like bees and other pollinators and less pest and disease-causing organisms. Where the farming venture involves tree crops, farmlands in forest areas are preferred.
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However, places with a long history of pests and diseases may be avoided. Also, you should be careful in choosing a site with certain dominant weeds which are difficult to control.
7. Economic factors
If you want your agricultural business to thrive, then this factor is the most important to consider. It includes the cost, benefits and terms of lease or acquisition. You need to carry out a feasibility study of the site to make sure that it will yield enough returns to sustain your farm.
This will give you an idea and better understanding, at the time of site selection, the site that will give you the highest returns, taking into consideration all the other factors.
The site may determine the suitable farming enterprise and vice versa. Before you reach a decision on the site for your farm or the right enterprise for your site, use all available expertise.
If you are looking to be successful in cash crop farming or even just be financially sustainable, the crops you choose must be profitable and have a good market demand. This usually means the crop must deliver high yields, and have a robust demand.
Crops such as apples, beans, and corn are just some examples of high demand crops. With the incorporation of efficient planting and harvesting processes and proper protection using aerial spraying, your harvest will yield a profit generating a significant return on your investment.
Keep in mind though you still need to handle the business end of things such as marketing and proper distribution.
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