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How do I know this farm or farmland is the right place for me?

There are many factors to consider in choosing a farm or farmland. Sometimes people commit to a farm based more on a romantic vision than a realistic assessment. If you are not 100% sure of how or where you want to farm, it may make sense to rent or lease, to see if this is the right place for you. Farming visions, goals and preferences can change, so make sure that the property you select offers an appropriate degree of flexibility, too.

Here are some things to think about:

  • Location, location, location-how accessible, how visible, how close to neighbors, markets for your products, suppliers? What about community, schools, regulations?
  • The land, of course-acreage, topography, soil types, water, field size and layout, sensitive environmental features
  • Climate-what about precipitation, length of growing season, micro-climates?
  • Housing-do you require housing on the farm or nearby? Can you build? What condition is the house; is it the right size for the foreseeable future?
  • Farm infrastructure-buildings, fencing, roads, water supply, utilities, equipment? Can you build or place new infrastructure?
  • Farm history-prior uses, chemical use and storage, non-agricultural uses, liens and encumbrances
  • What kind of agriculture is already present in the area? Are there farming neighbors for support and advice?
  • Are there agricultural service providers serving the region?
Here is a sample of resources:

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is a great help with farm planning, site assessment, land use questions, etc. This link will take you to a map to locate your local office.

See our pages on How do I find a farm or farmland? and How do I develop a conservation or land use plan for my property? for other resources on this topic.


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