Category Archives: farm business

Things to Consider When Buying a Farm

farm-for-sale

When you are considering buying a farm, it’s important to be prepared for some of the hidden challenges that will come up. A lot of things will seem self-evident but here are a few things to consider that may not be:

A good Real-Estate agent will save you time and money

Farm properties are a unique category of real-estate. There are many complex aspects to purchasing a farm that is not involved in the urban real-estate market. Make sure your agent is knowledgeable in farm and rural issues. Getting a good agent in the mix will save you both time and money when you buy a farm.

Availability of local markets

Although you may not sell all of your main production at the local farmer’s market, these types of locations can add a lot of needed cash flow to the small farmer. Having one nearby will allow you to maintain cash flow throughout the year by marketing complimentary items. If you have some crops that appeal directly to end users, you can maximize your margins by selling directly at the market rather than to resellers.

Infrastructure on Property

What sorts of buildings and improvements are on the property? How many of them are useful to you in your farm business plan? Is there infrastructure or buildings that can be adapted to your needs if they don;t already match them currently? If the farm comes with equipment, or a stockpile of resources like hay or firewood you may be able to use them to increase your returns.

History of the land and site evaluation

What sorts of crops or livestock were raised on the property previously? Are there any parts of the property that have had different purposes in the past? The current owners may provide information, but consulting with the neighbors may also yield valuable insights about the farm you are buying.

Tax status & zoning

What will your property taxes be? If the land is zoned as farming, you will have to keep it in prodcution in order to keep the lower farm tax rate. If it’s not zoned for farming, you will have to inquire with the local zoning authority how to get the proper zoning approved.

Soil tests

Comprehensive soil tests and profiling will  help you prepare for the best crop choices for your new farm. If you are interested in organic production, it would be wise to test your soil for residues and other heavy metals that may inhibit your ability to grow organically. This can be expensive but worth the investment.

Access to Water

If you plan on buying a farm, this is by far the most important resource to consider before you buy a farm. Water rights law is very complex and making sure you understand your rights and usage is extremely critical.  Know if you rights are currently valid and active. What are the water sources on the property?  It is also important to know what year your rights date back to. Senior water rights always get the water first. Do you have ponds, creeks, or wells that you are legally able to irrigate from?  What is the drinking water source? If from a well, test your water for metals and other contaminants.

A little bit of planning while you are looking for your new farm property can save big headaches in the long-run. If you are starting or buying a farm, Canadian Grants Business Center can help you locate the funding to get your farm business going.

Start or expand your farming business now: the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

The top 6 Issues for Farming in 2018

Time marches on, and with it comes changes to what we know about agriculture and the realities of modern farming. In 2018 there are some issues to keep in mind as a potential new or existing farmer:

1. Shifting Farm Demographics. The average Canadian farmer is 57 years old, and a large number are over 65. In the coming years, farm assets will have to be transferred to younger producers. A new generation of farmers needs to be ready to take up the job left for them by the older generation. Farmers of all ages need to be aware of this trend and prepare accordingly. It’s important to have a farm succession plan in place to ensure a smooth transition when it becomes advantageous to do so.

2. Spreading Technology. Software and data will supplement existing knowledge for farmers and will change and improve on-farm practices. Investing in the tools and resources to maximize yields will be an increasing priority for Canada’s Farmers.

 

3. Continued Implementation of Bio-Technology. Genetically Modified Organisms(GMOs) are spreading through the marketplace. Although they have been proven to be safe and effective, there are political and public relations issues remaining around them. Farmers need to stay up to date on the news and make wise decisions about what to grow and when.

4. Resource Scarcity. More than 40% of the food production increase since the 1960’s has been accomplished through the use of irrigation. Unfortunately, groundwater supplies are limited.  Improving irrigation efficiency should be a priority on any farm.

5. Public Scrutiny of Livestock Treatment. Consumers are increasingly focused on livestock health and wellbeing. Animals raised with more space and a more natural diet command a premium on the market. Producers and retailers can command an advantage by properly labeling and offering process transparency to consumers.

6. Environmental Concern is Growing. Fertilizer and pesticides have been the focus of many new scientific studies and regulations. This trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Farmers have to keep up to date on a complex list of changing regulations. With every challenge comes opportunities. The Public’s interest in these issues has created a niche for Organic food produced without pesticide or artificial fertilizer.

As a farmer, there are many issues financial and otherwise facing your business. There are financial programs to help navigate and implement policies relating to many of these issues.

If you are ready to start or expand your farm, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help you find funding. Use our funding finder tool:

http://www.canadiangrantsbusinesscenter.com/Funding-Finder.html

Or call us Toll-free at:

1-888-231-0075

Starting a Pig Farm in 2018

Pigs can be a great choice to start or expand your livestock farm. Pig litters are large,  and the feed-to-meat conversion ratio is better than many other livestock options. Pigs mature quickly and are ready for market sooner than many alternative farm animals.

A farmer raising pigs has to choose a method of farming: intensive or free range. In intensive farming, the pigs are kept in an enclosed area and food and water are brought directly to the animals. Free-range farming implies that the animals are left to move around more, foraging on oats, barley,  and even grass. There are pros and cons to each approach, but either method can lead to a successful livestock business.

In addition to choosing intensive or free-range methods, every pig farmer has to deal with some important questions.

Do you have access to Water?
Water is a priority in all farming, even when raising livestock. Lacking a reliable water supply can lead to productivity loss, disease and even death of livestock. A pig requires between 10 and 50 liters of water per day, depending on the animals age and size.

A  1200 liter tank for every 10 pigs is a good rule of thumb. This allows at least two days worth of water to be kept in reserve, in case of supply problems that require time to repair.

Will you breed or buy Piglets?

A farmer can breed pigs or buy young pigs to grow and sell.  A new pig farmer should probably buy young pigs the first few times, grow them out and sell them before attempting to breed them. Focusing energy on understanding pigs better and to develop production policies will reduce the complexity of the operation. Breeding young pigs, will add additional complexity and difficulties to the task of rearing pigs.

Do you have the Equipment and Facilities?

Pigs require food, water, and protection from the elements. Pigs are powerful animals and need solidly built infrastructure including housing, water troughs and fencing. Pigs are susceptible to several diseases, particularly in intensive farming systems where crowding may be a problem. Facilities need to provide sufficient space to be able to isolate sick animals and decrease chances of illness spreading.

What Feed will you use?

Before buying your first pigs, make sure you can afford to vaccinate and feed them until they are market-ready. Pigs that are raised on lower quality food will grow more slowly and yield less meat. A quality, nutritionally balanced feed will cost more but may provide a better return.

 

Raising pigs can be a great way to earn more money from an existing farm, or to start a new livestock venture. When you are ready to expand your livestock business or start a new livestock facility,

The Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

 

2018 Farm Grants – Get Started Early

The end of this year is fast approaching; 2018 Will be here soon. Now is the best time for new and existing farmers to ensure that they maximise funding opportunities by applying to any remaining 2017 programs, and getting started early on 2018 programs.

With the harvest season rapidly ending, there is no time better than right now to get any financing, expansion and restructuring plans underway.

Some off-season effort can lead to much better productivity in the growing season. When you are ready to apply for the last 2017 funding programs, and get the 2018 information you need to get a leg up, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Find funding at:

http://www.canadiangrantsbusinesscenter.com/Funding-Finder.html

Or call us Toll-free at:

1-888-231-0075

Equipment for Farming Part 4: Equipment for Grain Harvesting

Harvesting grain crops is an intensive process that involves planning, skill and the use of advanced machinery.  In order to effectively farm many of the grains we find in Canada including Wheat, barley, and Canola, a Canadian Farmer will require several pieces of equipment:

Swather for Cutting and Drying

In Canada, where we have a short growing season, farmers often use a swather to harvest wheat. This piece of machinery is necessary when a grain does not have enough time to dry before harvesting. The swather cuts the stems of the plant and forms a  windrow, which is a uniform row of cut small grain crop left to dry before combining or further harvesting. Farmers who own combines that aren’t equipped to reap, or cut, the crop often use swathers.

A Combine is Essential to Grain Farming

The combine is the central part of the harvest. A combine “combines” the 3 harvest tasks: reaping, binding, and threshing. Combines have removable, crop-specific heads so that they can be used to harvest many types of crops. A combine can often hold a large amount of wheat, but when it fills up, it needs to be emptied before the machine can continue.

A Grain Truck to Transport the Harvest

Grain trucks transport the crop from the fields to the storage facility. A Grain truck is animportant piece of machinery that works alongside the combine allowing grain to be transferred quickly and efficiently. The truck can then transport grain from the field to storage units or shipping points. Grain trucks work best when equipped with large, specialized wheels to provide the traction required to move through the fields.

Grain Augers

When the grain arrives at the storage facility, a grain auger moves the grain into storage containers. An auger is a motorized, rotating, spiral shaft similar to a drill bit sometimes encased in metal tubing. It works like a pump for grain moving grain into or out of storage. Most augers are powered by a tractor or combine.

Grain Dryer for Straight Cut Crops

When a farmer skips swathing, or the crop still has a high moisture content a grain dryer can be used to dry the crop to an acceptable moisture level, which is usually below 12% for long-term storage. These stationary machines use energy to heat and blow air over and through the crop in order to speed drying and reduce spoilage.

Bins and Storage Units

Bins and silos are used to store grain. Metal or concrete bins or silos are covered structuresdesigned to aerate and continue to dry the grain. Proper Storage is a must, as improperly stored grains can quickly spoil. Grain elevators and bins are often designed to move the grain in order to facilitate even drying.

The Right Equipment is Key to a Farm’s Success

The right harvesting equipment can help raise efficiency and keep the property in top shape. Farming equipment costs can be substantial, and it’s important to take advantage of all sources of funding available to your farm. Whatever you decide: Buying new or used equipment will be a key to your on-farm success. Start or expand your farming business now: the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

5 Important Tips for New Farmers

Be Practical

Some farmers become too focused on their ideologies. New farmers, particularly those in urban areas  and farmers using sustainable techniques , may focus all their energy on big world issues — environmental, economic or political. A global focus may cause them to miss small opportunities in front of them. They may get discouraged that their local actions are not having enough of a global impact.
These ideologies can also keep small farmers from working with others who may have a different point of view or approach. The established farmers and support network are critical supports for a new farmer getting an operation started.

Sell Direct to Build Capacity

Seek out the path of least resistance. Visit the local farmers’ markets to sell your produce as you get the hang of what you can grow and sell. You will grow your customer base and learn what they want to buy. By having a direct relationship with end consumers you will get valuable feedback and also not become overcommitted to large orders you may initially have difficulties filling.

Have the Right Equipment

Some farmers may not have the right equipment to get started.

Although bootstrapping can work well for hobby operations,  farming on a a commercially viable scale requires capital. A huge sum is  not needed to start a small farm, but farmers starting out will require basic equipment: a tractor, a seeder, walk-in cooler and perhaps other small machinery. Cheap solutions like trying to spread seed by hand, or trying to use consumer refrigerators can end in problems. The right equipment can make all the difference.

Focus on One Thing at a Time

Some small farmers try to take on too many things right from the beginning. New farmers need to  focus on one or two things until they become successful. As in any business, trying to take on too much can be the mistake holding a beginning farmer back from every getting the ball rolling.

Treat Farming as a Business

The single most important factor in farming success is to approach farming as an actual business. Many farmers have big and noble ambitions, but you need to pay attention to the bottom line if you want the farm to succeed and grow over a long period of time.

If you are ready to start or expand your farm, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help you find funding. Use our funding finder tool:

http://www.canadiangrantsbusinesscenter.com/Funding-Finder.html

Or call us Toll-free at:

1-888-231-0075

$350 Million in new Funding for Canadian Dairy Industry.

The Canadian Government has just announced two programs worth $350 million for Canada’s dairy sector. The Funding is meant to help farmers and processors invest in new equipment and technologies in order to increase productivity and farm profits.

A closeup of a dairy cow eating hay in the barn - chewing his cud.

A $250 million program will help Canadian dairy farmers update their technology and equipment to boost productivity. Robotic milking equipment, automated feeding systems or new herd management software are examples of what would qualify.

A second $100 million fund for dairy processors would be available to help modernize their operations or diversify product lines for new markets. The idea is to encourage Canadian producers to take advantage of newly opened European markets.

The new assistance package was designed based on what the government heard from the dairy sector during consultations in recent months. The government plans to keep talking to farmers and processors over the next few weeks as it finalizes how the programs will work, including additional online consultations.

In order to maximize the chance fo success for local producers, it is important that they take advantage of this funding: There are a lot of farms that need updating in Canada.

When you are ready to start or expand your farming business, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

3 Profitable Specialty Crops for Canadian Farmers

Many farmers are looking for a way to produce extra income on the farm. Sometimes adding a small-scale cash crop can help increase farm profits, or even become a major source of on-farm income. Here are 3 crops worth considering as an add-on or main crop for your farm:

Gourmet mushrooms. Mushrooms can be an ideal second crop for Canadian farmers, as they are grown indoors and produce a  high return per square foot. The two gourmet mushrooms varieties with the largest demand are oyster and shiitake. Oyster mushrooms can yield up to 25 pounds per square foot of growing area every year. At an average price of $7 a pound,  a 10 x 10 space can generate $17,500 in a single year. Oyster and shiitake can be dried, or sold fresh, allowing for flexibility in distribution and timing.

Garlic. The 3 types of gourmet garlic can provide a great boost to farm revenue. Rocambole, Purplestripe and Porcelain varieties offer superior flavor and command a premium at retail.  These gourmet varieties can sell for as much as $10 a pound.  In good soil, an acre planted with garlic can yield 15,000 pounds. Garlic is a hearty crop that tolerates a wide range of soil and weather conditions, and that’s why many growers rely on it to provide dependable income year in and year out.

Herbs. The biggest herb demand is for fresh culinary herbs. Growers can supply customers directly at farmer’s markets to maximize revenues. A great way to add value is to package 4 herbs into a  windowsill size herb garden. Dried culinary herbs can also be packaged to sell at the farmer’s market, extending shelf-life. With hundreds of choices, including a broad range of ethnic herbs for serious cooks, growers can focus on mainstream and niche herbs to cater to a variety of clients.

If you are ready to start or expand your farm, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help you find funding. Use our funding finder tool:

http://www.canadiangrantsbusinesscenter.com/Funding-Finder.html

Or call us Toll-free at:

1-888-231-0075

Funding for Farm Upgrades: Grow Your Farm in 2017

 

Starting or expanding a farm can be a challenge, but is also very rewarding, both financially and in terms of personal satisfaction.

There are many farm grants programs set up to facilitate farm investment and encourage growth.

Farmers regularly apply and receive funding for a variety of business purposes including:

  • Barn construction and upgrades
  • Livestock purchase
  • Seed and fertilizer purchase
  • Tractor and combine purchase or lease
  • Land acquisition and clearing
  • Installation of Irrigation Systems
  • Installation of Tile Drainage
  • Fencing
  • Implementing Technology Upgrades


Farm upgrades can be a great way to drive on-farm productivity in 2017 and for tomorrow.

If you are ready to start or expand a farm, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help find funding. Find funding at:

http://www.canadiangrantsbusinesscenter.com/Funding-Finder.html

Or call us Toll-free at:

1-888-231-0075

Funding for Farm Fencing and Irrigation

Fencing

Fencing is an important part of livestock farming. Depending on the type of livestock that you will raise, you will need to choose a fencing strategy accordingly.

The first choice is between stationary and portable fencing options. If you are planning on moving your animals around, you will not want to invest as much in permanent fencing, but rather into something flexible.

Your final choice of fencing has to take into account the species of livestock. Horses, cattle, hogs, goat, sheep and chicken all have specific needs to minimize fence maintenance and possible injury to the animals.

Electric fences can often be a good choice for horses, cattle, hogs and goats.

  • In the case of hogs and cattle, you will need to choose high tensile wires that can stand up to the demands of large and heavy animals.
  • When choosing fencing for horses, the primary concern needs to be visibility in order to avoid high-speed collisions. There are electric fences that offer wide tape inserts, as an alternative to conventional wooden fences.

Irrigation

Choice of irrigation systems is going to reflect crop choice, field location, and growing medium. In addition to the delivery method, it is important to properly
size and support the system with appropriate pumps, tubing, and regulators. There are a fe w common types of irrigation systems, some of which are better for certain applications.

  • Drip-line irrigation is a system of water lines that allows a controlled amount of water to be applied. This can be a good choice for row crop, orchards, and berry applications.
  • Outdoor Sprinklers can spread water over a relatively large area are quick to deploy, and can have applications in dust control, frost protection and cooling in addition to irrigation.
  • Foggers & Mist Lines are a good choice for indoor growing installations like greenhouses.

If you are ready to consider installing farm improvements like Fencing and irrigation systems, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help. Find funding at:

http://www.canadiangrantsbusinesscenter.com/Funding-Finder.html

Or call us Toll-free at:

1-888-231-0075