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Tim Young: How To Start A Small Farming Business

Original Content
By Adam Taggart
November 26, 2017

Tim Young: How To Start A Small Farming Business

Original Content
By Adam Taggart on
November 26, 2017

Many readers of this website have shared with us their hopes of one day shedding their office jobs for a more meaningful, more resilient life involving a deeper connection with Nature. Starting a small-scale farming business is the most common dream we hear from these folks.

But how to get started? And.. Can you really make a living at it?

In this week's podcast we're joined by Tim Young, who made the transition to 'artisan entrepreneur' after spending twenty-five years in marketing roles within the high tech industry.

Tim credits his business background for his successful transition. And he realized along the process that it's the lack of such business skills — more than any other factor — that determines whether a new farmer will make it or not.

So to help those considering making the same career jump he did, Tim founded Small Farm Nation, which which offers 'farm-preneurs' practical guidance for growing their farm businesses.

His first and most important advice: Successful small farming is just 20 percent about growing stuff, and 80 percent about marketing effectively to your customers.

When we started operating our farm, we used to do farm tours. A whole bunch of people would come out, and one of the things that I noticed was how many of them wanted to live vicariously through us. They were looking to do something like we were. But they had a number of unanswered questions that prevented them from moving forward. Questions like: How do I start a farm? How do I run it? And: Can you make money farming? That's was the single question we heard more than any other.

I noticed that the biggest limiting factor was that most people just lack the business skills to make a farm — or, quite frankly, any small business — successful. And my own firsthand experience had taught me that the skills that are required to make a business marketing firm successful aren't really any different than the skills required to make a small diversified livestock farm, or an artisan cheese business, successful. They really are one and the same.

So the Small Farm Nation Academy was created to help those folks interested in becoming any type of small direct marketing producer (i.e., people who are trying to go to market directly and not be caught in the commodity business). That includes farmers, soap makers, cheese makers, equestrians, breweries, wineries, distilleries, etc — anyone who's using the land to create an artisan product. We walk them through the steps they need to follow to determine where their revenue is going to come from, what products they're going to offer, what their go-to-market strategy is going to be, what their cost structure should be, what their critical success factors are — and all the other elements necessary for being successful with their business. 

Click the play button below to listen to my interview with Tim Young (51m:28s).

Listen to the Audio

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