Ask a farmer if they’d recommend their industry as a viable career in the twenty first century and more often than not, they’d say no. Farming has always been tough – hours are long, the economic factors hit hard, and the industry can have a massively detrimental impact on your mental health. Farming is one of the worst industries for suicide rates and mental illness. As such, most farmers would tell you to consider a different career.
However, for many, farming is a vocation. They can think
Imagine waking up at 5 am every morning and not returning home until 9 pm. This is the life of many farmers up and down the country. There’s no weekend or day off. This relentless way of life is hard and can leave a farmer feeling like nothing more than a robot going about his or her duties. The rewards, while present, are hardly great. This can mean a farmer is working 100 hour weeks for minimal profit. This back-breaking work has changed since the 1950s what with better machinery and technology to aid in the ploughing of fields and the milking of cows, but it can still be an isolating existence. This means life for a farmer is full of highs and lows, which can take a toll on emotions and well being. However, if your vocation is calling you, give it a go and see if you fit into the farming lifestyle.
For those farmers who have a well organised farm that grows the most superior crops and produce, striking deals can be a more straightforward job. If your radishes are sought after, or your tomatoes are seen as the cream of the crop, you could have supermarkets and high end delis wanting to buy directly from you. This can lead to a seller’s market. You can charge pretty much what you like and set your own terms. This is a rare occurrence with many milk farmers suffering as a result of oversupply and supermarkets rinsing the market for all its worth.
However, if you grow organic or you know where to source the best seed, you can flaunt your wares with great confidence. Find a decent grain brokers and you could find yourself with a plentiful supply of reasonably priced barley and wheat to grow and sell on to the highest bidder. There are plenty of avenues down which to sell your produce, from supermarkets to delis and from animal feed to dog food manufacturers. Exploiting your business acumen can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your job.
Most of your day will be spent outside tending to your cows or sheep, or checking the growth of your sugar beet or maize. If you love being outside, there aren’t many jobs that can afford you so much time spent in the great outdoors.
You’ll get the opportunity to work with large machinery and vehicles to help you complete your jobs faster. You might plough a field on a JCB Fast Track and with a seven furrow plough. Perhaps, you’re keen to look at the combine harvester with the most powerful engine you can find to make your harvesting easier.
Working For Yourself
If you choose to set up your own smallholding, you are in good company. Many people yearn to be more self sufficient and even more people are eager to get their fruit and vegetables from smaller producers. Cutting down on air miles is key to saving the environment. Growing organically is ideal for the health conscious amongst us.
As a farmer, you’ll need to be ready to take on many responsibilities. You’ll not only need to grow exceptional produce, but you’ll need to market it, sell it, set up stalls in the market, purchase decent seed, and maintain your machinery. Every day as a farmer is varied. One morning you might be returning a field to stubble, the next you might be down at your local cafe trying to enthuse the owner about the joys of your artisan strawberry jam.
The satisfaction you feel as a farmer can be immense. Whether you work in arable or livestock farming, you will be feeding the population of your nation. This means working with animals from birth to slaughter trying to give them the best lives possible. Or it could mean seeing tiny seeds grow into the most delicious onions, carrots or barley.
Being a farmer is not for the faint hearted. It’s not a nine to five job spent in the sunshine, picking the crops, putting them into a basket, enjoying catching some rays and having a go on a tractor before returning to your large farmhouse. Farming won’t make you rich, but it could keep you satisfied and content.