The first step to purchase and make a living from a farm is to devise a realistic business plan to determine what goals and land uses needs you have. For example if you want to herd livestock you need the right amount of acreage. If you want to grow crops, you need to make sure the land is the correct soil type. It is important to remember that a farms resources will ultimately dictate what businesses you will be able to successfully establish.
Other factors to consider if you are deciding to purchase a farm.
- What is the location in proximity to your target market?
- Is the farm easy to find?
- Is it accessible by roads? What quality are these roads?
- Are the roads leading to the farm wide enough to be able to accommodate equipment e.g. gates must be wide enough for tractors
- Does a main road cut across your land? Will you have to move livestock across this road?
- Are you going to live in the farm house?
- Is the farm house adjacent to the land?
- Is the farm house near shops, schools, doctors, transport? How close do you need to be?
- How close are your nearest neighbours?
- Is there access to electricity, phone, water, cable television and Internet services?
- Are there outhouses and barns? What size and condition are they in? Do they need renovation? Improvements can be expensive depending on the size of the project.
- Is there planning permission in place for any critical projects?
- Are Fields visible from the farmhouse?
- What type of land do you need?
- What do you want to do with the land? Grow crops? Herd livestock?
- How much acreage do you need? Too little land can be a limiting factor for future expansion.
- What is land currently used for?
- What is the lay of the land? Flat land may have potential drainage problems while land on a hill can be difficult to maintain and work.
- What is the drainage system? Water drainage is the bain of every farmer. Too much water and you could be prone to flooding and too little could lead to a drought.
- Are there local regulations regarding the use of surface water for non-residential purposes?
- Is there an irrigation system? Is this a future expenditure?
- How accessible is the land?
It is easy to spend a lot of money setting up a farm as livestock, equipment, labour and seeds are expensive. It is therefore important that you consult both your bank and other professional advisors when setting up a farm. Contact the The Irish Farmers Association for more information in this regard.
Financial factors you need to consider include
- Labour Costs
- Grants available
- Working Capital
- Ongoing expenditures on maintenance and improvements such as repairs and equipment.
Purchasing a farm requires a considerable amount or resources and it is therefore very important that your farm plan is well developed and takes into account all the answers to the questions above.