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Cultivating The Next Generation of Farmers
Rebecca Brightwell, Farm Again Co-Director

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Farming is much like any business.  The profits made can relate to many factors including the size of operation and personal attributes of the business owner.  Any business is subject to external factors that can make a particular year more or less profitable.  For farmers, weather and the cost of labor are big factors that influence their business outcomes.  Also each person will have different expectations of what an acceptable level of income is.  Some people require very little income and have full and satisfied lives.  Other people may have needs and wants that require a higher wage. 

A recent research study we conducted through a project called AgTeen, 116 farm families in Georgia self-reported  their farm income.  The average annual farm income was between $50,000 - $59,000.  Average total annual household income was reported between $70,000 - $89,000 (work outside of the farm supplemented income).  Twenty-eight percent of the respondents were very experienced farmers and reported farm income of well over $100,000.  However, these incomes may not be realistic when you first start farming. 

If you are new to farming it may be best to start small and expand as your skills and confidence increase.  In many areas there are mentor programs available that allow you to work directly with an experienced farmer.  For instance, Georgia Organics offers a great mentor program.  However, a mentor can be anyone that is an experienced farmer and willing to let you learn their trade.   So find out who is successful at the type of farming you want to do and see if they will let you volunteer on their farm. 

Are you ready to start exploring if farming is right for you?  Here are some good first steps: