Starting a farm that is plant-based sounds easy, but it is not and should not be so presumed. Whether there is already an existing farm lot or one still needs to be found, farming should be well planned. A general plan, ideally including a feasibility study, has to be prepared first taking into consideration all factors that may affect the profitability or sustainability of the undertaking.
Otherwise, huge losses may be incurred. Unfortunately, a farm cannot just be replaced or otherwise modified because a mistake was committed in its selection. The same is true to crops, especially perennial crops when already established.
With high density planting of fruit trees, the farmer must condition his ailing heart for that eventuality when plant population has to be reduced. This operation, called thinning, involves the cutting of excess trees in order to widen the distances between the remaining trees. The cutting of trees may also become a reasonable resort when it is finally realized that the market for the product has become lame. Likewise, the same may become necessary when it is decided that the landscape design has to be changed.
There are three important premises that will affect planning preparatory to actually starting a farm: First, there is no preexisting or preselected farm and no crop has been selected for growing but you want to buy a farm and to engage in farming. Second, the farm is already available. Third, the crop to be grown has been decided but a suitable farm has yet to be found. All these will have to consider either crop selection or site selection or both.
I would consider the following factors before actually starting a farm:
First, know what you want. Whether or not there is a preexisting farm lot, the purpose of going into farming must be identified. What exactly are your ultimate aims in developing a farm? For little cash and subsistence, as a showcase of your farming skills and ingenuity, as a form of self-employment with a meagre profit, or as a business venture? As a place to spend vacation ? As a permanent residence or refuge from the polluted and chaotic city life? Or as a component of a grander plan such as engaging in fruit processing or in agri-tourism inspired hotel and restaurant business?
Whatsoever, it will affect the choice of location and the site and size of the farm as well as the choice of crops and the planting layout. For example, an agri-tourism business establishment should be relatively large and located preferably where it is visible and easily accessible to the public. A natural attraction and a pond for fish culture and aquatic plants will be a huge bonus. Here the likely crop candidates are the shade trees, fruit trees, and ornamental plants. A unique landscape architecture also needs to be designed.
Knowing what you want before actually starting a farm will save the trouble of feeling frustrated because of error in either crop or site selection. The various factors that will affect selection should be considered.
(Ben G. Bareja. October 2011)
>>>Go to: Factors in Crop Selection
>>>Go to: Factors in Farm Site Selection