Becoming a Farmer (Part 7 of 7): Enough With the Questions! I (Think) I’m Ready to Roll!

“Your preparation for the real world is not in the answers you’ve learned, but in the questions you’ve learned how to ask.”Bill Watterson

What’s With All the Questions!?!



Have you ever asked someone who just did something odd if they had asked themselves a specific question beforehand, and then you can see their eyes spin counterclockwise as they scramble to make up a reason? Don’t get caught having not thought things through and embarrass yourself or, worse, waste valuable time, lose money, or jeopardize your plans or damage personal relationships.

The questions we’ve been working through appear to be straightforward. You should be able to answer them with some thought and some research. But contrary to what you’ve been taught, the quickest way to a destination might not be a straight line.

Chasing My Tail

So, how could the quickest way not be a straight line? Well, 0ne answer to a question affects another question’s answer, and then you need to ask the first question again (and maybe again) and likely in a different, more-creative way.

You might need to be ingenious. Here’s a good example of on-the-spot ingenuity. I had a fifth-grade classmate who entered a classroom mid-class, presenting his hall pass to the teacher. She inspected the pass and, quizzically, then asked my classmate how he had left one classroom at 3:43 p.m. and arrived in her classroom at 3:41 p.m. Back in those days, with analog clocks, it wasn’t uncommon to have clocks set separately from room to room. But, my classmate didn’t go that route. Nope. His answer? “I walked backwards.” Brilliant!

So, keep your process (and thoughts) open. “Who” wants to farm will affect the “why” that drives you, and the “why” can affect the “how” and the “what,” which influence the “who.” What have I been smoking? Only the best! Ask the right questions or your business might go “Up in Smoke“!

Checklist for success:

Checklist for success:

  • □ Answered six crucial questions.
  • □ Answered six crucial questions again
  • □ Have a business plan.
  • □ Have feedback from experts on business plan.
  • □ Expanded your education beyond YouTube.
  • □ Tried things on a small scale first.
  • □ Confirmed things on a small scale first
  • □ Done extensive market research.
  • □ Done extensive market research again.
Turning (farming) romance into reality, since 2015.

Plan Your Work. Work Your Plan.

photo-illustration of small farm incubator and apprenticeship program trifold brochure. [credit: uf/ifas extension sarasota county]Planning in place and ready to roll? The next step is to start small and learn. Our UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension Small Farm Start-up School is meant to give you need-to-know information while sprinkling in farm tours, business planning, farmer panels and presentations from practitioners and experts.

Our Small Farmer Incubator program, launched in 2023, aims to give the dreamer a low-cost, low-risk way to learn a ton before investing their 401k in a farm. We provide land, facilities, equipment and access to markets. To learn more come to our incubator open house, set for 5 p.m. Feb. 13. Doing an apprenticeship can help you avoid beginner mistakes by shadowing successful farmers.

Get more information about the program in our trifold brochure.

Good luck. I wish you the best… you might need it!


Rod Greder is a UF/IFAS Extension Agent at Sarasota County. He specializes in Sustainable Agriculture.
Posted: February 6, 2024

Category: Agribusiness, Agriculture, Farm Management
Tags: Ag, Agriculture, BecomingAFarmer, Business, Farm, Farm School, Grower, Pgm_Ag, Ranch, Small Farm, Small Farming

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