Emily Harrinson discusses what it takes to be a farmer and essential skills.
Starting your farm can be scary and overwhelming, especially if you are new to the world of farming. When it comes to essential skills that you should possess, you might not know where to start.
However, to become a productive farmer, you need to focus on developing and improving a particular skill set.
You need to be willing to conduct extensive research to find the right information and people who can help you become a successful farmer. Apart from being open-minded and willing, you will need to develop some core skills to be successful.
Defining farmer skills
Farmer skills are talents, expertise, or abilities that you need to have to perform your daily duties as a farmer.
Some of the most important farmer skills include farm management, problem-solving, organizational, and interpersonal skills.
You can use these skills in different ways, from tending crops to communicating with your team and repairing trucks. Having these skills will help you stand out among other farmers and be the most successful.
Essential farmer skills
Every farmer needs a wide range of skills to do their jobs successfully and efficiently. Some of the important skills that you will need as a farmer include:
Farming is a profession full of trials and errors. And it requires problem-solving skills. For example, every farmer thinks of the best ways to harvest crops.
When something unexpected happens, such as bad weather, it can lead to harvesting delays.
By solving problems effectively, you will always have a productive season regardless of the challenges that arise.
2. Repairing and mechanical
To plant and harvest crops successfully, farmers need a wide range of equipment and tools. Since farming is quite unpredictable, it is important to develop mechanical skills.
When you can repair equipment and buildings on your farm, you will not have to rely on a professional. And this will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
3. Interpersonal skills
Every farmer needs a team to complete their duties on time. As a farmer, you will need to communicate with every team member effectively to inspire them.
By coaching them, you boost your productivity and performance in the end. Interpersonal skills also help farmers to chat with buyers.
And negotiate better rates. Apart from making sales, interpersonal skills help build a community that provides access to various things such as supplies or equipment.
4. Effective time management
During the planting or harvesting season, farmers spend most of their time on the farm. Taking too much time off will make you miss out on opportunities.
Every successful farmer needs to manage their time effectively to meet market demand. When you start managing your time on the farm effectively, you will become effective in almost anything you indulge in.
5. Physical stamina and health
As a farmer, you will spend most of your time at the farm lifting, hauling, and pulling objects as you walk around.
Therefore, you need to have good physical stamina to endure strenuous activities. You will also have to perform these duties in different weather conditions, such as intense heat and low temperatures.
These extreme temperatures can make it harder for you to execute tasks. However, having a strong and healthy physical stamina allows you to complete your most important tasks efficiently.
All types of farmers need to have good organisational skills to accurately record a wide range of paperwork. Some of the common paperwork at the farm include labour contracts, invoices, payroll, and warranties.
Farmers also need to have certification paperwork. You need to develop this skill, especially in your early farming years.
Successful farmers need to be flexible and adaptable, especially when dealing with unexpected scenarios or conditions.
While you may learn a lot about farming in school or on the internet, it is not the same as real farming experience. You need to remain adaptive, especially when it comes to farming for business purposes.
Adaptability will help you grow as you will be ready to change to meet the ever-changing demands of the consumer.
By remaining adaptable, you’ll know how to face new obstacles by adapting to new methods and techniques in preparation for changes.
You will not be required to invest in a new gadget or device that is trending on the market. However, you need to be aware of the technological advancements that relate to the field of agriculture.
For instance, you need to know about new irrigation systems in the market, pesticide use, and how to transport and store produce, to name a few.
Improving your farming skills
Whether you want to improve your current skills or develop new ones, there are several effective approaches that you should take. Developing and improving your skills will help you grow and thrive while remaining competitive.
1. Know the trends
Successful farmers always know what is happening in the industry. The best way to improve your skills is by staying up to date with everything. And this ranges from field operations to machinery and marketing techniques. With these techniques, you can easily set clear and achievable goals.
2. Build relationships
Building and strengthening your interpersonal relationships with market leaders and your colleagues is important in business.
Doing this can will resolve conflicts, improve communication, negotiation, and persuasion skills. These skills will help you become a better farmer in the long run.
Forming alliances with your counterparts can develop your skills and expand your knowledge. You need to understand their practices and how they have managed to improve gradually.
In the world of farming, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can save a lot of time and money by learning from your friends and competitors.
Starting a farm is one of the hardest things that you can do. This is especially true if you have never had any experience with farming.
However, you can save a lot of time and money by developing the skills listed in this post and learning from others.
About the writer:
- Farmer’s Diary contributor, Clodagh Hughes, touched on this topic in her most recent submission – read this