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First-Time Farmers & Ranchers

Closeup of crops on a farm

Getting started in farming or ranching as a young beginning or small producer can be challenging, but it’s also an exciting and rewarding journey. The best place to start is your local Farm Credit Association’s YBS Program that could offer advice, trainings or seminars on topic, such as establishing effective business plans, transfer of family farms, risk management techniques, and financial skills training. As you know, agriculture is a vital industry that feeds and clothes people all around the world, and we need more young, motivated farmers and ranchers to help keep it going As today’s producers begin to age, but where do you begin? Well, one program that can help you get started is the young beginner and small program YBS. This nationally recognized program supported by the Farm Credit system is tailored toward young, beginning and small farmers, ranchers, and landowners. To qualify as a YBS producer, you need to meet at least one of the following criteria, be 35 years or younger, have been in the ag industry for 10 years or less, or generate $250,000 or less in gross ag sales annually.

If you meet any of these criteria, the YBS program can provide you financial guidance and support to help you get your operation off the ground. The program is handled differently by various associations, but the goal is the same to get more young, beginning, and small producers involved in the ag industry and help replace the aging population that currently makes up our farmers and ranchers. When getting started, here are some of the primary things to consider. You’ll want to develop a business plan that outlines your goals, resources, and strategies for success. It may also be a good idea to start small and gradually build up your operation. Be sure to research available resources such as government grants and technical assistance programs. Other resources you can take advantage of include local farming associations and organizations, community colleges and universities and online resources that can help you learn more about the different aspects of agriculture.

It is also important to identify your target market and begin to understand their needs and preferences. Finally, you’ll want to explore your financing options, hopefully with Texas Farm Credit. One more thing that you can do to help get started is find a mentor in the industry. Look for an experienced producer in your area who can offer guidance and advice based on their own experience. This could be someone you know personally or someone you meet through local agriculture organizations. Having a mentor can help you navigate the ups and downs of starting your own farming your ranching operation, and provide you with valuable insights and advice. So if you’re a young farmer or rancher looking to start your own operation, don’t be discouraged With the right resources and support. You can succeed and make a real difference in the ag industry. And that’s exactly what we’re here for.

About the AuthorAudrey Vasquez

Audrey joined TFC in January of 2020 with an extensive history in agriculture. She attended Texas A&M University in College Station where she received a Bachelors in Animal Science in August of 2018. Audrey has been previously employed as a hospitality sales manager as well as a county Extension Agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. She is a member of the Livestock Committee at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.