Last week I received an e-mail from Barrett who basically said, "I have wanted to farm since I was ten, but I don't know how to farm". That statement that I related to on so many levels that I just felt like I had to share some thoughts on the subject ... because there are plenty of times still where I think, "I want to farm, but I don't know how to farm"! My answer can simply be summed up by one word ... Apprenticeships! Knowing what I know now if I could go back to the time when I was 17 and getting ready to enter college there are a few "apprenticeships" that I would have included in my summers, weekends, and free-time in general. There are so many "hats" that a farmer wears each day and if you can go into your farming journey with at least a little experience in each of these "hats" then I think you have a leg up in the game!
Here are the apprenticeships I would consider ...
- A Farm - This is the obvious one, and it is very important. Work on a farm ... any farm ... even if they don't do everything how you would do it, because you will learn a lot!
- A Mechanics Shop - It doesn't matter if it's a tractor shop, a car shop, or a mower shop ... a background in mechanical things will help any beginning farmer.
- A Welding/Metalwork Shop - I don't know how to weld and this is one of the things I most wish I knew how to do ... it literally could save me thousands of dollars over the life of the farm.
- A Meat Processor - You may never have your own on-farm official processing facility, but the knowledge you gain can help you not only in your processing for your own use but also in marketing and working with customers.
- An Electrician/Carpenter/Construction in General - There is always something that needs to be built, plumbed, or wired on the farm. Having the knowledge on how to do it ... at least the basics ... will always help.
Links mentioned in this episode ...
- Crooked Gap Farm Hoop House Project
- Crooked Gap Farm Class :: "How Do They Do That?"
- BTU's of Firewood
If you have an input on the topic be sure to leave a comment below or send us an e-mail.
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