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If you spend any amount of time at all as a farmer (full-time, part-time, or any amount of time) you are going to have crop failures. On our farm we've had failures with our livestock, garden, orchard, pastures, woodlots, and now I can add to that list ... commodity crops! The 20+ acres of oats I planted with my uncle this have not gone exactly as planned thanks mostly to an abundance of rain at just the wrong moments. Too much rain right before harvest. Too much green grass going through the combine and plugging it up. Too much rain when we needed the straw to dry. Then there was even too much rain when there was already a lot of rain! If that wasn't enough, the sales were slower than I was hoping. Despite the downsides to this first foray in to the world of "crops" I do think there are some things that I can take away, and hopefully will be a helpful reminder for others.
- There Will Be Crop Failures :: No matter how much planning you do or how great of a farmer you are, there will be crop failures.
- Be Severely Realistic :: Make sure you are grasping the full reality of what you are getting yourselves into and don't sugarcoat it at all.
- Recognize the Emotional, Physical, and Financial Risks :: You maybe able to handle a complete loss financially, but that doesn't mean you can handle it emotionally. Think about that as you make your decisions.
- The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow :: At the end of the day the truth is that there will be another day coming, so you must be able to shake it off and get on with the business farming.
- Ask Yourself, Was That Really a Failure? :: Sometimes a failure is just a lesson, so don't forget that.
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I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with "The Beginning Farmer" and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links ...