Finances to Consider When Owning a Farm: Mortgage Loans Part 2
Welcome back! In our previous blog, we discussed the expenses that come along with farming and farming life. In our last blog, we addressed the expenses in land, equipment, and education. In this last part of our blog series, we will discuss five other aspects of farming life:
- Labor Costs
- Livestock Costs
- Feeding Costs
- Fencing Costs
- Your Home Expenses
Whether you are a commercial or subsistence farmer, odds are, you will have to factor in some of these expenses. There is a difference between produce farming and livestock farming, however both styles of agriculture rely on these expenses to stay in business.
Labor is a connecting factor between commercial and subsistence farming because both rely on it to receive a successful harvest or birthing season.
Labor is one of the most important factors of farming. Without hard work, crops would not grow and livestock would not survive. Only through hard labor can farms stay in business and farmers provide for their families. In many cases, family members are the ones who provide the labor for the farm. For example, it is common for farmers to put their children to work as soon as they are able to walk. This obviously lessens the burden on the farmer and makes the work more even. Family members make good laborers because they aren’t dependent on individual wages. Farmers can, however, pay their children allowances for their work.
Farmers can also welcome in volunteers or agriculture students onto their farm to help with labor. In most cases, volunteers live on the farm to learn about farming and receive their education in agriculture. Many times, volunteers are not paid. Instead, their payment is free room and board for the time they stay at the farm.
In other cases, you may need to hire labor to help lessen the load of daily chores. Hiring labor typically occurs when the farmer’s children have grown up and there aren’t enough volunteers to help. A farm worker typically makes anywhere from $10,000 to $17,000 a year.
Farmers tend to turn to illegal immigrants for labor, due to the affordability and quality of their labor. In America in 2010, there were over 1 million farm workers, most of them undocumented illegal immigrants. For many farms, without a steady stream of immigrant workers, the farms would not be able to pick, wash, and pack all of their produce. In 2017, it was recorded that there are 2 million farm workers, 75 percent of them are undocumented immigrants. Without this stream of cheap labor, most farms would not be able to keep up with their products and afford to pay for labor.
If you are planning to begin your own farm, you must assume that you will not be able to do all the work yourself. Even if you have a relatively small farm, your workload can become too much for one person to bare. More importantly, you need to factor how much you will need to budget in order to pay your workers fair wages.
If your farm produces livestock, you will have to budget out thousands of dollars in order to afford to feed, breed, and house your animals. Typically, a farmer can start off his farm with just a few animals. For instance, if you would like to start a farm that sells pork products, you will need to purchase a few pigs. Before you buy your initial pigs, you have to be able to house them. Many times, farmers will build a metal building or some other kind of enclosure. It is best to have a enclosed building because you can control the heat in the building and protect your livestock from wild predators.
It is important that you buy at least two breedable pigs, preferably both female. Pigs tend to be around $300-$1,000 each. Aside from the initial expense, a farmer will also have to spend money on a gilt or sow (female pig) for breeding. Once the pigs have had their piglets, the real work begins. Once the piglets are six months old, you can turn them over to a local butcher. Farmers will often have to pay the butcher and purchase their own cooling trucks or storage coolers. Storing the meat is important in order to keep the products fresh until they are purchased.
Feeding your livestock is not only important, but it can be expensive. In our pig example, pigs are a great livestock to farm because they can eat almost anything. However, if you want to sell the pigs’ meat, you will want to feed them with high-quality feed. Farmers can sometimes feed their livestock specialized additives to help them grow healthy. In the case of pigs, farmers can feed their pigs dried whey, which helps them develop strong muscles. Other vitamins can also be placed in their food in the form of fruits and vegetables. A 50-pound bag of feed will cost about $15 dollars. However, other types of livestock, such as cows, chickens, and goats, require much more money to maintain and feed.
Fencing in your livestock is extremely important for two reasons; one is that a fence keeps your livestock from running away, the second reason is that it keeps predators from attacking and dragging away your animals. Fencing, specifically for larger livestock like horses and cows, can be expensive. Fencing is expensive based on the amount of fencing needed to enclose all of a farmer’s livestock. Cows need a lot of roaming room, not just for grazing, but exercise. Because so much land is required to keep livestock, a large amount of fencing is almost always needed.
When owning a farm, it can be easy to forget your actual home, as well as your own needs. In many instances, farmers rely on their crop and livestock to feed their families. But, there are some items that need to be purchased at a grocery store or a drug store, like toothpaste, kitchen items, clothing, etc. Because of this, a farmer must budget out how much money will go to the farm’s upkeep, and how much will go to their family. Much of the money that goes to the family must be used to maintain the house itself, such as paying for repairs, general maintenance, and mortgages.
The Mortgage House
With all these expenses, it makes sense that some things would require a loan. When considering farm life, you want to build a relationship with a mortgage loan lender that is trustworthy and understanding. If you are a farmer or considering becoming a farmer in the Fayetteville, Georgia area, contact The Mortgage House today. We can help you get started or apply for loans on your farmhouse.
Though farming can have its expenses during the beginning, profits from farming can be lucrative. Not only that, but farmers are free to work as they please. Farmers are their own bosses and never have to deal with the hassle of urban life. Working on a farm is simplistic and peaceful. If you would like to have stable, tranquil employment, you may consider becoming a farmer. When you decide to enter this profession, contact The Mortgage House. Our mortgage loan officers will be ready to help you apply for a loan on your farmhouse!