SPEAKER 1: Lessons learned-- oh, goodie. Every day, there's lessons learned.
SPEAKER 2: If you want to be a farmer, know what you're going to do before you buy the land.
SPEAKER 3: Try not to get too far into debt.
SPEAKER 4: You have to be prepared for failure.
SPEAKER 5: You're not going to get rich being a farmer.
SPEAKER 1: Don't cut too many corners.
SPEAKER 5: You have to be flexible.
SPEAKER 6: I think the biggest mistake we've made on our farm business is probably not thinking big enough to start with.
SPEAKER 5: I think with farming, you really need to try to diversify as much as possible. To farm a single crop, would be very, very hazardous.
SPEAKER 4: We don't put all of our eggs in one basket. We do grow a wide variety because some crop will fail each and every year.
SPEAKER 5: I wish I knew then, what I know now.
SPEAKER 7: I think there's valuable lessons to be learned from everything that we do.
SPEAKER 8: You learn with experience, making, sometimes, mistakes.
SPEAKER 9: Instead of getting so caught up in being concerned about what went wrong, think about how you can use that to make things better.
SPEAKER 6: I always tell people that if they do the right things at the right time, then they'll be successful.
SPEAKER 5: If I had any advice to give beginning farmers, I guess, it would be to start slowly and carefully, and not to quit your day job until you're absolutely certain it's something that you're equal to.
SPEAKER 4: If growing vegetables is something you want to do, if small farming is what you want to do, stop and think about it, and be certain. Think of all the pros and cons, and talk to some other farmers, find out what they go through.
SPEAKER 6: You've got to be willing to put yourself in the shoes of some farmer, would you like to be working 12 hour days?
SPEAKER 1: So it's day, everyday.
SPEAKER 4: It will require a lot of work, and it will test you.
SPEAKER 6: The other thing, obviously, is to assess yourself because many people are not cut out for this.
SPEAKER 5: So you have to think about yourself and match what you do to your own personality.
SPEAKER 7: You can talk about things as much as you want and read about things as much as you want, but until you actually go and get your hands on it, you don't have a good idea of whether that's going to fit you.
SPEAKER 5: I think learning how to grow is a lifelong process.
SPEAKER 1: Education is huge.
SPEAKER 6: If you have good information, that's the main thing. You can't just go by the seat of the pants.
SPEAKER 3: It's a lot less expensive to learn ahead of time, than to learn by trial and error.
SPEAKER 4: Educate yourself on current marketing practices, current growing practices, new ways of doing things.
SPEAKER 3: I subscribe to a lot of newsletters, magazines.
SPEAKER 10: We buy or borrow all of the books and magazines we can, that are relevant to our operation.
SPEAKER 3: I think it's really important when you're starting out, to attend to as many conferences or lectures as possible.
SPEAKER 10: We're always looking for relevant workshops, and we're willing to travel and spend some money and time to take advantage of them.
SPEAKER 3: I belong to several list serves of farmers that do pastured poultry, pastured pork, and that's been a good resource, also, as far as answering questions because you're getting it farmer to farmer.
SPEAKER 5: Join organizations of other growers, and don't be afraid to ask other growers the questions.
SPEAKER 10: The Cooperative Extension has been invaluable resource. We're members of several groups-- Heifer International, the local vintners association, the vegetable growers group that meets a co-operative extension.
SPEAKER 3: Try to visit farms that are doing the type of farming that you're considering.
SPEAKER 4: Fellow farmers are a big source of knowledge on how to grow.
SPEAKER 10: Talking to other farmers. We've gone on pasture walks, and you got invaluable information and important contacts.
SPEAKER 3: Most farmers-- if not all-- that do this type of farming, have an open door policy. We're more than glad to help people out.
SPEAKER 7: I think going and getting some hands-on experience with whatever you want to do is invaluable.
SPEAKER 1: Working for somebody who does that, even if it's just for a couple of seasons, you learn so much that is beyond what you will ever learn in school.
SPEAKER 3: It's a lot easier to learn from other people's mistakes, rather than having to do the mistakes yourself or reinvent the wheel.
SPEAKER 1: And you will see what works for another business.
SPEAKER 4: It's nonstop learning.
SPEAKER 9: I definitely think that the Beginning Farmer Program helped me.
SPEAKER 11: Yeah, Young Farmer Program, without a doubt, is absolutely essential.
SPEAKER 9: It was a great help. It let me know where I could register as a business, and what thing I specifically needed to do to establish my farm.
SPEAKER 10: I think what was most useful to us about taking that class, was the motivation that we developed as a result of working through the process and also, the encouragement of the people who were teaching the class.
SPEAKER 4: Is there an advanced farming class that's available now?
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Farmers share mistakes they've made and lessons they've learned about farm planning, marketing, sources of good information, and financing.
In the Voices of Experience series from the Beginning Farmers Resource Center, you'll find the kind of dirt-under-the-fingernails advice that can only come from someone who's been there.
The NY Beginning Farmer Project is led by a team of Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators in partnership with the Cornell Small Farms Program. The project, launched in 2006 in response to increasing interest in farm start-ups, aims to enhance the likelihood of success of new ag enterprises by making the best resources and training available to new and diversifying farmers.