As you grow crops and livestock in your farm, your business flourishes. When the time is ripe for expansion, make sure that everything is ready, and that you have a clear vision of the future. As for the details, you must consider these.
Your expansion options
There are many ways to expand your farm on top of expanding your land. You can stick to what you are familiar with and focus on or specialize your operations; intensify your production with modern technologies; replicate your existing operation on another site; or integrate other production systems into your farm.
Give ample thought to how you want to proceed. Do your homework and research all your farm expansion options to the tiniest details. Your area and current operations should be suitable for any new crop, livestock, or production system that you plan on adding.
Check the laws and ordinances
Once you have an idea on how you want to expand your farm, you have to check the legal obligations that concern your expansion. Research federal, state and county ordinances and laws. Before starting any new operations or construction, check the building codes and if you need to secure any permits or licenses.
Consider other people
Your neighbors may be affected by the expansion of your farm. Your borders may get a bit closer to them, you may be inviting additional traffic into your farm, or the construction of new buildings close to their property might create some noise. If you think the expansion will affect the neighbors in any way, it is best to inform them of your plans early on.
As part of your expansion, you will be inviting visitors onto your property, be they members of the general public, construction crew, or potential partners. Letting outsiders inside the farm brings with it certain liability concerns. For one, you need to post signs to warn of any potential dangers. Your farm should be ADA compliant, and you may need to provide extra restrooms or hand-washing stations, especially if you are opening to the public.
To prevent property damage or physical injuries, you may also need to implement further controls and safe handling programs for the products you are processing or selling, and for any new agricultural equipment you will be operating.
As a farmer, you have to be a good steward of the land and consider how your expansion may impact the environment. Consult your country engineers, local Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on how you can grow your operation while still protecting the environment.
Review your insurance
Reviewing your insurance is critical to protect your assets as you expand the farm. Depending on the type of operations you have in mind for the expansion, your current farm insurance policy may not be adequate anymore, and you may need to get a general liability policy. Review your current operations with your insurance agent, and talk them through your expansion plans. They can address new coverage needs or gaps, and guide you through any new insurance processes.
Expanding your farm can be exciting and stressful at the same time. But with proper planning, in-depth research and a positive outlook for the future, your farm will surely flourish, and the fruits of your labor will be a lot more bountiful and sweeter.