In this we provide some useful tips on how to open a farm, explaining how much it costs, what is needed and what are the requirements.
Agriculture is a sector in continuous evolution and development, which can constitute an excellent business, besides offering the possibility of working in a natural environment, far from the confusion of an urban context. This is an activity that requires technical skills combined with a great passion, and that can be a source of great satisfaction and excellent economic response.
For a young person who has a good preparation and who appreciates outdoor work, agriculture is certainly an opportunity to be taken into consideration, but it is necessary to have a precise knowledge about the laws, the necessary requirements, the equipment of basis and related costs.
It is also very important to assess the needs of the local market, given that currently the greatest demand is for Km 0 products, organic farming and niche products, as well as spices, which can represent a real investment.
What it takes to open a farm
The fundamental element for a farm is the land, which must be suitable for cultivation and, if it is planned to dedicate space to farming, to grazing, with the presence of a stable for the coldest period and a sufficiently stocked ample both for storing the products obtained with the cultivation and for storing the equipment, the machines, the seeds, the animal feed and other commonly used products.
A part of the land should be reserved for fruit plants, moreover if the cultivation includes winter vegetables or plants that need a controlled temperature, it is necessary to install a greenhouse. It is necessary to have at first a tractor and a thresher, in addition to the manual equipment for the cultivation of the vegetable garden, the orchard and the various plantations that you want to carry out and provide yourself with a good supply of fertilizers, pesticides, feed, seeds , bulbs and plants to be planted.
If the intent is to cultivate with the organic farming method, it is advisable to avoid any chemical product, equip yourself for the production of natural compost and get accurate information on the climate, the characteristics of the soil and the type of pests to which each chosen plant is subject. This is because organic farming does not make use of pre-packaged insecticides or fertilizers, but exploits the cycle of nature and the seasons.
At this point it is necessary to specify that the equipment can vary considerably depending on the type of cultivation to be carried out. If the intention, for example, is to dedicate oneself only to the typical products of the area, or to the cultivation of fruit or vegetables, to a particularly precious spice, to viticulture or to the sowing of wheat and cereals, the necessary tools will be different , and consequently the costs.
Agriculture, even if it does not seem, often follows the trends of the moment, and to be successful it is necessary to keep up with the times, it is useless to propose a product whose market is already saturated, or reserved for a too narrow target limited. Currently, the most effective trends concern the well-being, health and biodiversity of the territory. The most promising sectors are consequently the cultivation of aromatic herbs and medicinal plants, the organic vegetable garden, the cultivation of rare mushrooms and truffles, the production of typical products at Km 0 with attached farm house and educational farm, the cultivation of saffron, malt and hops, viticulture and the production of fine local wines. If the available land is sufficiently large,
Not all land is suitable for cultivation, or is more suitable for special productions. Even the funding offered by the regions sometimes relates to the specificity of the territory, and to the possibility of cultivating particularly valuable typical products, before deciding on a transfer, it is good to carefully evaluate the proposals of the regional bodies, and find out about the most suitable crops in their area of residence.
Requirements for opening a farm
Anyone wishing to start an independent activity as a farmer must necessarily possess significant experience in the sector, consisting of a period of at least three years of work as an employee and a degree in agricultural techniques. However, the basic requirements may differ between one region and another, so it is necessary to inform yourself in advance.
The bureaucratic procedure for opening a farm coincides with the path to follow to start any independent activity, opening the VAT position, registering with the Chamber of Commerce, opening the INPS position, authorization from the local ASL and the brigade command of fire.
Furthermore, if the intention is to combine agricultural production with retail sales, processing and packaging of food products or restaurants and farm holidays, it becomes necessary to obtain the qualification through the attendance of a Haccp course on l food hygiene, food treatment and preservation, with relative examination and certification.
Like any other activity, it is necessary to keep the accounting books, relying preferably on an accountant, in addition to noting down the techniques, the cultivation treatments and the traceability of the different products on the appropriate Country Book, the register where all the information is kept concerns cultivation, from sowing to harvest.
If the intention is to operate as a company or as a cooperative, it will also be necessary to bear the cost to formally establish it, in a notary’s office, with related stamp duties, licenses and permits.
As far as organic farming is concerned, it is necessary to obtain specific certifications, and to subject the company to an annual inspection by the bodies that verify and prove the total absence of chemicals and the use of exclusively natural methods .
Costs for opening a farm
The cost of opening and managing a farm is rather difficult to determine, as there are many variables that affect the result, from the vastness of the land to the cultivation techniques. Since it is a very complex activity, it is very important to draw up a precise business plan, taking into account each different element, also because sometimes it is possible to make use of important tax breaks that require a detailed cost calculation. If the activity partly concerns also the breeding, it will be necessary to take into account the expenses for the purchase of the animals, for specific food products and for veterinary assistance.
An alternative could be to take over an activity that has already been set up and started up, obviously making sure that it is a modern company, updated and equipped with everything necessary. Otherwise, the purchase of all the material necessary for the performance of the activity according to the established must be calculated, with the addition of the costs of purchasing or renting the land and buildings and, if necessary, the construction of a laboratory for the food packaging, a room for direct sales and the purchase not only of agricultural vehicles but also of a van or another type of suitable means of transport.
In the event that you decide to open a farm activity, the star up phase becomes more complex, as it is necessary to equip the structure in such a way that it is suitable for the reception of guests, both as regards hygiene and the comfort level, set up a kitchen and a dining room.
Whatever the nature of the company, farm, production, production and sales, organic farming or other, it is still necessary to open utilities for the supply of water, electricity and gas. Considering that a farm has a sunny plot, it can be interesting to evaluate the installation of a photovoltaic system, which will provide at least in part to supply hot water and electricity.
In addition to the normal management of any company, heating, electricity, water, waste disposal and purchase of raw materials, it is necessary to calculate the costs of ordinary maintenance of buildings and machines, fuel, veterinary advice, accountant and salaries of employees. It is also important to put in a figure to carry out a marketing and advertising promotion campaign for the activity, especially if retail, catering or agritourism services are included.
A useful suggestion can be to start from a small activity, to then expand it once started, considering the results and the progress of the work. With land that is not too large, used agricultural machinery and few products, it is possible to maintain costs and then proceed to expand the volume of business.
The Regions and the European Union offer subsidized loans and non-repayable loans for agriculture start-ups, for young agricultural entrepreneurs and for projects that support biodiversity and local products. For detailed information, you can contact Coldiretti and other trade associations, evaluate the funding proposed by the banks for this type of activity and check at the headquarters of the Region of reference for the issuing of calls for special loans and incentives. The request for a loan usually requires the preparation of a precise business plan to start the activity and a detailed project for the first three years of work.
Marketing and advertising promotion are very important, especially for trade and tourism activities. An agritourism facility needs a site, with the possibility of booking, and a sufficient entertainment and involvement service for guests: gardening and horticulture courses, bicycle or horse riding excursions, sports and artistic activities for adults and children. In every season, before the opening, it is necessary to analyze the local market, and identify the uncovered points, in order to propose an innovative and original service. For agricultural productivity, it is necessary to carry out a precise survey on the most popular products of the moment and on food trends, especially in the vegetarian sphere.