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Things Not to Do on a Farm if You Want to Succeed

Updated on April 20, 2014

There are no short-cuts

to becoming a good farmer. Did you think that over the years that farmers "just" did a magic ritual when no one was looking and suddenly he had a hundred-acres of corn just ready to be harvested?

Not hardly.

A farmer worth his plow knows in his heart that there are a set of rules only known by him that he must follow in order to have bountiful crops of things he can sell to provide for his family in order to keep living the farming life.

This is not an easy story to write because there are young men and women in our country who want to be a farmer, but without the back-breaking, sweaty-faced, and sometimes-heart-breaking toiling from sun up to sundown just to get a good crop of cotton.

If this story shocks you young people back to the reality of you having to do work to be a good farmer, great. I am proud. It is not my intention to "just" hurt you so I can laugh at you.

"Things Not to Do if You Want to be a Successful Farmer" begins underneath photo below.


The do not's

  1. Do not think you can sleep-in and be a successful farmer. Arising at daylight is late for some farmers for the farm life means an all-day gig six-days a week to be at the top of your farming game.
  2. Do not act upon those undisciplined urges you have to "cutting out" of a job and take an afternoon nap. No, that is not going to happen. If it does, you will lose your farm, food, and possibly your self-respect.
  3. Do not go into farming just to brag to your college buddies that you have "found yourself." Farming is not a self-help therapy group that meets once a week. Farming means total-dedication on your part.
  4. Do not start daydreaming about taking a cooler of cold beer into the air-conditioned cab of your tractor. No, sir. The frat parties are over. This is a life of hard work.

My list of "Things Not to do if You Want to be a Successful Farmer," continues underneath the photo below.


The do's of farm life

  1. Do get with other farmers who know what they are doing and take notes of what they say about farming--the in's and out's and how to do the best job.
  2. Do stop the feeling that this is going to be a "piece of cake." You are going to have to be strong physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually in order to handle the chores of planting, plowing, harvesting, and then comes the bookkeeping. See what I mean by farming being a 24/7 job?
  3. Do an orientation on your sweet wife if she thinks that farming is like Timmy Martin's family on the Lassie shows. A farmer's wife must be as strong and supportive as he is to her. Get this done early before you sign the papers to owning your first farm.
  4. Do a lot of serious thinking. Are you actually ready to jump from a cushy, air-conditioned office with a good-paying 9 to 5 job and not getting a weekly paycheck?

A man and wife farming team.
A man and wife farming team. | Source
Cows are only one product raised on a farm.
Cows are only one product raised on a farm. | Source

Prepare to

  • Face failure early in your farming career. The new farmer in his or her excitement to the newness of this life-change, always forgets something, so do a double-check on your fertilizers, seeds, plants, anything you are going to use to grow a healthy crop of corn, cotton, soybeans or even hay for bailing.
  • Work like a dog. And not just for yourself. There is an unwritten code of the "Brotherhood of Farmers," that says that when hard-times or a tragedy hits your farmer neighbor, you drop what you are doing right then . . .and go to their aid. They will do this for you.
  • Face frustration in fluctuating prices of pork, corn, cotton and soybeans from week to week. Patience will serve you well in your farming life.
  • Be a better man or woman at day's end. There is this seemingly-mysterious property that goes with a farmer and his soil and what they grow with God's helping hand.


"I wish you would-be farmers my prayers, support, and encouragement in your new life."



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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Sheila,

      I am with you. I would starve. I saw it first-hand, and I knew from watching my dad that farming was not my place in life, but as years went by, I began a quest to know where I belonged in life.

      And dear Sheila, I am still looking.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, LongTimeMother,

      You present two absolutely fascinating points about getting up early in summer and winter--never thought of that.

      You are a genius, my friend.

      And I appreciate your input.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear DDE,

      It is very refreshing to know that in our world that there are people who take pride in farming.

      My dad was one of them in his younger days. He literally would have lived in his fields and slept on the tractor.

      And he grew some great crops.

      DDE, thank you for being a great friend and follower.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      I really appreciate the farmers out there because I don't think I could do the work and, without them, the rest of us would starve.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Hello, Kenneth. Those of us with small farms have a slightly different approach to the one you outline here. There's no need to rise before the sun in summer time when the days are really long, and there's no point rising too early in the winter when it is still dark outside (unless you're milking cows and need to be ready for the milk truck.)

      Ah, the luxury of a small farm ... I occasionally get to sleep in! lol. :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Early rise to see good results so true most people in our community live of their land and have domestic animals. They have greater responsibility and have to rise early. I on the on the other hand don't have to my countryside life is beautiful and so peaceful. W e have a small vegetable garden but no domestic animals it i s much easier that way. I like the photos. Voted up, useful beautiful and interesting.