Hi everyone! I'm new to this forum, but have been perusing through AgWeb for awhile now. It's been about 2 years since I graduated from college with a Bachelor's degree in Finance. However, I have not yet entered the Finance field and have just been working for family. After much research, I've decided that I would like to pursue the Agricultural field preferably as a farmer rather than sit behind a desk/computer analyzing graphs and numbers in an investment firm. Personally, I think the "farming lifestyle" and business aspects would be fun and suitable for me. With this being said, I have a few questions that perhaps the experienced farmers or people in the agricultural industry on this forum can answer and provide any suggestions or advice.
1) Given that I have a Bachelor's in Finance, what's the best route that you'd suggest I take to get into the Agricultural industry? I was thinking about going back to school for an Agricultural Science degree, but that costs more money plus I don't really want to spend another 2-4yrs or so.
-Instead, should I just try to find a farm that specializes in whatever crop/animal that I would like to do in the future and be an apprentice? Should I try to cut a deal with them by working for free in exchange for knowledge and farming experience? What about a farm school? Any other ideas/suggestions?
2) With the rising populations and food shortages, which would evidently drive the prices up, what is your outlook on the Agricultural industry? Is it a field that you see will be viable in the future? In the U.S.? Should I look for other opportunities around the world such as Asia (China, Vietnam, Thailand, etc) or Australia or South America?
I've read that the average age of farmers in America are around 55 or "baby boomers" and that most will be retiring, but there are less young farmers trying to get into this field. Because of this, would this present a piece of the pie for my self and others to capitalize on?
3) Jim Rogers, the renowed investor who was partners with George Soros, is big on commodities and I've read articles and watched videos of him saying that for the future, Agriculture will be big business and farmers could potentially become rich. Also, he said that instead of getting MBA degrees, the younger generation should pursue Agriculture degrees. What do you think he means by this?...especially due to the fact that land is only getting more expensive and most of the commercial farming in America is driven by large companies whom have been trying to get rid of smaller scale farmers.
Which leads me to another question...because of the increasing land values making it harder for starters to break into the farming business, will there be a growth in other farming methods/systems (i.e. greenhouses, aquaculture, hydroponics, etc) than traditional farming in the future? Would the more profitable agricultural business be in these smaller and technological farms? Will commercial farming be hard to do unless you have the adequate amount of capital to invest in?
How does one get into commercial farming, though? Should younger farmers strive for commercial farming OR just try to build smaller scale organic farms utilizing the technology advances and maximizing space (maybe increase in urban farms)?
4) The direction that I've been thinking about for the future is doing organic greenhouse hydroponic setups for vegetables on perpetual cycles year-round such as kale (high $/lb), etc and maybe a meat goat farm as well to export or farm fish in an aquaculture environment. I feel like by doing this, I can get the best bang for my buck with the land value. What do you guys think? I mean, I would like to do commercial farming for sugar, soybeans, corn, or even potato, but to start that it may require too much capital and there will be too much competition from larger companies. Also, I think it be fun to do an organic cattle farm, but again that would be too much capital because they would need a lot of land to roam. Again, these are just some ideas I've been playing around with and at very very early stages as a "potential farmer", but any advice would be appreciated.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these questions with your knowledge and experience in the Ag industry and to share with me any suggestions or advice that you may have. Hope to hear from y'all soon, thank you!!