Agriculture 101: Your Complete Guide to Starting a Farm in Nebraska

Agriculture 101: Your Complete Guide to Starting a Farm in Nebraska

Feb 2nd 2023

Known as the state’s heart and soul, agriculture is a $25 billion industry in Nebraska. Plus, ranching or farming covers 92% of the state’s land.

The term ‘Nebraska’ is derived from the language of indigenous people, which means ‘flat water.’ Since the state is home to the biggest aquifer in the country, it has plenty of water for irrigation.

If this sounds like the perfect place for your small farm, here’s your complete guide to starting a farm in this state:

Identify your niche

Diving head first into starting a farm is not recommended, even if you’re clear on what type of farm you want to start.

For example, you start the passion fruit farm you have been dreaming of for years in Florida. While you’re preparing to harvest your first batch, you find out that the passion fruit’s demand isn’t centered in Miami but in Southern California. Yes, you may somehow find affordable transport to get your goods in California, but what if you learn that people prefer locally-grown passion fruit?

So, you’ll be out of business within just a single yield because you didn’t understand your target market or their values. If you spent some time doing market research, you would have found that the demand for passion fruit in Florida is nearly negligible. This way, you would have started your farm elsewhere or chose to grow another in-demand product. Either way, a lot of hassle would be avoided.

Don’t underestimate the importance of market research


One step that you really shouldn’t miss is learning to do market research. While knowing what you want to grow certainly helps, knowing where you will sell your products, who will buy them, and how you will do this, all while considering your competitors is equally important.

Even if you’re unaware of formal market research practices, you can do your own research by learning more about your distribution channels and customers and how to start a farm.

Learn more about your local market if you’re already interested in a specific product. Speak to customers as you shop, meet other local producers, and check out farmers’ markets. Or assess farmers’ markets to see if any products/crops aren’t represented well.

Consulting with your local extension also helps. Extension services offer localized resources for most aspects of small farming and gardening.

During your research process, you should also turn to your local state department of agriculture. They’ll not just offer you the latest information on farming in your state but also help you find out what licenses you need to register for, and provide you with local information on market access, pesticides, food safety, etc.

Find the right land

After figuring out what you’ll be farming, you should decide whether to buy or lease land.

While buying land will give you complete control over its use, you’ll also assume financial risk for your enterprise’s success. This is arguably the biggest reason why leasing land has become popular of late — it doesn’t require a lot of capital at the outset and mitigates financial risk.

If you want to lease farmland, find people who own land but aren’t doing anything with it. While most landowners with arable land don’t use it for farming, they could benefit from it either in terms of tax credits linked with agricultural use or to increase property value.

Get financed

If, like many small farmers, you haven’t inherited a farm, you should find the money to understand how to set up a farm.

Research your funding options. Read guides on how to plan and fund your farm business. Explore different financing options, including self-finance.


Be realistic when you apply for funding. If you can avoid purchasing costly equipment at the start, do it — and Flatwater Sales Inc. can help you buy farming equipment at reasonable prices.

Once your business takes off, you can purchase the things that’ll make your life easier — and even if you’re still strapped for cash, banks won’t hesitate to give you a loan as long as they see your business as a profitable venture.

Market and sell your products

You can market your farm products in a number of different ways. While the most obvious example that comes to mind is the farmers’ market, there are a variety of other channels as well that you can use to market and sell your products.

If there’s a lot of traffic nearby, a farm shop or a produce stand right on your own property is a decent option.

Selling your products through a CSA (Community Support Agriculture) is another trending model that you can use. Here, patrons buy a share of the season’s yield for a set price in exchange for regular product deliveries as soon as they’re ready. Many prefer this model because you receive payment once the season begins, which helps reverse the cashflow issues that most farm businesses face.

You may also come across a local grower’s cooperative, which help you sell your products under a united brand by letting you team up with other producers.

While supermarkets have made retail sales of more goods a tad challenging, there are still a number of natural, local health, and small food stores with whom you could partner, with the benefit of their loyal customer bases.

Devise a marketing plan. If you’re drafting a business plan, you’ll work on your marketing plan as part of that process.

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