For many of today’s farmers, agriculture is a family tradition. They’ve gained their knowledge of farming and running a business – and sometimes the land itself – from the generations that came before them.
They’re not like Oliver and Lisa Douglas, the couple from the ’60s sitcom “Green Acres,” who were woefully unprepared when they gave up their posh Manhattan apartment for farm life in rural Hooterville. Even today’s aspiring farmers know that “fresh air” isn’t the only consideration when buying a farm.
Yet many today still choose farm life for some of the same, age-old reasons. They want to teach their children the importance of hard work and values or connect with the earth through the care of crops and animals. Often, people who purchase a farm say, “Raising my family on a farm is the best move I ever made.”
The good news: The dream of growing an agricultural business into an enduring, profitable operation is more attainable than ever today. Commodity prices are at near record highs. Hot trends such as farm-to-table and organic, along with specialty farming like wineries, beer and cider mills with tasting facilities, all look to be permanent.
Today’s farmers have a plethora of resources at their disposal to help them succeed – from discounts on land, taxes and financing to help with soil analysis and water resources to guides on what, where and when to grow. So even those without the benefit of deep farm-family roots don’t have to end up like the “Green Acres” couple.
Here are some examples:
Like many states, New Jersey has a State Agricultural Development Committee (SADC) that offers expert assistance on what will grow well on your farm, as well as the resources to get it done. The SADC is a leader in the nation at preserving farmland in perpetuity by purchasing the development rights to farms. This has a twofold benefit: It keeps the Garden State green by reducing urban sprawl and it makes it easier for farmers to make a living by making farms more affordable. Large year-round farm stands are popping up and selling directly to the market, thus increasing profits.
Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and almost every state have tax abatement programs that significantly reduce the tax burden on the agricultural part of a property.
Farm Credit East and MidAtlantic Farm Credit are agricultural lenders who deal specifically with the specialty agricultural financing required to run a farm. They provide low-interest loans on the land and have special programs for tractors, equipment, building construction and irrigation needs.
Long before COVID-19, there was a strong movement toward organic living, with the farm-to-table trend and stores like Whole Foods and Fresh Market more popular than ever. The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) of New Jersey provides support for organic farmers, including technical advice and education. They also help connect farmers with restaurants, consumers, farm stores and specialty markets businesses. Organic crops, dairy and livestock sell at much higher values and can significantly raise a farm’s profit margin.
One of the questions you should consider when buying a farm is what you would like to grow. Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Company provides detailed property information packages with resources to help farmers quickly understand if the property is right for their needs. Max Spann understands what farmland is and what it can be because the company’s roots are in the soil. The company’s century-long experience with and knowledge of land, as well as their network of local, state and federal contacts, can mitigate the complexities of dealing with environmental, preservation and state regulations impacting land transactions today.
Whether you are in the market to buy or sell a farm or preserved farmland, the resources and expertise of "the most trusted name in real estate" can help you achieve your goals. With over 18,000 acres of farmland sold over the past decade, we are the “go to market” for buying or selling farms.
Max Spann has sold their last few auction properties through their phone app – it is the new marketplace for farms! Simply download the Max Spann app (iOS and Android available), click the button and bid or visit www.maxspann.com. For more information, call 888-299-1438.