Everyone needs to eat. It is an unquestionable fact of life. Where does the sustenance to supply the human habit of eating come from? There are a bunch of different sources, but traditionally, throughout history, it has been the farm that has provided food for the masses of humanity that cover the globe. In the United States, a lot of those farms appear on the surface of Idaho, where a large part of the southern half of the state is very flat and perfect for the growing of many different kinds of crop, as well as the raising of many different flavors of animal (Pun very intentional). This means that if you are looking to enter the career of farming and you live in the United States, the statistical likelihood is that you will try and get that start in Idaho. But, if you are looking to break into farming, the practice is not as easy as you might think. A lot goes into farming. It is not just sticking seeds in the ground and waiting for them to grow. Idaho itself has a bunch of different factors that make farming unique and difficult. There is much to learn, and what better way to start that learning process than to read what follows!
First, some of the basics about farming that make it difficult to get into. The practice of farming has gone through many changes over the years. It is not the same as it was a hundred years ago, and it is not the same as it was twenty years ago. Gone are the days of the homestead where a family puts up a home and a barn and then grows and raises enough food for itself and sells the rest to the nearby town. We will get into this a little while later, but farming is a very corporate operation these days. Smaller operations exist, but they are not as prevalent or relevant as they used to be. They are still a powerful part of the system, but they are diminished from their place in history. Beyond this, machinery plays a massive part in farming today, so not only do you have to have a green thumb and a steady hand when it comes to animals, but you also have to have a knowledge for the mechanical. Different machines need to be bought, learned about for operation, maintained, and respected. This adds an entirely new element that many people do not consider when it comes to farming. It is not necessarily natural to think of the organic process of growing and then also think of moving gears and churning motors.
Further, farming is expensive. There are so many things that need to be bought to start farming and so many other things that need to be bought every other step of the way. First, you need land to farm on. Where other jobs and practices have gotten smaller and take up less and less space, farming still needs room to move around in and that room costs a lot of money. Second, there are structures for storing and maintaining farm equipment and materials. Houses, barns, sheds, and a bunch of other buildings and structures are crucial. Third, there is the equipment. There are tractors, combines, threshers, harvesters, spreaders, sprayers, water lines, and fertilizers. There are thousands of tools and pieces of machinery that need to be bought and kept up so that you do not have to buy them again. Finally, there are the things you are going to be growing or raising. You need seeds which are probably the least expensive purchase you will make but you also continually buy them in large quantities which means the numbers will add up to costing you a lot. You need manure and the chemicals that make land into something that can actually be used to grow plants. If you are going to be raising animals, you need to buy the animals that start the family of beasts and creatures that will live on your farm and be always thinking about new stock to buy and sell. This is only a basic list of the different things a farm requires you to purchase. There is always more. Of course, you do not always buy all of this stuff at the start, but you will eventually need all of these things.
Next, we should expand on what I said earlier about farming being a corporate operation these days. A lot of the farming in this country is done on a level that you could not hope to compete with. Think of your average farm that you have seen in the cinema or on a drive through the country, then take that farm and multiply it about a thousand times. What you now have is still not as big as some of the massive companies that provide food and other agricultural products to the hundreds of millions of people in the United States. There are farms that have cages of cows packed in together which stretch for entire square miles (Which raises animal rights concerns, but also shows just how incredible the modern undertaking that is farming is). Naturally, you can be a part of this process and work on one of these farms, but you are unlikely to be at the top, where a more traditional farm would have you.
Finally, there are a few factors you should consider that are specific to Idaho. Idaho is a diverse place when it comes to farming. All kinds of crops are grown, and many different animals are raised. However, there is also the potato. If you do not want to grow potatoes, Idaho might limit your options when it comes to the different parts of the state you might start in. If you want to grow potatoes, there is no better place to do so, but that is a decision that entirely rests on your shoulders. There are lots of options for farming in Idaho, but always be thinking about the potato.