Getting Started With a Specialty Farm
Specialty crops can help to bring in higher prices because they are not widely grown in a particular region. However, developing a crop plan, buying land and handling all aspects of planting and harvesting for your specialty farm requires that you work with local experts. Here some tips for starting your specialty farm in North Carolina.
Specialty Crops Grown in North Carolina
The idea of specialty farming in North Carolina originally began as a method of weaning farmers off field crops (primarily tobacco, soybeans and maize) in order create regional demand for other crops. While there are some large operations, the majority of specialty farms on North Carolina rural land are small-scale farms. Today, high-value, specialty crops that are grown in North Carolina include:
- seedless watermelons
Many growers opt to grow multiple specialty crops on a single farm in order to increase revenues. Finding land with the right soil quality and weather conditions is the first step to planning your specialty farm.
Selecting Land for Your Specialty Farm
Specialty crop farms in North Carolina can be subject to varying levels of risk depending on the region in which the farm is located. Some areas in North Carolina are prone to high natural disaster risks while others feature distinct weather patterns that can put farms at risk for experiencing high winds, excessive heat, freezing temperatures and heavy rain.
A map created by researchers at Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA indicates where specialty farms are located in North Carolina and where disaster declarations were made from the years 2008 through 2012 in order to help farmers assess the risks. As a result, if you want to choose the best place to buy land for your specialty farm in North Carolina, you should make sure that you opt for a region that will offer the potential risk and return levels that you feel comfortable with.
North Carolina Specialty Farms
The North Carolina Specialty Crops Program website can provide more information on how to start a specialty farm in North Carolina. Although, this program has not been active since 1998 due to a lack of funding, the site continues to operate in order to provide informational resources for farmers and entrepreneurs. The site, managed by North Carolina State University and Cooperative Extension, offers the links to the results of on-farm trials and research reports that look at the costs and returns of producing various specialty crops in the southeastern United States.
A professional real estate agent experienced in farm and land sales can help you to select the right North Carolina investment property for your needs. Legacy Farms and Ranches can assist you with specialty farm land sales in Wake, Franklin, Nash, Johnston, Halifax, Warren, Vance, Granville, Durham, Orange, Alamance, Chatham, Lee, Harnett, Caswell, and Person counties. If you are searching for North Carolina farmland or acreage for sale, call Gardner at Legacy Farms and Ranches at (919) 749-3177.