How Much Does It Cost to Start Arable Farming in the United States?


Agriculture accounted for at least 4% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018. However, if you’re considering becoming a part of that statistic by starting a farm, you’ll need to understand the costs involved in arable farming.

Throughout this guide, you will learn the basic assets that you’ll need to start an arable farm that has potential for success. Moreover, you will learn about the various costs of what you’ll need to start this type of business.

In order for you to get your farm off on a good foot, you have to be prepared. Part of that does involve spending money in the right areas first.

Keep reading as we explain some of the basics that you’ll have to consider before starting farming.

Machinery to Operate Your Farm

Before starting farming, you’ll need your equipment. First off, there’s the ownership cost for machinery. These costs will include depreciation, interest, insurance, and taxes. An example by Iowa State University claims that ownership costs alone for a single tractor is $16,294 per year.

Then there are the operating costs, including maintenance, repairs, fuel, and labor. These costs could lead a tractor to cost around $55 per hour.

Conversely, if you opt for used machinery, you will potentially save more money—depending on the condition of the machine you purchase.

Moreover, you will need smaller machinery and equipment like lawn sprayers with booms. These won’t have high costs like tractors; however, the prices will increase.

Purchasing Land

One of the most vital assets to own for an arable farm in the land. Currently, the average price per acre is $4,442, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). However, this price will vary by state, among other factors.

Some factors that go into determining the value of land and that you should look for when shopping include the following.

Proximity to super- and local markets: how far is the land from an area where you intend on selling your goods? Since you’re starting, you’ll want land that’s located close to a town.

The land’s soil quality: to produce excellent crops, you’ll need high-quality soil. That’s because it affects your crops’ health and size and the well-being of your livestock, who eats the plants you grow.

Your access to water: the land will need a steady water supply to water plants and feed animals. For instance, you will want a well with untainted water.

Start Arable Farming Today

While the costs to start this type of business has increased, arable farming has remained a profitable business in the United States over the years. However, you’ll first need to invest in land, equipment, permits, buildings, product, and machinery to get started.

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