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Farmers used to say, “If you are going to buy a farm, do it at the end of summer.” That simple country wisdom comes from years of dependence on the rhythms of Mother Nature. Experience had taught them that a farm--or any kind of land, really--will give you a better picture of its potential and the opportunities and challenges it poses at the end of the growing season but before frost. If you're looking at buying farm land, here are some things to look out for as the seasons change.
In late summer, the density of the foliage will show where the soil is rich as well as where it is thin and marginal. Whether it’s a stream, stock pond, spring or irrigation well, in most years you can get a true picture of what kind of water supply you can count on at that critical time between the end of a long hot summer and when the fall rains begin.
You will be able to see if there are overgrown areas that you want to reclaim or bring back into production, and the crisp cool days between the first frost of the fall and the last frost in spring are the best time for that kind of work. As fall progresses, foliage will thin and visibility will improve, allowing you to do more work in less time and prepare those areas for the next season.
"The years teach much which the days never knew." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
If soil needs to be tilled in the fall to prepare for the next crop year, you’ll have plenty of time. You’ll also have good visibility into areas where you may want to maintain or create wildlife habitat. In most areas of the country you can plant late-season food plots and get a good start on a long term wildlife plan.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The years teach much which the days never knew”, and so it is with buying farm land late in the annual cycle. You see the whole picture then: it’s the sum of the good days and bad, the rain and the sun. The way the land reacted to the previous growing season is a great indication of how it will respond to your efforts in the future.
Richard Thompson is Executive Vice President of Sales at United Country Real Estate. He began his career as a United Country sales associate in 1975. He later owned and operated an award winning franchise for another national franchise company before joining the United Country management team in 1988. As Executive Vice President of Sales, Richard utilizes the broad range of experience he has acquired in his 38 years in the industry to develop and execute the company’s growth plan.
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