Having a farm can be a great life. You get to work outdoors every day and you're integrally connected with nature. When you have a chicken farm, you're able to take advantage of eggs and meat while making a great profit.
Buying a farm can be a challenge, though. Knowing what to look for when you get a lead on farmland is important, and you also have to consider whether you want to buy an operating chicken farm or if you want to start your own operation from scratch.
Here are the things you need to know as you look at buying a chicken farm for sale in Mississippi — and why it's important to work with a realtor.
Understand the Value of Farmland
In Mississippi, clear pasture land is around $2,455 an acre. It's a lot less expensive than irrigated or non-irrigated cropland, which is over $4,000 an acre. However, it's much more expensive than the national average for clear pastureland ($1,300 an acre.)
If you're planning to have chickens, you don't need as many acres as you would if you had grazing animals like cattle. So that will help you keep your costs down as you look at buying a chicken farm for sale.
When you're looking for the land, be sure to work with a professional who can help you find what you're looking for at a great price.
Know the Zoning Issues that Affect Chicken Farms
Generally zoning for animal farms covers not only chicken farms but also cattle, goats, rabbits, and more. This can be helpful you decide to branch out in your farming venture, since you'll only need land that has been zoned for poultry and farm animals.
At the same time, poultry is Mississippi's number one agricultural commodity, so you'll see a lot of chicken farms. In 2016 the industry brought in $2.8 billion. Understanding the zoning and laws that impact these farms is vital before you buy one.
For instance, you'll need to understand the setback distances for poultry production houses. Sometimes opponents of chicken farms will try to argue zoning changes to set extreme setback distances to limit poultry production. For instance, in DeSoto County, minimum building setbacks on agricultural land are 50 feet from the front yard and 30 feet for a side yard.
Being aware of the specific zoning rules in the area you buy farmland so that you can ensure the land is sufficient for the poultry operation you're planning.
The State of the Poultry Industry in Mississippi
Because Mississippi is the 5th largest producer of poultry in the U.S., there's a lot of demand for chicken farms. However, it's still a really big investment and you should be sure you have everything in order before you decide to start or buy a farm.
Most chicken farms are within 30 – 50 miles of a specific company's feed mill or processing plant. It's essential to have a written contract from a producer to grow birds for them before you invest in a farm, or you could find yourself in a lot of debt with no income.
The entire poultry process is owned by specific companies, and individual chicken growers are contracted to work with them. The company will provide you with birds, feed, medication, and management advice.
You'll be providing land, poultry houses, equipment, labor, utility fees, and operating expenses. A new grower will have a steep learning curve learning to handle the feeders, drinkers, lighting, air quality programs, and more.
In the end, producers are paid per pound of sellable meat as determined by the company at harvesting time. Remember that growing chickens is a year-round 24/7 job. Chicks don't care about weekends, nights, or holidays. It's a major commitment.
Should You Buy a Chicken Farm or Start One From Scratch?
When people consider buying a home, they often dream of building one to their exact specifications. Farms have similar dreams. However, there's a lot to think about when it comes to deciding to buy an existing farm or build your own.
The first is location. If you can find land in the radius of the producer you're contracted with, you'll want to grab it. That may mean you'll have to focus on buying an existing farm and making improvements as you can. If you happen to find clear land in the area, though, it can be a great opportunity to start with a clean slate.
Secondly, think about your finances. If you're just starting out, building from scratch will be a major challenge. You simply don't know enough about what you need and what's best for the chickens you're growing, and you may make a lot of very expensive mistakes. However, if you've been in the industry, you may have saved up enough money (and expertise!) to do well building your own farm.
Finally, consider who you know in the poultry industry. Do you know anyone who might be planning to retire? If you find a farm you can easily buy and take over, it can save you a lot of trouble getting started up front.
Work With a Professional Realtor When Buying a Chicken Farm
Buying a farm is a lot of work, but when you work with a professional realtor it can make a big difference. An experienced real estate agent understands the market in your area and can help you get leads on buying a chicken farm for sale.
If you're looking for a highly-rated agent in Mississippi, Clever can help. A Clever Partner Agent is someone who can help you find the farmland you're looking for. If you're ready to buy, fill out the online form. One of our agents will be in touch to answer all of your questions, and we'll set you up for a no-obligation consultation with an experienced realtor in your area.