Minnesota, also known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, is in the geographic center of the continent of North America. In spite of its nickname, Minnesota is actually home to over 11,000 lakes; 11,842 to be exact. Depending on your physical location in the state, the climate can vary rather dramatically; however, overall it is fairly moderate. Given the relatively low humidity that is common here, temperature extremes are not as uncomfortable as they might be in areas with rainier climates. Summer temperatures average in the range of seventy degrees. Autumns are cool and dry and spring is a relatively short season. Winters are cold, but that is typical for this region of the country. In the northern part of the state, the average growing season is 100 days. The southern part of the state has a growing season averaging 150 days. These averages generally correspond with the average number of frost free days in each region of the state.
While Minnesota is known for its beautiful lakes and amazing forests, its moderate climate and weather also make it an ideal location for farmers to establish their enterprises. The soil of Minnesota is incredibly rich, perfect for cultivating crops or supporting rich pasture land. From crop farming to the raising of livestock, Minnesota is a leading producer of farm products in the United States. While it is true that Minnesota has millions of forested acres, the terrain is actually comprised of three commonly accepted ecological regions of North America: The Eastern Broadleaf Forest, the Laurentian Mixed Forest and Prairie Parkland. Surprisingly, out of Minnesota's 54 million acres of land, nearly 27 million acres are comprised of farmland. In total, Minnesota is home to an impressive total of 81,000 farms. Minnesota's climate plays a large part in its farming success; however, other factors have helped contribute to its prominence. For example, the beginning of the might Mississippi River lies in Minnesota, providing a readily accessible gateway to transport farm goods to the southern United States.
Crop farming is prevalent on lands which have been cleared of forest and also on the prairies of Minnesota. Corn and soybeans are among the most important crops produced in the state. In fact, in past years, Minnesota has ranked third and fourth in the nation for soybean and corn production, respectively. With the high level of corn production, ethanol is also an important product of Minnesota. In addition to corn and soybeans, Minnesota farmers produce oats, sweet corn, green peas, spring wheat, sugar beets, canola and dried beans. Minnesota is also home to extensive wild rice farms, which harkens back to the time of the Native Americans when people harvested wild rice growing near Minnesota lakes. Minnesota farming is essential to the economy of the state as a whole. Many individuals depend upon the farming industry for their livelihoods. The agriculture and food industry is the second largest employer in Minnesota; many of these jobs are in processing and distribution centers.
Crops are not the only important product to come out of Minnesota. A leading producer of turkeys, hogs and mink pelts, Minnesota is similar to its neighbor, Wisconsin, in its numerous dairy farms. Less common species of livestock in Minnesota include bison, elk and ostriches. Like crops, some meat and dairy producers here focus on organically certified products.
In recent times, organic farming has become an important source of revenue and business in the state of Minnesota. In fact, aaccording to data from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the demand for organic food products has increased exponentially since the turn of the century. With increased demand, farmers have stepped up their organic productions. It is estimated that there were 650 organically certified farms in Minnesota as of 2010. Local, sustainable, specialty foods have also become a very important and profitable niche in the farming market.
Farms in Minnesota come in a variety of sizes. From large scale industrial farming to small, hobby farms focused on niche markets, Minnesota offers an array of options for individuals or businesses looking to enter into the farming market. If you are looking for a farm, it is essential to enlist the services of a trusted real estate expert in your search. Such an individual can help you tailor your search for the perfect piece of farming land to best suit your needs and desires. First, you must consider what type of farming you intend to engage in. Do you need a small, fertile piece of land for an organic hobby farm? What size of property do you require? The amount of acreage is an important baseline question for any search for farm land. Are you interested in a vineyard or a small organic dairy focused on cheese production? Are you interested in large scale farming operations for a large business or corporation? Next, you will need to think about whether you intend to build any structures on the property, such as a residential home, a livestock barn or a dairy barn. If so, what needs does this create? Consider whether there are there particular resources you need to nourish the livestock or crop you intend to raise. If you are purchasing a piece of land where a farming enterprise already exists, take a look at the existing pieces of farming equipment there to consider whether you want to include these items in your purchase. Determining a fair market value for such items can be tricky and you may need to enlist the help of an appraiser when structuring your offer.
Farm land can be a worthwhile investment on many levels. Farming is a certainly a challenging occupation; however, the successful completion of a growing season carries tremendous personal satisfaction with it. Depending on the type of farming you engage in, it can also be a lucrative endeavor. Farmland itself can be a valuable commodity due to the high levels of corn and soybean production in Minnesota. As the use of ethanol increases, farmable land in Minnesota appreciates, making farmland a good financial investment.
The assistance of the right realtor will be of key importance in your decision to invest in Minnesota farmland. Make sure you select a realtor who is very familiar with the local economy and market. A realtor with a specialization in agricultural properties may be very advantageous. Don't be shy about asking for references from previous customers. The candid comments of past clients can be very telling as you select the representative you want to work with. Online reviews may also be of assistance, although sometimes these are less trustworthy than direct conversations with previous clients. Most importantly, choose a real estate professional you can communicate with openly and honestly to get the most benefit from this relationship.
There are few more rewarding endeavors than successfully working the soil to create produce or other food products. Yes, the challenges are great, but no great reward comes without substantial risks. Talk with an expert about your potential future in Minnesota farming today!