Farms come in all shapes and sizes. From 2,000 acre behemoths to small backyard operations, there are a lot of different ways to make a living from farming. 

No matter what kind of farming business you try, there are plenty of books out there that can help you grow your farm and make better business decisions. So, if you want to give yourself a good start, check out these seven best books for beginning farmers:

  1. Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre (Brett Markham)
  2. Diddly Squat: A Year on the Farm (Jeremy Clarkson)  
  3. Elements of the Nature and Properties of Soils (Nyle C. Brady and Raymond R. Weil)
  4. Introduction to Agricultural Engineering Technology: A problem solving approach (Harry L. Field and John M. Long)
  5. John Nix Pocketbook for Farm Management
  6. The Agricultural Business and Costing Book
  7. Your Farm Business Production, Profit, Pleasure (Joel Salatin)

1) Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre (Brett Markham)

Brett Markham shares big ideas with just a little land. Using only a quarter acre, he shows you how to produce 85% of an average family’s food while earning income from the rest of your produce. 

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Although the book focuses on self-sufficiency rather than large-scale farming, there are still loads of transferable lessons for beginners. It covers buying and saving seeds, starting seedlings, establishing raised beds, soil fertility practices, composting, dealing with pest and disease problems, crop rotation, and farm planning. 

Whether you also dream about making a living with limited space or you just want some inspiration, Mini Farming is the perfect guide on how you can do more with less. 

2) Diddly Squat: A Year on the Farm (Jeremy Clarkson)  

After a successful career of driving fast cars and abusing caravans, Jeremy Clarkson has taken up farming. Diddly Squat tells the story of this bold decision, chronicling a full year running a farm with practically no experience. 

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Told in his trademark style, Clarkson describes the various challenges that come with running a farm, including rules and regulations, unpredictable weather, local resistance, and a global pandemic. 

As he muddles through the year, Clarkson just how much work and reward comes with British farming. In terms of starting your own business, Diddly Squat is a great exploration of some of the hurdles for first-timers, so it may not be of much use to more experienced farmers. But, at the very least, it’s a good laugh. 

3) Elements of the Nature and Properties of Soils (Nyle C. Brady and Raymond R. Weil)

In this incredibly detailed guide, Nyle C. Brady and Ray R. Weil share their wealth of academic knowledge surrounding soil science. 

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Covering everything you could possibly need to know about soil science, including soil formation, classification, architecture, characteristics, and behaviour, Elements of the Nature and Properties of Soils is the perfect resource for anybody interested in the exact science of soil. 

Though the book is mainly geared towards students and teachers, it also contains all the knowledge a new farmer needs to ensure they’re taking proper care of their soil. 

4) Introduction to Agricultural Engineering Technology: A problem solving approach (Harry L. Field and John M. Long)

Introduction to Agricultural Engineering Technology helps advance your problem-solving skills with modern engineering solutions. It’s a surefire way to make sure you’re prepared for any challenges that might arise when running your own farm. 

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Though it takes a more academic approach, with daily assessments and quizzes, Introduction to Agricultural Engineering Technology is still incredibly useful for both budding farmers and industry veterans who want to maintain their overall knowledge. 

5) John Nix Pocketbook for Farm Management

Updated every year, the latest edition of the John Nix Pocketbook provides readers with a wealth of information about UK agriculture. 

With this handy pocketbook, you’ll have all the costing information you need to make good business decisions in 2022.

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The 2022 edition has two completely new chapters – one on whole farm costings and emissions and another on environmental costs.

6) The Agricultural Business and Costing Book

If there’s one book that every farmer should own, it’s the Agricultural Business and Costing Book. It contains all the information you could ever need about farming and rural business, including:

  • Fully updated gross margins for all farming sectors, crops, and livestock, including net margins for key enterprises.
  • Sensitivity analysis and discussion of market prospects.
  • The widest range of information on alternative enterprises, diversification, and non-farming income sources.
  • Explanation of the support systems and grants across GB, including BPS rules and rural grants. 
  • An outline of post-Brexit farm policy.
  • Farming costs including forage, feed, fertiliser, and pesticides
  • Overhead cost data covering machinery, labour, contracting, building costs, and rents.
  • An overview of taxation and the legislation affecting agriculture.
  • A vast array of general reference information for the farming sector.

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It’s written in a way that’s easy to understand and simple to use, and new editions are published every six months to include the latest information. 

7) Your Successful Farm Business Production, Profit, Pleasure (Joel Salatin)

A sequel to his first book, You Can Farm, Joel Salatin has finally followed up on the well-regarded book with Your Successful Farm Business Production, drawing on a further 20 years of experience. 

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Salatin’s story is one of success despite all the odds and with few advantages, showing that anybody can build a successful business if they work hard and make the right moves. 

This new book addresses many of the new problems that face the next generation of farmers, offering advice and guidance on how to navigate the difficult situations that lie ahead in American agriculture. 

Manage your farming expenses with accounting software

Books aren’t the only way to improve your farming business. You can also try a business current account that will actually improve your financial management. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place – all from one simple app. 

There are a lot of expenses involved when running a farm, so keep on top of them with live cash flow insights. Then, create profit and loss projections to make sure you’re on the right track. 

You can also organise your expenses into HMRC approved categories, so you can see exactly how much tax you’ll have to pay by the end of the year. 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here.

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