Farming can present a lot of obstacles. Thankfully, most farmers are adept at facing challenges head on and coming out stronger on the other side. It is important to note, however, that this skill takes years to hone.

So what about first-generation farmers who are just starting out and don’t have a strong support system? The following are some of the major challenges young, first-generation farmers list as major obstacles, along with some advice on how to best overcome these obstacles.

Challenge #1: Securing land to farm

The fact is, most farmers inherit land from their parents or grandparents. First-generation farmers, on the other hand, do not have this luxury. While new farmers may not have access to the best land or location, they should take what they can get – even if it miles away from where they had hoped to farm. After they have made some money and gained some experience they can look for greener pastures. They also should consider renting land to farm until they build up the equity to purchase land of their own.

Challenge #2: Large student loans

Young farmers who have accumulated a lot of debt may feel as if they have no other choice but to put off their agricultural dreams until their debt is paid off. Fortunately, there may be hope on the horizon in this regard. The National Coalition of Young Farmers is working to allow full-time farmers to make manageable student loan payments for 10 years, followed by forgiveness of the rest of the debt.

Challenge #3: Startup capital

Like any other new business venture, startup capital is necessary to get a new farming operation off the ground. Thankfully, the USDA and Land Grant system provide a variety of planning resources to assist beginning farmers. Several other nonprofits exist for the same purpose and provide tools and links for young farmers to purchase farmland and equipment.

Challenge #4: Lack of family support

Second and third-generation farmers are fortunate to have strong family and community support when starting out. Not only are their farms located in the center of strong farming communities, they have lots of people who are helping them succeed. A young farmer just starting out in agriculture may have no such support. Therefore, it is important for these young farmers to create their own support system. The National Young Farmers’ Coalition and other agencies and nonprofits offer immeasurable support and encouragement to young farmers. It is just a matter of doing the research and then reaching out to such groups.

Young farmers, unlike many other entrepreneurs, don’t usually go into farming to make the big bucks. Instead, they simply want to make a living farming the land. Thankfully, there are ways to help them do just that!