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Buying a farm: What you need to know beforehand

Published on April 30, 2024

Are you feeling the call of nature, of daily life in the fields, raising crops and animals? Buying a farm calls for careful planning and in-depth knowledge of the responsibilities this lifestyle involves, from land and crop management to finances and regulations.

The first thing that’s required is the love of farming, of course. But after that, the lifelong dream of owning a farm requires some serious thought before acting on it. With careful consideration, future farm owners can make a sound decision to help ensure that their plan of acquiring farmland will go off without a hitch.


Outline your project

When considering buying a hobby farm or a farm, there are 5 essential aspects to look into. You need to be sure the purchase will meet your needs and your goals and that it’s in line with the resources at your disposal. Follow these steps to clearly define your type of project:

1. Clarify your goals

Before starting to look for a farm or hobby farm, think about your short- and long-term goals. Do you want to grow specific crops, raise livestock, live more independently or simply enjoy life in the country? Decide what your priorities are and what you hope to achieve.

2. Assess the property’s features 

When you find potential properties, look carefully at all their features. Check the state of all buildings, the soil quality, the topography and the surface area of the farmland, as well as whether there is water and public service access. Make sure the premises have everything you’re looking for and offer what you need to meet your goals.

3. Consult professionals 

Talk to professionals like real estate brokers specialized in agricultural sales, agronomy engineers, lawyers in rural law or other similar experts. They will give you sound advice and help you make the right decisions throughout the purchasing process.

4. Make an action plan 

Once you’ve found the place that meets your criteria and your budget, it’s time to draw up an action plan for the purchase. This might include negotiating the price, getting a property inspection, finding financing and doing your due diligence.

5. Set your budget

Establishing a budget before buying a farm is a way to look at the initial and the ongoing costs of the plan, to see whether it’s financially viable. The primary reason for this is to check the buyer’s financial capacity and avoid taking on too much debt. It’s important to consider any investments that will be needed in the future. This type of budgeting exercise sets the stage for clear decision-making when evaluating the options available and when negotiating the price.

A greenhouse filled with tomato plants

Advantages and disadvantages of farm ownership

Buying an agricultural farm is a way for buyers to achieve goals that are close to their hearts, such as living in harmony with nature, growing your own food or enjoying the satisfaction of working the land. Hobby farms are a way to become more, or fully, food independent and to make additional income by selling produce.

However, the lifestyle involves long hours of physical labour, being at the mercy of the weather, facing crop disease and dealing with high operation costs. These are external factors that are hard to control and that, in some cases, can jeopardize the farm’s success.

The difference between a farm and a hobby farm


A farm is a sizable agricultural business that often specializes in producing large quantities of field crops, livestock or other products. It can include vast expanses of land where plant species are cultivated on a large scale and/or with facilities for raising animals. It is often managed in a professional way, with modern equipment and advanced farming methods.


A hobby farm is a small farm, often operated by a family or small group of people. The farming activities on a hobby farm can be more diverse. It generally includes a kitchen garden, a few animals and sometimes a small parcel used to grow corn or vegetables. Self-sufficiency is often the focus of a hobby farm, and its produce is more for the family’s use than for the wholesale market. It can be farmed with more traditional methods, a focus on ecology and less machinery.

A big red barn in a field at sunset

How to determine the price to buy a farm

In a brisk market that’s constantly changing, it takes an in-depth analysis of several economic, agricultural and real estate issues to establish the price of a farm.

Factors that impact the price

A number of things can influence the purchasing price of a farm or hobby farm: property size, soil quality, existing infrastructure, condition of the buildings, geographical location, local demand, access to public services and commodities, farm equipment included in the sale, land and environmental regulations, and the local real estate market.

In addition, the characteristics of the farm business can affect the final price, as can the management practices used there, the future income potential and current economic trends. So, it’s essential to look at all this information with a critical eye to determine the fair value of the farm or hobby farm.

A field going as far as the eye can see

Financing the purchase of a farm

What kind of financing is available to buy a farm? In Quebec, there are various ways to get funds to buy a farm or hobby farm. Here are some of the major ones:

1. Agricultural mortgage loans 

Financial institutions offer mortgages specifically designed for the purchase of agricultural land. These loans can cover a significant part of the cost of purchase and offer repayment conditions that are adapted to agricultural cycles.

2. Government programs 

The Quebec government has financial support programs for farmers and for people wanting to buy agricultural land. These can include grants or low-interest loans.

3. Agricultural credit unions 

Farmers and buyers of farmland often favour agricultural credit unions, which generally offer financial products specifically developed for the farming industry, including loans to buy a farm.

4. Private investors 

In some cases, private investors may want to provide financing for the purchase of farmland, be it in the form of an investment partnership, private loan or other financial arrangement.

5. Programs for a new generation of farmers 

The Quebec government offers programs for a new generation of farmers, aimed at helping people buy or inherit farms from the previous generation. These programs can involve financial incentives, grants or special loans for young farmers or new arrivals in the farming sector.

It is advisable to talk to a financial advisor or an expert in agricultural credit to evaluate the available options and determine which are the best financing solutions to make an offer to purchase and buy farmland.

Where to find farms for sale

How do you buy a farm in Quebec? Start searching for properties that match your criteria on websites that target rural real estate and in ads in local newspapers. It’s also possible to find farms and hobby farms on the DuProprio website.

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