Farming is the next step after plotting. Once a plot is created, you have a chance of winning Chia as long as the file is maintained and the Chia farming software is running.
When farming, you give up a certain amount of storage space for a chance at winning Chia. The more plots you have, the higher the chance of winning Chia.
Maintaining plots acts as a lottery. Each plot acts as a chance to win each new block. With an average of 4608 blocks a day, you'll have many chances to win Chia.
Estimated Time to Win
You can find your win time estimation from the Farming tab in the Chia software. It's important to note that this is just an estimation. The real time could realistically be 2-3x this amount if you're unlucky or .5 if you're lucky.
Prior wins (or lack of) do not determine new wins. If your estimated time to win is one week but it has been three months, you are no closer to winning than when you started.
Pooling to the Rescue
To combat the infrequency / inconsistency of winning, you can join a pool. This will reduce your block reward, but will give you consistent payouts of smaller amounts. In the longrun, pooling and solo-farming (aka self-pooling) should give the same result (minus any pool fee), but pooling is much more predictable and ideal for the average farmer.
An additional benefit of pooling is instant feedback as to whether your farm is running properly or not. With solo-farming you may be left wondering if you really can win a block.
Chia has designed an official pooling protocol that introduces pooling in a way never done by by other cryptocurrencies. This allows for officially-supported predictability without compromising decentralization.
With each new block, a certain amount of Chia is rewarded to the farmer. Chia launched with a block reward of two Chia every single block. This comes out to 64 Chia distributed every 10 minutes.
The block reward has a halving every three years starting from mainnet launch. This means that three years after mainnet launch, the block reward is cut in half to just one Chia. Three more years later and the reward is half a Chia, etc. Here is the complete block reward schedule:
|Year||Block Reward||Chia / 10 mins|
By the 13th year, block rewards are forever locked in at an average of 4 XCH every 10 minutes.
As time goes on, the ratio of new XCH to existing XCH goes down. As a result, the inflation rate of Chia will continually decline. Chia's inflation falls through the 0.50% rate 22 years after mainnet launch.