How to make money from a small farm or plot of land
Many believe that farmers live a privileged life. However, if you are a farmer, this may not be true. For very little money, you work non-stop. Sometimes, you feel like you are a prisoner to your customers. Other times you wonder if you can go on. You feel like the weather is against you, and doing nothing.
Even though small farmers may feel their lives are not ideal, I cannot think of any farmer who would choose to live in a city. How can you have the best of both? How can you maximize the profit on your small farm, homestead, or land? Growing crops is not the only option. You can make your farm more profitable by diversifying and being an entrepreneur. This will allow you to keep the lifestyle you love while still earning a higher return on your investment.
Before beginning any of these activities, you must consider state and federal restrictions. Farmers are a hardworking breed. You can make your farm a cash-maker and live again on your homestead with a bit of planning.
27 Ways to Make Money From Your Small Farm
These are 27 ways to make the most of your small farm. Depending on the farm type and location, some ideas may be more practical than others.
1. Grow Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms
It can be very profitable to grow mushrooms. If you are interested in cultivating mushrooms, choosing specialist varieties is a good idea. Growing mushrooms for medicinal purposes or in the restaurant market can make you more money. If your quality or pricing is superior, competing with the supermarket for button mushrooms would be impossible. You can harvest mushrooms in as little as 15 weeks, depending on which type you choose. They will yield up to 4 lbs. per square foot.
This book will give you a comprehensive and exciting look at mushroom cultivation. This book is my “go-to” guide for everything related to growing mushrooms. This book contains information that can help beginners and answer questions from more experienced growers.
- For a quick sale, get in touch with local restaurants before harvesting.
- Get a stall at the farmer’s market to increase your reach and sales.
- Learn the best practices in mushroom growing.
- If you intend to make it a medical or health supplement, ensure that you check all applicable laws.
2. You can transform your Field into a campsite.
People are always on the lookout for outdoor adventures, especially if they live in urban areas. Others desire to disconnect from technology and have a digital detox.
You will need to build a basic shower and toilet facility for your campers to turn your land or part of your land into a camping area. Ask your local authorities how to use the primary sewage and drains or if you need to install a tank.
While some campsites don’t have electricity, others provide it. You should choose a dry-level area or Field so campers can safely and correctly erect their tents. This is a good option if your farm is close to tourist areas. Start small and invest any profits in improving your campsite’s facilities. You can create a sustainable business by reinvesting your earnings without spending much money.
- You may also be able to designate areas for caravans and motor homes depending on where you live. These will require electricity and water.
- If you don’t live near a town, consider opening a small store with essential foods and toiletries. Even if your prices are slightly more than those in a supermarket, campers will still be willing to purchase from you.
- Many people, particularly retired couples, choose to live in an RV permanently. They will spend several weeks there if they feel the campsite is a good fit.
- Your campers can get free Wi-Fi. Everybody expects to be connected to the internet 24 hours a day, even while camping. To keep people who aren’t camping from accessing the internet, You can change the access code every week.
- You should have a designated area for dogs if you allow campers to bring their dogs. Dog poop is not something anyone wants to be in. This will make dog owners, as well as those without dogs, happy.
- Word-of-mouth advertising is often free and the most effective. Advertise your campsite on a blog or website. Ask customers to share their photos on social media.
3. Farm Snails to Make Profit
You will need shelter, food, and plants for your snail farm. Because they are silent and don’t make any noise, snails are ideal livestock. Depending on your circumstances, the method you choose may vary. Some farmers use open-air outdoor pens, while others use netting to keep them inside. They can also be grown in commercial polytunnels. Below is a video showing how a woman has turned her hobby into a lucrative venture in Africa.
Start small to create a demand for your pets before you invest in housing structures. If you feel the market is growing, you may be able to expand your housing stock.
4. Organize a Swap Meet
Consider renting a lot of lands that are not used to host a large swap meet on the weekends. People love to wander through fields looking for the next bargain.
You should charge the vendors a small fee. This could be $7 per vehicle or $15 per truck, depending on the demand and your local area. This side hustle can become a lucrative weekend business that can be moved to another field every season if you persevere. You could have swap meets all year, depending on where you live.
Make sure you have a place for people to park off-road. People will flock to your Field looking for bargains by placing signs in the streets and even newspaper ads. Once your swap meet (car boot sales in the UK) is well-known, advertising won’t be necessary.
This business venture does not require a lot of capital but will need organizing skills to find vendors.
5. Get a bed and breakfast.
You might consider opening a bed & breakfast if you have spare rooms or a barn which can be converted. This is one way to make more money on your farm. People who live in cities enjoy a taste of rural life. They are excited to visit the farm and maybe even do some farming chores. Both children and adults can find it exciting.
The level of accommodation you offer will vary depending on who you are trying to attract. You could even provide simple sleeping rooms in a youth hostel to make extra money. You could rent out the rooms to a company if your farm is located near an area that has many workers. Renting to a reputable company will increase your chances of getting paid on time and regularly.
Airbnb makes it easy to rent spare rooms for your guests. You could use this in conjunction with your website to promote your accommodation. It is easy to use and trust. You could rent rooms if your farm is close to a cycling trail, hiking trails, and other tourist attractions. Make sure you mention nearby attractions in your advertisement and website.
Check with your insurance company to determine if you need to change your policy.
6. For meetings or gatherings, rent space
Are you able to convert a barn into an open area? You might consider renting it out for various events, including weddings and business meetings. Advertise in the local newspaper or bulletin boards at your area’s supermarkets.
Companies and people look for places to meet. Parking is always an advantage. This could make you money in the morning, afternoon, or weekend.
You could provide chairs, tables, exercise equipment, or other supplies depending on your level of improvement. It is an excellent idea to offer refreshments or be available for them, as this can also provide income.
7. Rent your Field to metal detecting clubs or let metal detectors scan your land
You could let metal detectors scan your land between plantings. If you own the land, they may discover a bounty that is half yours.
You could also bury metal objects in your yard and rent them to metal detecting groups. These clubs are always looking to improve and test their skills. To find out more, contact your local metal detector club.
You can make extra money by selling refreshments. A thermos flask with hot coffee in the morning can keep everyone happy and excited to return.
8. Tilapia and Other Fishes
It can be very lucrative to raise fish like tilapia. You will need to live in an area where the water temperature is around 20degC (68degF) for tilapia. If the temperature drops below this level, you may have to heat your water. This is expensive. While the fish can survive in colder temperatures, their growth rate will be slower.
Your harvest will be ready depending on how big the fry (young fish) you purchase is. This is how my husband and I make our farm in Brazil a success.
9. Allow people to fish in your lake.
You can create public fishing lakes if you have access to lakes or can dig them. There are usually two types of public fishing lakes. The first is catch and release and is for recreational purposes only. The customer would pay for their entry and stay there for the entire day. As mentioned, You could combine this with camping.
Another type is fish-and-pay. They catch the fish and then weigh them. Both options are profitable. Stocking your lakes is essential, ensuring you have nearby parking and toilet facilities.
- These are just a few of the many benefits you could make from selling refreshments since not everyone brings their food or drinks.
- To cater to your customers, you could also open a small tackle and bait shop on the premises.
- You might consider renting rods and reels to those coming for the day.
- A dedicated area for picnicking with barbecue facilities.
10. Raise Worms
You might consider raising worms for bait-fishing shops. You can grow worms in tubs or barrels. Your crop could be ready in as little as 90 days. The soil that worms leave behind has a lot of value and is rich in worm casings. This provides some of the best sources of nutrients for your garden.
It could be used as compost for gardening and a second income stream. It’s easy and low-maintenance to make more money from your farm. Additionally, it’s eco-friendly.
11. Dog Breeding
This is a controversial topic, and many people feel I should not include it. Many countries have animal shelters full of dogs looking for homes. There are still some people who desire certain breeds of dogs. I’m not advocating a puppy mill.
If you are looking for a better return on your investment, consider breeding small dogs or an uncommon breed. Feeding large dogs will be more expensive.
- It is essential to ensure that your kennels have been purpose-built and that veterinarian bills are included in your budget.
- This is not a quick-and-easy scheme. It is challenging to breed dogs, and it is expensive to start. It can also be lucrative and rewarding.
12. Specialized Breeds of Animals
Consider raising niche market animals if space is available. These could include the following (and you often have multiple products you can sell from the same animal).
- Guinea fowl: You can sell guinea fowl meat and feathers, as well as eggs and young.
- Quail – You can sell young quails, meat, and eggs.
- Rabbit: You can sell rabbit meat, fur, and pets.
- Emu/Ostrich: You can sell ostrich meats, Emu oil, feathers, and eggs.
- Goat: You can sell goat meats, milk, butter, cheese, and hair.
- Llama: You can sell llama wool. Young llamas. They provide security for sheep flocks.
- Deer: You can sell deer meats, furs, and antlers.
13. Double Crops
Depending on the crop you grow, you may be able to plant two crops simultaneously. This can help you save space. We have coconut trees spaced 5m apart on our farm. Between these, we plant beans, zucchini, courgette, and cucumbers.
We have irrigation in place to water coconuts. Because they have deeper roots, you can use the space to produce a more profitable result. The income from the earlier crop will cover the cost of electricity to water coconuts.
You can grow many different crops and get higher yields with the same amount of space and water.
14. Farm byproducts for sale
Many byproducts of a farm are available, some with resell potential. Here are some examples:
- Feathers If your farm has feathered friends, wild or domesticated, be sure to sell them. They are a favorite part of many crafts, including jewelry-making and hat-making.
- Manure If your animals are raised, you will know that manure can be a great addition to your garden. Manure can be bagged and sold to small gardens or the general public.
- Wood: Trees can be sold as firewood or small pieces for making kindling.
15. Equipment for Win Farm
While talking about making money on your farm, let’s not forget that “a penny saved is a penny gained.” Keep that in mind when entering the sweepstakes. Many companies offer prizes for farmers, including books, chicken incubators, tractors, and other valuable items.
I owned a website listing sweepstake, contests, and other competitions you could enter online. You can enter sweepstakes in different regions, as well as worldwide.
You can also sell a prize you win if you don’t want it.
16. Give talks and demonstrations.
It doesn’t have to be just about farming. Talks about farming can make you money. Public venues, schools, community centers, and other institutions always require speakers. These groups often pay. Payouts will increase the more significant the group is. This is a great avenue to explore if you’re a confident speaker. These topics include:
- Bee Keeping
- Growing vegetables and flowers
- Natural pest control
- Organizing a Farmers Market
- Homemade ice cream
- Jam making
These are just some of the topics you could talk about. You can give these talks at your farm, or you might need to travel to the venue. While you don’t need to be an expert in your subject, it is essential to entertain, inform, and be passionate about the topic.
While some of these topics are easily demonstrated, others require slides or videos.
Many groups require speakers. Reaching out to business owners, the chamber of commerce, and your local library is essential. Start networking. If you aren’t comfortable speaking in front of a group, you can speak for free until your confidence grows. After you get feedback on your talk and understand the subject well, you can charge for it.
17. Let Your Land be an Antenna, Turbines, or Solar Panels Rental
You might consider renting your land to private or public companies that install antennas, turbines, or solar panels.
Are you at the highest point of your land? You might want to contact cellular or internet companies to see if you can install an antenna on your property. This could be a way to earn the extra income you want. Although they can be very lucrative, there are potential risks of cancer. You can do some research to find out which areas are safe.
Are you located in a windy region? Are there any turbines nearby? A wind turbine could be an option. One farm near us has sand dunes that aren’t suitable for growing anything. However, a Korean-owned wind turbine company has installed them on the farm and is making a lot of money for doing nothing. Farmers in the UK also use these turbines. These farmers continue to farm, but they make more from the turbines.
You can also install solar panels on your property connected with the national grid. This option is popular in Spain and is also growing in popularity in other sun-loving countries. The electricity company may also offer free electricity. This is a great money-making idea!
18. You can sell seeds and plants online.
Consider selling seeds if you have unique varieties of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Although many people feel limited by the commercial seed companies they offer, there are many more options. Recent concerns about genetically modified (GM) seeds have led to an increase in this concern. The sales of heirloom seeds, or those passed down from generation to generation, have increased sharply.
Gardeners who are keen to learn new things, no matter how large or small, will always be on the lookout for new varieties. It will be easier to sell your seeds if you take a picture of them when it looks their best. You could advertise your sources on eBay or the equivalent site in your country.
- Although you can sell seeds online, you cannot send them overseas. Some countries have strict laws about sending seeds or plants abroad. List items online and inform customers that they must comply with all regulations before placing an order.
- Instructions for planting should be included in the packaging. These include information about when to plant, where to place it, what type of soil it prefers, and so on. You should include all information you’d typically find on a seed packet in the packaging. It is best to type it up and print it. Then, send it along with your seeds. You will make sure the customer is satisfied and they will return to you again. They are your best advertising. They will give you a glowing review if you meet their expectations. This will help boost your business.
19. Publish Articles Online
You could also write about farming activities. You might start making money writing articles on various subjects if you persevere. You can easily publish your articles online at no cost in many places.
However, writing online is not a quick way to make a fortune. As with all things, the more effort you put into it, the greater the rewards. It fits nicely into my farm lifestyle and adds an extra stream of passive income.
20. For special events such as weddings and parties, rent your land.
People are always looking for beautiful places for ceremonies or parties. It is trendy to have your wedding in a barn or farm. Your land could be rented out as a venue for special events or weddings.
You can be as involved as you like. The party planner or you could provide the marquees and tables. You could also give the food or have it outsourced.
- You should ensure that your space is clean and inviting for bridal parties if you consider renting it out for weddings.
- It might be possible to rent your barn for Thanksgiving or Christmas, depending on where you live.
21. Rent Bee Hives
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has caused a drastic decline in bee populations. Although it is unclear why this is happening, and there are many theories, the bottom line is that bees are in great demand for these tiny miracles of nature. Bees are in high order right now, not only because of their honey but also because they can pollinate.
You can earn $136 per hive if you own packs and can take them to the fields for pollination. This figure can be calculated based on the statistics in the article “Bee-conomics & the Leap in Pollination Fees” (UC Davis).
22. Open your Farm to the Public
Agrotourism is a more lucrative option than farming. Many farms are open to the public and offer a safe place for children and adults to view crops and animals up close. Some families even make a day of it.
Visitors will most often visit during weekends and school vacations. However, many schools enjoy taking their students on field trips to local farms.
- Your farm can make more money by serving light meals and refreshments.
- Feed pellets can be sold to animals for children to feed goats, chickens, and other animals.
- Start a petting zoo.
- Construct a corn maze.
- It is possible to offer workshops or classes on how to farm or make different types of products, such as meats and cheeses.
23. Bus companies can get parking.
Are you near an industrial area that has workers who need to be transported to work? Do you live in an area where parking is scarce? You might consider providing a dry, flat place for buses and cars to park.
A small kiosk might be necessary to store a worker. This worker will collect money from people who pay per day. Reserved parking, such as buses, will allow you to withdraw the money directly from your bank account. This will save you the cost of hiring a worker.
24. Storage for Motorhomes, Boats, and Trailers
Many suburban and urban areas limit the number of vehicles homeowners can park on their property. You might consider offering boat storage, a trailer, motor home, or caravan storage. This could make you a lot of money if you have a flat and secure field.
- You could provide a place where they can clean their cars.
- They can be charged monthly or annually.
- Talk to your lawyer and insurance company about whether your clients can sign a waiver exonerating you from any loss or damage.
25. Offer Space for a Private Airstrip/Helicopter Port
Is your farm equipped with a runway or heliport? Are you located in an area that has a demand for such a facility?
I live 65km from an international airport. However, there is an individual who owns an airstrip at his house. He only allows limited traffic to use it and is handsomely compensated for this privilege.
Large businesses often fly their employees up to this airport and land on the small runway. This allows them to be just minutes from where they need.
- Consider the possibility of a private airstrip for skydivers. You could implement this idea if you live in an area with lots of open space. However, you must have permission from the local aviation board.
- They could also rent parking.
26. Flower Grown to Sell
It may seem odd to grow flowers if you are familiar with growing crops like wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, and other grains. Consider the many avenues that flower growing offers.
- Cutting flowers for florists
- Flower growing for nurseries (potted and ready to resell)
- Direct sales of flowers to the public
- Dry flowers for arts and craft
- Dry flowers for potpourri/confetti
The yield of your land can be dramatically increased by growing flowers.
27. Videos on Farming
Although you might think videos about farming are unlikely to be popular, it is possible. People enjoy seeing people live unique lifestyles. Your audience will cheer you on, even if things don’t go according to plan.
These topics can be:
- Techniques for farming
A video that a man created on his farm with a bucket is included in this post. It has been viewed nearly 8 million times since I posted it. Videos don’t need to be long or fancy. They can just have to be interesting. You get paid whenever someone clicks on an ad next to your video.
I hope you find this helpful. Your chamber of commerce can provide a wealth of information. Ask about grants that are available to farmers and new businesses. Please share any additional resources or ideas in the comments.
This content is intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. It does not replace professional counsel in business, financial, legal, or technical matters. The author believes this article is correct and complete to his knowledge.