Best Small Farm Business IDEAS
How to Make Money From a Small Farm or Plot of Land
Many people think farmers have enviable lives. If you're a farmer, however, you may think otherwise. You work non-stop for very little money. Sometimes you feel like a prisoner to your buyers, and occasionally you wonder how much longer you can keep going. The weather seems to be against you, and you feel like you are working for nothing.
Though small farmers believe their lives are far from ideal, I can't think of any farmer who would switch to a life in the city. So how do you get the best of both worlds? How can you maximize profit from your land, small farm or homestead? You don't have to stop at growing crops. Through diversification and thinking like an entrepreneur, you can achieve a much higher yield from your farm while keeping the lifestyle you love.
Here are 26 ideas for you to consider for making the most of your farm. Of course, some of these ideas will be more practical than others depending on your region, type of farm, etc.
There are also restrictions, both federal and state, that need to be looked into before beginning some of these activities. That said, farmers are a determined breed. With a bit of planning, you can turn your small farm into a money maker and begin enjoying your life on the homestead once again.
Especially if you live close to an urban area, many people are always looking to find their next great outdoor vacation.
To turn your land (or part of it) into a campsite, you will need to construct a simple shower and toilet unit for your campers. Some campsites are quite basic and don't provide electrical outlets while others have installed electricity for the campers to use. If your farm is near a tourist area, this is definitely one to consider. The area or field you choose should also be level and dry, ensuring that campers can correctly erect their tents.
- Depending on your area, you could also have spots for motorhomes and caravans. For these, you'll need to supply electricity and water.
- Consider opening a small shop with essential food items and toiletries, if you aren't close to a town. Campers who don't want to travel back into town will be happy to buy from you even if your prices are a tad higher than in a supermarket.
- Many people, especially retired couples, live in RV's permanently. They will often spend a few weeks at a campsite if they like it.
- Offer free Wi-fi for your campers. Everyone expects to remain connected to the internet 24/7 even when they are camping. The access code can be changed weekly to keep those who aren't camping from using it.
- If you are going to allow campers to bring dogs, have an area fenced off as a dog latrine. No one wants to step in dog mess.
3. Farm Snails for Profit
It is easy to think of snails only as pests, but they can earn you great money. Snail farming (or heliciculture) has been around for many years. In some developing nations, it is becoming an important export crop.
To farm snails, you'll need to provide them with shelter, plants, and food.This can vary depending on your situation. Some farmers use outdoor pens which are open, others use netting to keep them in. I have also seen them grown commercially in poly tunnels. Below you can see a video of a woman who started small and has now built it into a profitable venture in Africa. As she says snails are the ideal livestock to have as they don't smell or make noise.
4. Organize a Swap Meet
If you have a field that's being left fallow, consider using it on the weekend for a large swap meet. People love to wander around a field to see what kind of bargains they can find.
Charge the vendors a small fee, maybe $7 per car and $15 per truck (depending on your area and demand). If you stick with it, this could develop into a profitable weekend venture that can be moved to a different field each season. Depending on where you live, you could even have the swap meet year-round.
Ensure you have an area for parking off road for those looking to buy. Signs on the street and even an ad in the newspaper will bring people flocking to your field for potential bargains. Once your swap meet (car boot sale in the UK) gets known, advertising won't be necessary as word of mouth is your best advertisement.
If you have spare rooms or a barn that can be converted into rooms, consider opening a bed and breakfast. This is one of the most popular ways to earn more money from your farm. People who are raised in cities love to experience a slice of life on a working farm. They love to see the animals and possibly even help out as well. It can be an exciting time for both adults and children.
The level of accommodation you offer can vary depending on the type of customer you wish to attract. Even offering simple sleeping rooms as a youth hostel could bring in extra cash. If your farm is near an area that requires many workers, even if it is only seasonally, you could rent the rooms to the company. By renting to a (reputable) company, you're more likely to get paid on time and paid regularly.
Companies such as AirBnB make it simple to rent out spare rooms for guests. Their website is straight forward and many people have come to trust it. This could be run in conjunction with your own website promoting your available accommodation.
6. Rental Space for Meetings or Gatherings
Do you have a barn that could be easily converted into open space? Consider renting it for a range of gatherings, such as business meetings, classrooms, or an exercise facility.
There are always people looking for areas for meetings. This could earn you money during the day, evenings, and weekends. Parking availability is always a bonus for some.
Depending on the level of involvement and improvement you want to do, you could supply chairs and tables, exercise equipment, or other supplies. You should offer to help supply refreshments or have them on hand, since that can be a valuable source of income as well.
Between plantings, you could allow metal detectors to scan your land. They may find a bounty that would be half yours if you own the land.
Alternatively, you could bury metallic objects in your field and hire it out to metal detecting clubs. People in these clubs are always looking for places to test and improve their skills. Contact your local metal detecting club to find out what they would require.
Remember that refreshments, even just drinks out of an ice chest or from the trunk of your car, can earn you money.
Raising fish such as tilapia can be a very profitable business. For tilapia, you will need to be in an area where the water temperature stays about 20°C (68°F). If your temperature is lower than this, you may need to heat the water which, of course, is costly.
Depending on the size of fry (young fish) you buy, your harvest could be ready in approximately six months depending on what size you wish to sell your fish at. This is one of the ways my husband and I make money from our farm here in Brazil.