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Growing Greenbacks: How to Make Your Farming Profitable

Joe KnowsOf the more than two million farms across the United States, more than three-quarters produce gross annual revenues of less than $50,000. It's not surprising then that fewer than half of America's farmers name farming as their principal occupation, with most having another profession to supplement their income. However, with these tips you can make your farm profitable and grow your greenbacks.

Offer Accommodation

farmstay

Image via Flickr by Julie Gibson

Broadening your focus and offering accommodation to travelers keen to experience rural life is a great way to boost your revenue. More than 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas, so there are plenty of people who feel a country getaway is the perfect way to recharge their batteries and get back to nature. Spare rooms or barns can be easily converted into a bed and breakfast. Your guests may even be eager to help feed your animals and complete other basic chores.

If your buildings are full, you might convert part of your land into a campsite. You should provide a simple shower and toilet block, and consider providing electrical outlets to attract higher tariffs.

Depending on what you are growing, it might be possible to grow several crops at once and boost your revenue. For example, if your farm has previously only grown coconut trees, you could consider planting beans, courgettes, and cucumbers. These crops make use of the irrigation already in place for the coconut trees, so there's no extra effort required.

Take a Business Class

Too often, farmers spend so much time tending to livestock and soil management that other important aspects of farming, such as planning, analysis, and goal setting fall by the wayside. However, if you want your farm to be profitable then these business matters must be a higher priority.

A business class will give you the foundation you need to start thinking like a businessperson. It'll help you get a grip on your finances and teach you to assess the big picture. You'll also meet other business professionals who could help your farm grow.

In this modern age, taking a business class doesn't mean committing to hours in the classroom either. An online EMBA will let you structure classes around your lifestyle, making it easier to juggle your studies around your professional obligations. Online courses like these are ideal for farmers who are often based in rural areas, far from traditional brick and mortar educational institutions.

Sell at Farmers' Markets

Booking a stall at your local farmers' market is a great way to sell directly to consumers and raise awareness of your farm. Fresh produce is always appealing, but if you can offer different or unique products, such as specialty lettuces or unusual herbs, you'll have an edge over other stalls. Making up signs with buzzwords like "organic," "heirloom," and "free range" is another great way to attract crowds. Consider printing business cards or brochures advertising your farm and encouraging customers who love your products to order them directly from you.

Follow these tips, and you can beat the odds and turn your farm into a thriving business venture.

nebraskadave
8/30/2014 7:34:05 AM

Joe, it's so true about marketing. The best produce in the entire world can be grown but if it isn't bought, the business will go broke. I try to explain to those that want to start their own business that only about 25 percent of owning a business is the part they would love to do. The rest is about keep books, dealing with the IRS, and yes, marketing. Running a profitable business is not about having fun all the time. That's called a hobby and usually is not very profitable. Liability insurance is another expense that must be considered if bed and breakfast or camping is in the plans. These were all good pointers. ***** Have a great profitable day.