Income Opportunities for You and Your Homestead

Reader Contribution by Carla Scharber
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Running a farm and raising a family is an expensive endeavor.  Therefore, some extra cash is seldom unwelcome; particularly if you can integrate the opportunity into what you are already doing.  With the ideas shared below, advertising and marketing will be your key to success, so get the word out utilizing as many modes and venues as possible.  In addition, some activities may be regulated or have restrictions, so contact your county office for further information.

1)  Host a Yearly Event – I know it’s not always easy to find a free window of time in a farmer’s schedule, but scheduling fun into life is important too.   If you have the space, along with good planning and organizational skills, this might be the very opportunity to bring some extra cash to your homestead.  Think of activities you enjoy and consider hosting an event at your place.   Income can be made from entrance fees, vendor fees, and/or your own booth sales.   Examples might include:  Car or Tractor Show; Music Concert featuring local talent, with or without a Barn Dance; Fireworks Display; Consignment Auction with a take of the earnings; Outdoor Games Competition (Bocce Ball, Volleyball, Croquet, Badminton); Tractor, Snowmobile or Sledding Races; etc. 

2) Trail Runs and Adventure Runs – This is something that one of our local farms, Treasured Haven Farm, organizes each year.  They have trail runs, half marathons and half of a half marathons that are open courses throughout their working farm and woodlands without major obstacles or water crossings.   Adventure Runs traverse the farm field and woodland access trails and may have natural obstacles like downed logs, single lane track, steep inclines, water or creek crossings where you will get wet, muddy areas depending on recent rainfall, and others depending on the event. Each race in their farm series in unique.   For more information on Treasured Haven Farm Runs and what the runners are saying, visit their website.

3)  Airbnb – Do you have a spare room in your farmhouse?  Do you have a building that could be renovated into a tiny house or a camp cottage?  Perhaps you have an RV, yurt, tipi or permanent canvas tent dwelling?  Many homesteads can offer an experience that families who do not live in the country would enjoy sharing with their children.   Perchance you have a particularly private and/or scenic homestead that offers quiet solitude for those who need to unplug from their hectic lifestyle?   Airbnb Inc‌.‌ is an American online marketplace and hospitality service brokerage company based in San Francisco, California whose members can use the service to arrange or offer lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences.   There are several books available for learning more about running a successful Airbnb.

Photo by Jordan Rowland on Unsplash

4) Teaching an On-Site Class – Many is the time that I have wanted to learn a new skill, but taking a class involved hours of drive time.   Homesteaders, and country folk in general, often have unique or specialty skills that are of interest to others.   The possibilities are endless but to get you thinking about your own skill set, here are some ideas: how to grow and prepare herbs for use; canning and food preservation; weaving; needlework, felting and other handwork;  sewing and quilting;  knitting and crocheting;  trapping, hunting and tanning; welding; specialized building and carpentry; repairing farm implements and tractors; carving; cast iron restoration and cooking; candle and soap making; beekeeping; how to arrange flowers and establish a cutting garden; building an outdoor oven; etc.  

5) Weekend On-Farm Sales of Extra Produce & Your Specialty Products – If you live near town or a weekender’s paradise, this may be a great opportunity for you.   If you have an active following, and the time, you can grow your income and local interest by adding a petting zoo, pony or tractor rides, craft vendors, etc. 

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