Most people have no idea what challenges face a small farm each year. Yes, they might appreciate the occasional trip to a farmer's market, where fruits and veggies always seem to be in abundant supply. That's not telling the whole story. It only takes one lousy growing season to create a downward ripple effect that can last for several years.
That is why many small farms are branching out and finding ways to make extra money from their farm. Many of these suggestions are low-cost options that can yield a decent return. Have you thought about these ways to make money from your farm?
There is a large swath of the "city slicker" population that would love to embrace the farm experience, even if just for a weekend. You could rent out rooms in your home through rental sites like AirBnB. That is a simple approach.
The other thought would be to go full on bed and breakfast. That would probably require a lot more time and effort, but it is worthy of consideration, especially if your farm is in an ideal setting, like near a popular tourist town or wine country. You could also consider renting rooms out to traveling students. Quick cash, and you might even get them to do some work around the place!
Campers are always looking for a fresh spot to pitch their tents. Rolling pastures could be a great place for these outdoor enthusiasts. It might help if you provide some campground staples like a fire pit and/or grill. An outdoor privy wouldn't be a bad way to go, either.
If you've spent a lot of time, effort and money maintaining your property, then you could share it with the community as an event venue. Depending on the location and parking availability — a field will do! — there could be many companies that would enjoy throwing a company picnic on a farm.
There are also couples who might be looking for a unique spot to get married. Throw in family reunions and other outdoor events, and you could generate a decent amount of business. However, these kinds of events typically require special setups, such as lighting for a wedding. To support those events, you should consider renting generators so as not to drain on your home energy bill.
There is a wide world of flora to grow that can create a positive and fragrant revenue stream. There are probably dozens of local florists who would appreciate a fresh supply of flowers. Before you start planting, visit those florists to find out what they could use the most. It won't take up much land to grow a lot of flowers.
There might be a corner of your property that would be the perfect fit for a wind turbine or huge antenna. These are the types of structures that could present a small footprint but provide a steady income with a land lease option. The higher the elevation of your property, the more attractive it would be to those companies.
"Farm to table" is a concept that connects local growers with restaurants. Hopefully, you're already plugged into that network but you could also take it to the next level by flipping it around. "Table to farm" would allow groups to tour your property, for a small fee, of course. You can have a petting zoo area for school kids and sell feed for the animals. It's also a good opportunity to set up your own fresh produce stand. Throw in some baked goods, and you've got a decent business.
Finally, your farm could become an amazing backdrop for a photographer. Look for "location services" in your area, and you could rent your property to photographers and the occasional movie crew. Just don't go all "Hollywood!"
No matter which option you want to explore, keep in mind that marketing will be essential. Thankfully, with Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter, you might not have a hard time creating a following.
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