Growing a profitable small farm is hard in today’s world. Not only do you need a lot of farmland, you need a lot of equipment and money to start out.
What young farmer has a lot of these things in the beginning?
Successful Farming decided to look into the cost of starting a farm and what they found is that if you want to start farming in a traditional sense, you would need $5,157,500. What farmer can afford that?
In order for a small farm to become profitable, we need to start looking at it from a different prospective than just the conventional way of monoculture, and intensive agriculture.
Yes, you do need to make money in order to create a living, and you want your farm to be profitable.
After all, it is a lot of hard work. But not all crops are created equal in value per acre.
When we first started farming, the amount of money we needed felt overwhelming.
Not only did we need land to grow the conventional crops we were use to, we also needed a lot of equipment.
The ones that are able to start farming with little money and little land are those that think outside the box.
Especially when first starting out, it is important that you grow profitable crops for your small farm.
Breaking into the farming market these days costs a lot of money, and if you don’t have that, it can feel impossible to manage a small farm that actually makes money, and doesn’t just drag you into the hole.
A profitable crop right from the beginning of your farming journey will help you get a leg up, so to speak.
Reinvesting your income back into your farm will then help you to grow.
Growing niche and unique crops is the key to growing a profitable farm with little money.
More and more stories are popping up of people that are able to make a living by growing profitable niche crops.
You can too. This is part of our journey as well as we learn what we can do to help our small farm make money and be self-sustainable.
Profitable Crops For your Small Farm
We have not tried all of these, and I would recommend you don’t do them all either.
Pick one or two to start, and work on getting those streams of income up and running.
Depending on the amount of land and resources you do have, you will be able to implement these.
Cut flowers have a huge market, especially around the wedding season.
Arranging flowers is an art in itself, so this might require some research, but if you have an eye for it, sell flowers.
Flowers make people happy. Find out if the demand in your area is high enough and then start selling cut flowers.
Sarah Adams is an example of this. She grows and sells flowers from five acres in Alberta, Canada.
Already working with four employees, she supplements by teaching classes on dried flower arrangements.
Tulips and Lilies can be profitable selling as a flower, but there is another market here that has potential.
The amazing thing about bulbs is that they propagate to make more all the time. They do it by themself. Given healthy soil, you will soon have more bulbs than you will ever need.
This is an excellent opportunity to start selling the extra. With the right precautions, bulbs can even be delivered through the mail so you could set up your own website and sell online
There is nothing better tasting than a fresh strawberry ripe from the garden.
I’m sorry, the store-bought ones cannot compare.
Strawberries are highly profitable as well.
As with everything, they require a lot of work, but the results are well worth it. For such little plants, they can produce a lot of berries.
In 2020, we planted 1500 June Bearing Strawberry plants. This only took up a small part of our land, and we will see how they will produce in 2021.
The good thing about June Bearing is while you have an intense picking period in July, they produce for only about 4-6 weeks, depending on the growing conditions.
This allows you to spend the rest of your summer on other profitable ventures.
However, there are also varieties that produce all summer long. Seascape is one such kind that does well in Alberta.
Have you seen the price of Asparagus in stores (in Canada they are really expensive)?
Growing these will make you money if you put in the work. Not only do you get a good price for these at the farmer’s market, but they also taste so much better.
Asparagus is a crop that takes six years before you can start harvesting, but after will produce for decades.
Asparagus is also something you could plant amongst your strawberry plants.
I would love to try this. Strawberries and asparagus both love straw as mulch, so they go hand in hand.
The Edgar family in Innisfail, Alberta grow 50 acres of asparagus.
What started as a one-acre experiment, turned out to be a profitable farm that people enjoy coming to every year.
They also host several Asparagus Festivals every year in Spring.
Specialty Wheat -Einkorn
Yes, you can grow wheat, but competing against commercial growers is impossible for a small farmer.
That’s where specialty wheat comes in. Depending on your area, you could grow Spelt or Einkorn Wheat.
Especially when you do not have a lot of land, you need it to be as profitable as possible.
$54 for a 10kg bag of Einkorn grains makes this a crop that would be highly profitable if your area has the demand and market for it. Definitely something to look into.
Fresh, organic, locally grown garlic can be a big hit at the farmer’s market. There is nothing as good as fresh, and although the price might not compare with China, the taste will.
The best date to plant garlic is in fall, as these bulbs are able to grow longer, and produce bigger cloves.
When I asked in a Facebook group, this is the one that got suggested.
Don’t start with the normal white mushrooms found in stores, but with specialty ones such as oyster or Lions Mane mushrooms.
With the right knowledge and equipment, mushrooms can be dried and then sent all over the world. The potential of this crop is huge.
Many are starting to discover the profitability of this crop, and are starting mushroom factory in their backyards.
Fresh herbs are a commodity by themselves, but if you don’t have the market for it right away, try drying them and then selling them.
As always, be sure you check the regulations of your local area before diving in.
Medicinal Herbs would be another way to supplement this. Learning how to dry and store herbs according to your country’s regulations would be key.
You could also set up a website and start selling online. Many organic herbs that you buy online come from all over the world.
Have you tried any of these and found them to be profitable for you?
As with everything, you have to take into consideration your location, your weather, and your resources before making a decision.
There are more crops that would be profitable, and this is only scratching the surface of ways you can make your small farm profitable.
What crops are you growing on your small farm?