Farming can be an expensive endeavor, whether you do it for a hobby or as a means of survival. There will be times when money gets tight and it seems like the expenses will never stop mounting. In times such as this, having a little extra income would be helpful, but how can you turn that dream into a reality? There are many things you can do around the farm to offset some of your expenses. These things will probably not make you rich, but they can help swing your numbers out of the red and back into the green.
In a day and age when it is important to people to buy local, being a farmer with goods to sell is ideal. Though it is important to know and abide by things such as zoning, business, food preparation, and insurance requirements, it is still possible to take a little piece of your farm output and put it into dollars. This is most easily done at places like farmer’s markets where things such as the 10 listed below are sold.
1. If you have chickens creating a surplus of eggs, sell the eggs. If you wind up with a surplus of chickens, those can be sold as well.
2. Fruits and vegetables grown on your farm that are in surplus of what you need/will use can be sold.
3. Baked goods and preserves such as jams and jellies can be offered for sale as well.
4. As animals breed and reproduce, weaned animals such as goats, cows, and horses can be sold.
5. If you own bee boxes, honey sales are possible.
6. Soap making is another trend growing in popularity, especially types made from goat’s milk.
7. Offer manure for sale to landscapers/gardeners.
8. Grow, harvest, and sell bales of hay.
9. Sell meat from butchered animals.
10. When clearing land, sell excess firewood.
Photo: Indiana Hay Online
There are other items you can sell, but it is important to follow laws and guidelines for those items, such as milk. Depending on your local laws, for example, it could be illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption. That milk may be sellable as pet milk, but in order to offer it for human consumption, it often requires pasteurization. If you wish to begin selling milk, but sure to educate yourself as to the necessary steps you must follow prior to doing so in your area.
It is possible that you could offer services such as a petting zoo with small animals that are tame, well-behaved and mild mannered. Also possible is renting areas for photoshoots for occasions such as senior portraits. You could rent rustic barns as a setting for weddings as well. Though these ideas are great, it is these in particular that will require all of your liability bases to be covered before anyone is allowed to set foot onto your property. Legal documents drawn up by an attorney are another must-have.
Though farming is a rewarding venture and can be financially productive, sometimes it is the smaller homesteader whose bank account needs an extra push. By utilizing some of the ideas above, you can provide yourself with such assistance. Be sure to cover yourself from a liability standpoint at all times and always sell your goods in a safe location in order to enjoy a bit of extra cash from your farming efforts.