A lot of farms around the country have trouble staying profitable when there’s been a bad harvest, or the main season is over, and the growing season begins. There’s one thing that many farmers have in common, and it’s the fact that they know that diversification is key to continued success and health of the farm as a business. It’s a great idea, to have a solid farming income, but tapping into more than one income stream can transform the way that a farm is run. Generating more income helps a farm to stay far more stable, and embracing new opportunities is the only way that this can happen in farming.
Knowing the difficulties in agriculture mean that farmers are generally a very adaptable bunch. Using land and farming property for more than what you already use it for can provide you another income stream to fall back on in the harder times and boost your farm in the more profitable times. Of course, diversifying isn’t going to guarantee that you have an income. As with anything, it takes a lot of hard work to make diversifying your farm work for you, and it can be confusing to decide which way to take your farm. We’ve put together five different ways that you can choose to diversify your land and buildings to make more money in your pocket:
Having one type of crop, such as corn or wheat, is a good way to earn a steady income. However, if you look into the ways that you could experiment with different crops, you could discover a whole new interest in your land. You could choose to invest in seeds that grow at the opposite time to your usual crop, meaning that your farmland can be used all year round. This stretches out your income possibilities and if one crop does fail, you do have the option of the second crop to help you to make money and keep your farm running steadily. You could use market research to decide whether your current crop buyers would be interested in buying a different type of crop from you, and if not, they could point you toward buyers who would need what you grow. After all, it’s who you know!
Your farm may be centred around dairy cows and milk production. How about diversifying by creating your own products – butter, cheese, etc – on your farm, you are going to be able to sell real products created from your own livestock, putting money in your pocket. Of course, this won’t be an inexpensive venture, and you need to invest in the correct machinery to help you to manage that production. Visit here to see the type of equipment that you could need for this. You could also branch out with sheep and goat’s milk and create a medley of different cheeses at the source. It’s an excellent way to draw in new custom and boost existing income.
If your farm is currently concentrating on crops, you could think about diversifying with livestock. Having cows, pigs, chickens and sheep on your farm could really grow your income by selling by products of shearing the sheep, collecting the eggs and even selling the livestock for meat. This type of diversification can mean that you are able to maintain a steady income all year, allowing your farm to expand and grow with the extra income brought in. You could even expand an area with a duck pond and sell duck eggs to local markets, bringing in a tidy profit.
The bed and breakfast trade is becoming more and more popular with local holidaymakers, and offering a bed and breakfast on your farm gives people the chance to visit, stay and see how a real farm works in action. You could serve a breakfast made with your own products: homemade butter and milk, eggs fresh from the chickens and even sausages and bacon from the pigs. Your wheat crops could be what you use for handmade bread and if you are growing fruit, imagine the jams you could create for guests as something that they can take home. Those dairy cows that we mentioned could be the source of delicious ice-cream in the summer months. Training your farm hands to help people to look around and understand how a farm works can help your income, as you could charge for entry. Lambing season could be a popular time for visitors, as they would want to visit the baby lambs; charging for feeding the lambs is yet another mini income stream that diversification can give to you. If your farm has horses in the paddock, you could bring on a horse riding teacher and offer a riding school. These will all cost money to make money, but these are going to make a huge difference to your farm and the popularity of your farm. Running a solid family business can be amazing for the local community and strengthen links with buyers.
Your farmland may well be sitting on oil piping, and this could mean that natural resources on your farm could be sold to local gas companies. Selling the oil and natural gas that are under your farm could help you to generate a fantastic revenue each year. If you haven’t got the oil or gas under your land to be siphoned out, you could cut down and sell trees for timber to local building companies. The natural resources of your farm are there for the taking; it’s your land! You are able to diversify your farm in any way that you choose.
Diversifying a farm is not going to be an easy prospect, but it’s one that is going to be in your future if you play your farm the right way. You don’t have to find yourself in a stressful slump if you don’t want to. Start planning today, and you can ensure that your farm is as profitable as you’d like.