Many small farmers run their properties simply as a hobby or side job. It provides a chance to spend more time outdoors and stay active, all while working with food. These are great goals, but you should consider how such projects can be turned into long-term, profitable businesses.
It’s not something that can be done overnight, but if you plan things right, a hobby farm could become a source of income in as little as a year or two.
In most cases, small farmers produce food for themselves and their families. This is a fine goal, but when you try to transform your farm into a business, you should begin by investigating the market. Learn about local restaurants and farmers’ markets to figure out what kinds of produce are in high demand in your area.
For the most part, the 80/20 will apply, meaning you will receive 80% of your income from 20% of your produce. This allows you to plan your harvests in advance, focusing on what brings the most profit.
Your land is the most important asset available to you, and you should treat it as such. This means you’ll need to design a farm outline, and use it to make the most of your space. This doesn’t mean you should cover every inch of your land in produce–instead, focus on setting up infrastructure that will allow you to make the most of your land and your yields.
Small farms don’t require much funding, and are mostly self-sustainable in terms of both production and funding. However, should you wish to upscale your operations into a more profitable source of revenue, you’ll need to look into funding options. In most cases, this means getting a loan from a local bank, but there are other methods as well.
Before you’re able to borrow money from a bank, you must create a business plan that will outline your plans for your farm, and how you plan to set up reliable income streams.
For the most part, small farms sell produce either directly to consumers, or through local farmers. When working on a farm, you should consider making arrangements with the local farmers market. This is something you’ll need to pay for, but it’s well worth the cost.
What you get in return is a place to sell your produced in an organized and credible way. It is also a handy marketing tool.
A small farm must be marketed right away in order to be successful. This should be done in an organized and professional way, but it need not be expensive. You can rely on local media and free platforms such as blogs and social media to reach your customers in personable, actionable ways. The best part is that these methods require little to no prior investment.
If you plan to sell to customers directly, you should use your farm itself as a marketing tool. This is achieved by inviting customers to come to the farm and see the produce and your methods for themselves.
Small, sustainable farms usually don’t require you to hire anyone for actual farming work. They can run as family operations, which is part of the attraction and a major way you can save money. However, you’ll still need to hire a few people for administrative tasks.
You should begin with hiring an accountant and lawyer. Both can be kept on a retainer so you don’t pay too much, allowing you to use their services only when you truly need them.
Hobby farms are small, fun projects, but they can be so much more than that. Hobby farms can become a source of income for your family, or even a full time job. For your farm to succeed, you will need to take certain measures such as creating a business plan and preparing to take out a loan.