Farming is an intensive business model that relies on patience, foresight, and consistency. How can farm income be boosted even further for the benefit of everyone?
The world relies on the skill of farmers, biologists, and hardworking day laborers to fill up fridges and keep industries running. However, when money slips through the cracks, this causes a ripple effect that can result in ruined assets and debt. Even bankruptcy. Fortunately, farm income can be generated in a variety of sustainable and reliable ways, ensuring a solid future for farms no matter the size.
Farm Crops Traditionally
For all of agriculture’s innovations, some things never truly change. Traditional farm crops respect the limitations of the land and address the concerns of consumer basis.
Traditional farming methods may not be as fast as modernized manufacturing, but they’re more nutritious and environmentally sustainable. Consumer demand for eco-friendly farming is driving changes to the global farming industry, so much so some farms are changing their entire model to reflect it. This dedicated approach to vocal niches commands higher prices, generating a suitably high return for investors.
“Permanent crops like nut trees, fruit trees, and olive trees provide investors with a number of advantages.”
As per the namesake, traditional farming relies less on high-production manufacturing in favor of organic cultivation methods. Pastured chicken and free-range eggs are a solid place to start for smaller farms. Farmers with more land should consider grass-fed beef or adding mineral-rich, in-demand vegetables like kale.
Farm Livestock Traditionally
Like traditional farm crops, traditional farm livestock is becoming the new norm in a world critical of modern farming approaches. Giving cows, pigs, and chickens better food and less stressful conditions results in a highly profitable niche.
Animal cruelty is a subject more and more customers are becoming aware of, both on a moral level and a health level. Free range eggs, pastured turkey, and pastured chicken are fast replacing mass-manufactured options in grocery stores, with entire chains dedicated to ethical, organic food. In addition, traditional farm livestock boasts a reduced risk of disease, such as salmonella, and validates growing conscientiousness to elevate environmental damage.
“In good markets and bad, farmland has generated stable, consistent returns over time, delivering value to investors even during periods of economic turmoil.”
Additionally, studies have shown free-range eggs to have superior nutritional benefits compared to factory farms. Farmers often prefer poultry for their reduced land requirement over more demanding livestock such as cows and sheep. Traditional livestock can be further supplemented depending on the animal, such as wool and cheese.
Management Of Honeybees
Honeybees have been under threat in multiple parts of the world due to human expansion and deforestation. Consumers and beekeepers alike are deeply aware of the necessity of bee health and its ripple effect on not just the economy but also the environment.
Honey boasts unparalleled crossover status with multiple industries and niches, widely preferred as the healthy alternative to high fructose corn syrup and white sugar. Apiculture has a tall order to meet demand and respond to consumers becoming pickier about which brands they support. Sustainability is one of the most prominent details that influence buyer behavior. According to a 2020 survey, nearly half of all buyers in a 2020 survey dropped a brand that contradicted their values, notably when it came to the environment.
Farms that choose apiculture need to go the extra mile marketing their eco-friendly benefits to their primary audiences to get the most out of this investment. Some businesses have decided to maintain a loyal consumer base by extending services and resources to beekeepers, honeybee heavy environments, and bee-related causes.
Bees are essential to crop pollination. Not all crops require bee pollination but Almond Trees depend upon it. Each February, 30 billion honeybees travel thousands of miles in a nationally coordinated migration to California to pollinate almond trees. Beekeepers from across the US put their hives onto flatbed trucks and haul their insect livestock to the almond orchards.
The sheer scale of modern monoculture and the use of herbicides and pesticides contribute greatly to decreasing the number of natural pollinators on agricultural land and force farmers to buy in pollination services from beekeepers.
Similar to apiculture, microgreens are a niche with a dedicated consumer base in several food industries. Decorative and delicate, these plants add an artful flair to dishes in countless restaurants, bars, and cafes.
Microgreens include herbs, young vegetables, and edible flowers. They’re a sturdy farm income option due to the combination of demand and the meticulous knowledge required to grow and maintain them properly. They need precise temperatures and packaging conditions to maintain their color, flavor, and shape. On the other hand, their tiny size means growing space is just as small.
Alongside their small growing space, microgreens are extremely popular on social media for their artistry and indirectly provide businesses with free word-of-mouth. Edible flowers cross over nicely with selling flowers for wedding, baby shower, and birthday parties.
Vegan And Organic Food
Plant-based protein and plant-based milk aren’t a trend, but a cultural and social shift that will remain strong for years.
Vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming more desired than ever in the West. Research reveals at least 37% of Americans prefer vegetarian meals when dining out, urging the food and beverage industry to make more relevant investments to keep attracting customers. Today’s farms have a huge opportunity to carve out a niche selling vegan and organic food to a dedicated consumer base.
“The rising trend of consumers seeking a healthy diet will increase consumer demand for nut and plant-based proteins and fresh fruit at over 5% per year.”
Vegan and organic food appeal includes concerns about harmful additives, personal diet, and environmental sustainability. Reassessing current farm models to accommodate consumer needs should involve reducing chemical pest control and promoting convenience.
Fertilizer And Compost
Good food needs good fertilizer. However, not all of it is created equally, and farms that understand the difference will have a promising investment waiting for them.
Due to climate change, the gradual shift in temperature and soil quality has caused fertilizer and compost to be a very in-demand niche. Farmers and customers alike are concerned about the ability to yield good crops or flowers in a changing world. Specialized fertilizer targeting certain fruits, vegetables, and herbs is ideal instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s also wise to consider organic fertilizer and compost, following on the heels of traditional farming methods.
Farms already selling fruits and vegetables can demonstrate the strength of their fertilizer through their products, creating a domino B2B and B2C effect.
Delicious and able to be combined with many recipes, mushrooms are a staple of the restaurant industry. Like microgreens, they don’t need much space to grow and command solid prices due to their popularity among several demographics.
Mushrooms are becoming a popular farm income choice for investors due to their relatively low startup costs and their high return. Their high mineral and vitamin content, juxtaposed with a low calorie content, makes them a regular choice for vegetarians and vegans. Several of today’s vegan brands, such as Washington-based Field Roast, use mushrooms as a nutritional supplement for meat.
For farms aimed strictly at vegans, supplementary vegetables like kale and eggplant are essential. Shitake and oyster mushrooms are widely considered to be bestsellers, followed closely by the cremini mushroom.
Sell Value-Added Farm Products
The niche is a powerful force. Getting highly specific with farm products and the value surrounding them ensures a steady stream of dedicated buyers.
Value-added farm products seek to add another layer of careful detail to the cultivation process, resulting in artisan products that can’t be easily duplicated by manufacturing plants. Locally grown molasses, maple syrup, cheese, butter, and milk are trendy choices for farmers that need to expand their farm income ideas. Additional options include wool, wood, and seeds.
Marketing around value-added farm products stresses the love, attention to detail, and unique traits that make each product stand out. The more familiar approach is desirable to customers that care about where their dollar goes and why.
The experience is just as vital as the purchase to many customers. No niche understands this better than agrotourism.
Wine tours explore the beautiful fields that yield grapes as well as offering tastings. Pumpkin patches that open up during the fall and offer entertainment for families. Agrotourism is an enjoyable experience for customers and a simple, straightforward way for farms to supplement income. While agrotourism is often seasonal, it further adds to the value and creates a limited-time appeal for buyers eager for a unique experience.
An impressive 73% of customers cite a positive experience as their main drive to return to a business. Farms that craft enjoyable and educational agrotourism experiences have the opportunity to save money in the long run through repeat customers.
Related: Track Record
As the world becomes increasingly globalized and cities grow larger, the need for convenient farm techniques grows ever stronger. Vertical farming is the answer for urban growers relying on their local community to sell vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
Not only is vertical farming more convenient for both farmers and buyers, it boasts a turnaround time of up to eight weeks faster than traditional farming methods. This has a ripple effect on farm equipment by saving money on repair costs and replacements. Vertical farming is inherently designed to create fresh, varied produce with less space and less resources in cramped city environments. Health conscious buyers are hungry for options: the more accessible, the better.
Community relationship building is vital for any farm, but especially so for local businesses that rely on repeat customers.
Farming Can Be Very Profitable When Well Executed
Farming is only a risky investment when it isn’t properly executed. Industry insight, positive customer experiences, and reasonable expectations are vital ingredients for picking the right farm income niche.
While each niche comes with its challenges, sustainability and accessibility remain the most common throughlines. Customers want to know their dollar is going to a good cause, while businesses are eager to find as many buyers in their niche as possible. One niche can even lead to another, such as combining agrotourism with vertical farming methods.