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Little Land, Big Earnings: 9 Profitable Crops for Small Farms

88% of the farms in America are small, family farms.

If you’re one of these farmers, I don’t have to tell you that having a small farm is hard work and the profit margins can be tight.

Are you looking for ways to bring in some extra cash from your small farm?

If you answered a resounding Yes! then come with me we’ll look at the nine most profitable crops for small farms.

9 Profitable Crops For Small Farms

To decide what the best cash crop for your small farm is, take a few minutes to identify what you’re looking for. Do you have a lot of space, but not a lot of time? Is your land limited acre-wise but you have time to invest? Think about where and how you’d want to sell these cash crops, and whether they work well in tandem with your existing system.

1. Mushrooms

One of the best crops for small farms isn’t a plant at all, but the fruiting body of a fungus. Gourmet mushrooms can be grown either indoors or outdoors, meaning that you can grow these profitable spore-bearing delicacies no matter what climate your in.

The two most popular types of edible mushrooms for small farms to produce are oyster mushrooms and shiitake. If you live in an area where exotic mushrooms are in high demand, there are a lot more varieties beyond those two. Lion’s mane, King Stropharia, Maitake, and Chicken of the Woods are additional mushroom varieties you might consider.

If you choose to have an outdoor mushroom operation by inoculating felled trees, another benefit of growing mushrooms is that much of the labor is undertaken in the winter months. This means it won’t take much time away from the rest of your farm!

2. Lavender

Lavender is a great cash crop for small farms because it can be sold in a number of different forms. You can sell the fresh flowers, dry them and sell them to crafters and florists, and you can use them to create your own value-added products.

Products that can be made and sold using lavender include aromatherapy products, skincare products, herbal pillows, and sachets.

3. Gourmet Garlic

Not only is this an easy crop to grow, but it’ll turn a pretty profit, too. There are a number of gourmet varieties of garlic, and they tend to go for quite a bit more than the regular garlic you’d find at the grocery store.

Ideal for farms without a ton of space, intensive planting of garlic can bring in $8 to $10 per square foot. There’s also a lot of possibilities for making and selling value-added products.

4. Bamboo

If you live in a climate that doesn’t frequently drop below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, there are varieties of bamboo that you can grow and sell. Quickly growing, beautiful, and considered “the most useful plant in the world,” growing bamboo as a part of your farm operation could help bring in some extra cash.

An important thing to know about bamboo is that it’s propagated through rhizomes underground. It’s quickly growing, but also spreads relentlessly. For this reason, it’s popular to grow bamboo in containers for resale. If you don’t, you’re going to want to install a barrier so your bamboo patch doesn’t rapidly become a bamboo forest and take over your whole farm.

5. Flowers

Who doesn’t love fresh cut flowers? If you’re looking for a way to make extra cash with your farm this year, consider growing flowers that you can sell at farmer’s markets and to florists.

Cut flowers are one of the most profitable small farm crops you can grow, with American farmers reporting that each acre is bringing in $25,000 to $30,000 in sales.

If you’re starting your flower farm from seed, you’ll want to be sure you can effectively keep mice away. Heck, even if you’re not starting from seed, you’ll want to keep pesky and disease-ridden rodents far from the boundaries of your farm.

6. Ginseng

If you have a little space and time to invest in growing ginseng, this is one of the best cash crops for small farms. While it takes six years for the roots to be harvest-able, a plot as small as a quarter-acre can produce as much as $50,000.

While you’re waiting for your ginseng plants to mature, you can sell the seeds and rootlets to others trying to start their own ginseng plot.

7. Herbs

Growing culinary and medicinal herbs are some of the most profitable crops small farms can grow.

Per acre, it’s possible to produce over $30,000 worth of herbs. By focusing on high-priced and popular herbs, you can ensure that your herb farm is a success.

8. Heirloom Tomatoes

One of the most profitable vegetables you can grow isn’t technically a vegetable, but a fruit. If you live in an area where heirloom tomato varieties are valued, this is a great crop to grow.

Tomatoes are best grown vertically and tomato vines can be prolific, so an area as small as 600 square feet can produce $8,000 to $10,000 worth of product.

9. Landscaping Trees and Shrubs

Having a small nursery as a part of your small farm can help increase your yearly profits. By raising small trees and shrubs in pots and selling them to landscapers and homeowners, it’s possible to make between $40,000 and $60,000 per acre each year.

Growing Specialty Crops Can Boost Your Profits Big-Time

Starting to produce one or many of these cash crops could revolutionize the profits at your small farm. Even if you don’t run a commercial farm, many of these crops can be grown and sold by anyone with a love of gardening and an interest in making a little extra money.

If you loved this article on the most profitable crops for small farms, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative articles!


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