This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through a link on my site I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
In order for me to teach you how to make money farming, you have to know how to run a business. Having a boat load of ideas to make money isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t know how to sell it or get more eyes on your idea or product.
People have to know who you are and trust you before they will buy from you.
I think it’s important for every single homesteader, small farmer, or backyard farmer to have some stream of income. Maybe you don’t “need” the money but everyone has an end to the zeros in their bank account.
So if you are starting to feel the pinch in your wallet. It’s time to start learning how to make money farming and building income streams that will sustain your life goal.
Your farm should be something you enjoy as well as support your life goals. Not just be a huge drain on your money, time, and emotions.
This post is all about how to make money farming and creating a country lifestyle that doesn’t leave you broke and burnt out.
Think Like A Business Owner
So you want to make money farming? Well, you have to think about your farm like a business. No more going along and doing things on a whim.
Everything you do needs to be done with strategy if you want to be profitable. One of the most important things to remember is that you need to be efficient with your time and resources. This small farmers’ productivity kit will help you do just that.
The first step to making sure that your farm is running efficiently is by having a plan. You can’t be strategic if you don’t know what you are working towards.
- You need to know what you are growing.
- WHY you are growing it.
- When it will be ready for harvest.
- What you will do with the produce.
- Do you even have the space and time capacity to do what you want to do? If not it might be time to re-evaluate your expectations.
Create a plan and estimate your expenses and profits. You need to know what you can expect to pay in order to get started with that income stream in order to start making money on your farm. You can’t get something from nothing. There will be start-up costs even if it is minimal.
But make sure to TRACK your expenses and profits so that you can make adjustments as needed. Or be able to say no when a tempting opportunity arises. It’s so easy to look at a deal and think, sure I’m willing to pay that. But not realizing you will come up short at the end of the month.
You can grab this farm income expense tracker from the shop to track your income and expenses.
This might be annoying but the best way to run your farm as a business and making sure you are growing with consumer demands is by keeping up with the latest trends in the market. I know I know not the farmer’s favorite thing but if people are willing to pay for it why not give it to them and make a profit at the same time.
Remember That Cute Doesn’t Pay The Bills
Cute is not going to pay the bills. You can’t take “oh, but he’s so cute” to the feed store and expect to get a bag of feed in return.
🛑Cute doesn’t pay for the water bill and Uncle Sam isn’t going to take vegetables as payment for your taxes.🛑
Whether you raise chickens, goats, rabbits, dogs, cattle, or honestly whatever else, you have to learn to put up a wall of sorts in your eyes and heart when it comes to raising offspring, scrolling through Craigs List, or passing by those heart-melting ducklings at the feed supply store in early spring.
It’s not easy to do but it’s extremely important if you don’t want your farm to eat you out of house and home.
Just remember but that cute little baby does not stay small forever. It will grow up to be big and strong and eat just as much as every other adult animal you have.
Set Goals For Your Small Farm
In order to make money farming, you have to set goals.
Whether you are raising show animals or you are simply trying to provide your family with food you must have an end goal you are working towards.
So anytime you were tempted to keep that cute little baby that looked at you just the right way you can ask yourself if it will help you reach the goals you have for your small farm.
In the rabbitry, it can be very hard for me to say no to a rare color that popped up. So if I am tempted to keep a young rabbit I have to ask myself what good is this animal going to do in the rabbitry.
- Is the confirmation good enough?
- Will it help me improve the current rabbits that I have or will it hold us back?
- Do I already have enough bucks for breeding?
- If I really want to keep this animal am I willing to let another one go in order to make room for it?
You have to set goals that you are willing to follow in order to get to where you want to go these rules need to become law on your small farm.
Research What You Can Raise In Your Area
Make sure that you are able to raise what you want to be in your area.
Some breeds do better in the heat. Some livestock breeds tolerate the cold much better. Some animals are better at forging and finding their own food.
Sometimes you simply have to ask people. Cochin chickens always seem to lay well for us here in Ohio in the winter if a light is provided for them. They are much thicker-bodied and can tolerate the cold. Whereas some of the thinner breeds wouldn’t keep laying through the winter no matter what I did.
Are you looking for a specific animal to raise on your farm, but you’re not sure if it will be compatible with the climate and geography of your area?
The first thing you can do to make your life a lot easier is to choose the top 3-4 breeds you like best and make sure that you are able to get a hold of them in your area.
There is no reason to take the time to research something if you can’t buy it without traveling across the country.
Once you have found a few options for the breed you like most. It’s time to make sure that the animal you have your heart set on will thrive in your neck of the woods.
Largely you just want to check on its heat tolerance level and cold tolerance level. If some breeds are good at foraging you need to realize that means they will likely eat anything they can get close enough to reach. So don’t be surprised if that cute little highlander cow eats your new saplings.
For Researching Crops
The first step is to look at the USDA hardineness zone map. This map divides North America into 11 zones, based on average minimum winter temperature. You can find one here.
Each zone is color-coded, and each color corresponds to a list of plants and animals that are able to survive in that zone. You can find the map online, or purchase a hard copy at many gardening stores.
Once you have determined your USDA zone, it’s time to do some further research on the types of animals that are compatible with that zone.
Research Its Profitability
There is no point in raising something if you can’t charge enough to cover your expenses.
For rabbits, a good example is raising Newzelands or Californians. They are a dime a dozen and it takes a lot to find very good quality rabbits. If you do find a good quality animal you are going to pay A LOT for it.
But they also don’t have the cute factor like some other breeds do. Read this post to learn more about researching a profitable breed of livestock to raise.
What Are People Searching For
This is going to be the number one thing that will determine the success or failure of your small farm business.
What are people looking for? What do they want? What are they wanting to do with what you plan to sell?
If you were going to produce small family milk cows. Choosing to raise mini Hereford cattle or Highlanders is not going to be the best choice.
But if you want to raise that breed and decide you are going to supply people with beef cattle on small properties, that would be a better avenue to go with the two breeds mentioned before.
How To Find What People Are Searching For
I’m going to tell you how to figure out what people are searching for In just a minute. These tools I’m going to show you are mostly free some are very low cost.
It can be hard to spend money on something that you don’t know will be profitable. But let me tell you that you will be stumbling around for far less time if you invest in the tools that will help you in the right places.
If you want to make money from your farm business you need to be willing to put your money where your mouth is. Even if it is a small amount.
What tools you can use to figure out what people are searching for.
- Google Search
- Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension – Try it out here.
Doing this research is going to help you with two things.
- Choosing the animals you should raise or the crops you should plant and the products you should produce.
- It will also help you in your farm business marketing. It’s extremely important that you use the words that your customer is using so they can find what you are offering.
This will help them find you in both Google searches as well as social media.
Choosing The Right Words (Keywords)
The words that people use to find something in Google are called keywords. There are short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.
A short tail keyword example would be “dairy cow.”
An example of a long-tail keywords word would be “best dairy cow for small farmers”.
Choosing the longer keyword is going to get you a more specific customer who you know is more likely to buy.
Someone who is searching and dairy cow might just be looking up different breeds because they’re bored or curious.
But someone who searches best dairy cow for small farmers is more likely to be researching the breed to buy.
Now the person who is searching for “best dairy cow for small farmers” is still at the beginning stages of their research they don’t really know what they want to buy yet and they definitely are not fully committed.
But someone who is searching for the breed that you raised, let’s used miniature Jersey cow as an example, these people are much closer to being willing to make a purchase.
How To Do Your Keyword Research
As we’re doing this research I want you to get out a Word document and type out the keyword that you found and the number of searches per month and the search competition difficulty. Don’t worry I will show you in just a second what that looks like.
We are going to continue with our best dairy cow for small farmers’ example.
Whichever tool you used make sure to mark down this information. You will be using this information in the future.
For each of the tools, you are going to take that string of keywords and type them in google search. (I tried taking a screenshot for you but it kept going away so sorry you will have to try this on your own.)
There will be words that google suggests as you keep typing those are what google is thinking you are going to type next based on what other people have searched. These are your first clues as to what people are searching.
How To Use Keywords Everywhere
After you have installed the keywords everywhere chrome extension, hit enter on the search term you have typed in on google. This is what you will see if you are using KWE.
The blue line under the search box shows how many people search that phrase per month. So we weren’t quite right.
BUTscroll down a bit. On the right side of desktop keywords Everywhere gives you other suggestions.
See how much help this tool can be? It is currently $10 for 100,000 keyword searches. (that is THE CHEAPEST you will find)
You can also use Ubersuggest to find similar results but it does not do as good of a job to give alternative keywords I feel but it also only gives you three free searches a day. So you can get stuck really quickly.
The last reason why using Facebook to research what you are trying to sell is you will be able to gauge the popularity on social if you want to start with a social media account to get started.
While social media is not the most fun place to be it is going to be your fastest way to make sales.
You Need Eyeballs On Your Farm To Make Money
This can be a tough one for small farmers to accept. We tend to be on the private side and often don’t want people to know about us. We want to stay on our quite little piece of and not be bothered.
But you can’t get people to buy from you if they don’t know you exist. So this is your wake-up call if you are going to have a farm business that makes money you are going to be known. People have to know where you are what you sell and how to buy from you.
You won’t have a business otherwise.
If you aren’t ready for that you might need to find another way to make money.
So, there are really only a few key ways get eyes on your business.
You can use social media, create a website and get found in search, or collaborate with other people and get eyeballs on your business by talking to other people’s audiences that already exist.
The only other way so to start paying for ads and that takes A LOT of money and you want to make sure you have a good idea already in place before you start putting more money behind it.
Using Social Media For Your Farm Business
Using a social media account is going to be the best free way to help you get an idea of what people are going to be excited about and even start getting you customers without a lot of investment.
Facebook is probably going to be your best choice when it comes to making money from a small farm. The mindset of the consumer on Facebook is extremely different from that of the mindset of people on Instagram.
People on Facebook are a tad more down-to-earth and more aware of the farm lifestyle.
If you are selling livestock, those people are going to be more likely to make a purchase from you on Facebook.
The people on Instagram are going to be more unwelcoming at the idea of someone selling animals and really don’t have an idea of what farm life looks like. Are the right people there? Sure. But not to the level that they are on Facebook.
If you already have an account on Instagram or you feel more comfortable over there then go for it. Because you are going to have more luck (and actually do the work) on a platform you are more experienced with.
Start With One Social Platform
If you are starting on social make sure you start with one social media platform and build it up before adding another one to your plate. Don’t feel obligated to be on multiple platforms at once. The only dedicated social platform for the rabbitry is a Facebook page.
It’s going to be very difficult for you to keep up with both platforms and you will start to feel stressed out and worn thin. (Ask me how I know)
Using social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram are going to be the fastest way to get eyeballs on your small farm business. Creating a website takes longer to get found in google search (more on that later).
But only using social media on its own is not a good strategy for the long term. You are building a business on someone else’s land.
You don’t own the audience that you build up on that platform. If either of those companies decides to shut down tomorrow you don’t have a way to reach your customers.
So while this is a good starting point I highly recommend that you choose a second way of getting eyes on your farm business that will stand the test of time.
Create A Long Term Strategy By Creating A Website
The best way to have more control over your audience and not run the risk of losing them is either to create a website and/or an email list that will enable you to get in contact with your customers off of social media.
Having a website will enable you to be found on any search engine. It can be as cheap as expensive as you want to make it.
You can start for free (which is what I did for many years) but if you want to get serious and look like a professional the best thing to do is to start a self-hosted website. The main thing you would have to pay for is site hosting. Think of hosting like the drawer you put your silverware in. And your silverware is your website.
How To Set Up A Website
You do this by choosing the host, installing WordPress, and choosing a free or page theme. I currently use restored 316 as my go-to theme developer.
After your website is set up you need to stop and think about your customer. what do they want, what do they need to know, and what are you going to offer them.
Are you trying to sell a milk cow? Then you need to start creating resources (Blog Posts) around how to take care of a milk cow, the best breeds for milk cows, tools, and supplies they will need.
You also want to make sure to talk about the breed that you raise and sell in your posts where ever its sounds natural.
You don’t have to become a blogger and create content all the time. But creating these posts will help you get found in search and also show your potential buyers that you know your stuff. They will learn to trust you.
Once you have created these pieces of content you continue to make sure that they are as up-to-date as possible. These posts will almost work as a sales page for your milk cows because your goal is to make them want what you are offering.
Remember how we talked about figuring out what people are searching for? This is where you were going to use those keywords you found.
Why Billboards, Papers, And In-person Doesn’t Work
You might be thinking. Well, I don’t like this online stuff. Why do I need to do it?
Let me ask you a question. How do you find something you are looking to buy these days? Do you go to a billboard at the back of the feed store hoping to find that specific thing?
Nope. You go to google, craigslist, Facebook group, or some other online course.
Those are the old days. It’s up to you to show up where people are. I mean if you aren’t that serious about making money from your small farm then do it your way.
It makes me laugh when people would tell me to go to the chamber of commerce. They are about 5 years behind the times. Sure they know the basics of business but you won’t get huge help if you are trying to learn how things go online.
You Need To Present Your Product In The Most Profitable Way Possible
This is going to be extremely important to be able to get the most money for your produce or livestock as possible.
Take Clean Neat Pictures
If you’re raising animals DO NOT take a picture of your cow standing in the muddy a spot of the field with mud up to his hock.
If you are selling livestock take it out to a nice grassy field with a clean background and rinse any mud off its feet. Take clean clear pictures to post either on social media or on your website.
How You Word Things Is Important
Make sure you are wording what you sell in the most profitable way possible. it’s not some random item you are hoping to get out of your house.
You are selling valuable items and products. You need to convey that to your potential customers o you can sell it for a decent amount of money.
The most perfect example of this is selling eggs.
The next time you’re at the grocery store stop at the egg section and look at the prices and what is on the labels.
Large White Eggs are anywhere from $2 a dozen sometimes less depending on the time of year.
But if you are selling farm-fresh, free-range, cage-free, heritage breed chicken eggs Kroger will charge as much as $8 for a dozen.
Now, do you see the difference? If you just use the word farm fresh eggs, that’s not going to get you very far.
But if you use these words to do your marketing whether it’s online or you put a sign in your front yard the amount you can charge this vastly different.
Even if someone isn’t going to pay $8 you could still get closer to $5.
If none of those words are true for the eggs you produce don’t make it up.
But if those things are true and your chickens are free-range and cage-free that could enable you to charge more.
Do you see where I am going with this?
You have to present your product with the most value.
Who Is Buying Your Product
This is so vastly important and ties in with my last point of presenting it well. Who is buying your product? If you don’t know who you are targeting (who you would like to buy your farm-fresh free-range eggs) you won’t know what things they care about.
Personally, I don’t care if they are free-range or not because I know how much trouble a chicken can be if they are not under control.
But a city slicker who has a bleeding heart will pay top dollar because the chicken that laid their egg was free to run around. 🙄(big fat eye roll)
Going back to the keywords that you found. I want you to use those as well as think about the person who would be typing that into google search.
If you are providing a dairy cow for someone who already had land and lives out in the country?
Are you providing eggs for a city slicker who has no idea about chickens or how they are raised? Do they only care about organic fresh free-range and all the things?
For the most part, you are piecing together what you know about people. What do you see and hear out in public?
Take those keywords and what you know about your ideal buyer and use that information to market yourself online.
Now don’t freak out and think because you market to that one person you will only get those types of people. You will end up with far more people than just those types.
There will be overlap between that person and other people who will come to buy from you.
But you are creating content, talking to, and marketing to that one person will help you be clear about what you offer and attract more people.
You Need To Stand Out
You need to find ways to stand out. There are lots of people selling eggs but what can you do to be different.
This goes back to knowing who is buying your product, presenting it in a way that is true, and showing the most value possible.
If you are raising eggs can you buy cartons that have your farm logo on them? Will your customer appreciate that or will they not really care and think it’s just a waste?
Make sure they’re willing to pay for it before spending money on it.
There are some things like a nice-looking website that will cause people to think better of you. Things like having a website that looks nice. Better photos that are not fuzzy.
Or things that don’t cost you money at all but are just nice. Things like being willing to help people even if they have never bought from you. It doesn’t hurt you to ask a question.
If you are raising livestock are you able to create a beginner’s guide that you print out and give to them when they come and pick up their animal?
Are you able to use your social platform to take them on a behind-the-scenes journey so they can feel connected to you, your family, and your farm?
Start With One Incomestream First
Whatever you choose to raise make sure you start with 1 income stream first before trying to build out another one.
You have to be so good at the 1 income stream first that it almost runs on its own or you do it by 2nd nature.
Trying to do too many at once will cause you to get wond down and not feel comfortable with the income you’re building you may even have a few goof-ups along the way because you couldn’t keep up with it all.
It’s hard to be patent but it could severely damage your reputation. Essentially you are building a brand. Any experience that people have with you will cause you to be able to gain good word of mouth or bad.
I think you know which one you’re going for.
Income Ideas To Make Extra Money On Your Small Farm
Here are some ways you could make money on your small farm.
Income Ideas For Gardeners
These income ideas are for those who have a garden. You don’t need to have a big one. Even if you have a few pots on your patio you could do a lot with them.
- Plant extra in your garden and sell fresh produce. (especially if you are in the city and can have a patio garden City people eat that stuff up no offense)
- Start extra seedlings in the spring and sell them as mature plants. – Here are 100 Pcs 4″ Plastic Plants Nursery Pot from Amazon
- Split your overgrown plants and sell them. These same posts will also work well for that. 100 Pcs 4″ Plastic Plants Nursery Pot from Amazon
- Heirloom seeds at the end of the season.
- Sell your own dried herb blends, tea/tincture blends, dip mixes, teas or salves. – Food Dehydrator Machine – This one has temperature control and a timer.
Income Ideas For People With Chickens
- Raise chickens for eggs and sell the extras. – Selling eggs is a good way to make money that fits alongside what you are likely already doing. Chickens are relatively easy to care for, and you can sell eggs to people you know. When eggs are also high in demand they can be a profitable product to sell. However, in this scenario be willing to pivot and make a change if the prices of eggs go down to where you aren’t making a profit and it’s worth cutting back enough to just keep your family in eggs.
- Raise broilers for meat. (read this post to learn now.)
- Sell the old chickens as stewing hens.
- If you have a rooster, fertilized eggs for hatching. (This will work best and you will make more if you can have one rooster to the same breed of hens so you know what breed the chicks will be).
- Raise chickens to laying age and sell them as layers. (Personally, I would start selling them at 6-12 weeks old. If you hold on to them any longer then that and you will start eating into your profit very quickly).
Other LIvestock Income Ideas
Offer breeding services – for animals that taking the female to the sire works well for. Some animals like rabbits just don’t do well when taking them to other people’s rabbitry to breed. Sometimes they do but not always.
Raise extra meat and sell it. – This is a good idea if you are already raising something for your family. Why not raise a bit more and sell off what you don’t need. The key to not running yourself into the ground is to find income streams that fit right in with what you already do.
- Start a herd share.
- Raise bottle babies and sell tame livestock.
- Rented out your pasture.
- Raised heifers to sell as halter-trained family milk cows.
- Raised other livestock to butcher.
Other Random Ways To Make Money Farming
- Flip items you find at yard sales or second-hand. – Just make sure you choose more valuable items and don’t try to flip things you can’t get much money for. IE selling clothing at yard sales is not an efficient way to make extra money. Find the random item that could be worth more if sold on eBay or Mercari.
- Raise worms, and sell their “poo” or castings. It is the dirt that they have processed as fertilizer. You can also sell extras for composting or warms as bait.
- Raise fish, such as tilapia or catfish.
- Grow mushroom logs and sell homegrown mushrooms.
- Allow photographers to use parts of your property for photoshoots.
- Have a few different livestock options for people to rent the animals for photoshoots. (chicks and bunnies at Easter time and so on)
- Rent out farm space for weddings, receptions, etc
- Teach classes. (In-person or online)
- Take pre-orders for Holiday pies, cakes, and candies, people can pick them up at your home.
- Make and sell preserves.
- Beekeeping and sell the honey and beeswax.
- If you have a lot of trees, cut and sell firewood.
- Make and sell compost using your animal’s manure.
- Sell wool/fiber from animals such as sheep, alpacas, angora goats, angora rabbits…
- Cut down trees for people or offer to take away the wood for payment.
- House sit for someone. If you have experience with animals other then dogs this is gold.
- Animal training.
The ways for you to make money farming are endless. Each of these income streams has its own benefits and drawbacks. You have to do your research and figure out what kind of life you truly want to have.
Farming Is Hard Work
I don’t want to scare you but you need to go into farming for a profit with open eyes. If you have dreams of making lots of money fast this is not the path to go.
When you first start out you will be making small amounts of money here and there. It will be a side-hustle for quite a while.
It’s all well and good to make money farming vegetables and raising animals, but there is a lot of hard work that goes into it. Farming is not as easy as some people think; in fact, it can be quite challenging.
There are many things to consider when planting crops or raising livestock, such as the weather, pests, and diseases. And then there is the constant physical labor involved in caring for plants and animals. Farming is definitely not a job for the faint of heart!
YOu can do it if you have the determination. But be aware you are going to run into problems.
DO NOT spend money you can’t afford to lose. And for the love of all things farming do not go into debt. Pay for everything with cash.
There are many ways to make decent money farming. While some of these methods may be more traditional, others are more innovative. In order to have a good chance at profitable farming, you need to keep up with the way the world is going.
Get creative and do something different than everyone else.
No matter which way you choose to go, it is important to remember that farming is a business and should be treated as such. By following these tips, you can make money farming and have a successful business.
Is your backyard farm costing way more than you thought?
If you are tired of your backyard farm literally eating away at all your extra cash, check out the Productive and Profitable Backyard Farmer’s Club.
Learn how to turn your money-sucking hobby into a profitable business with my monthly lessons that ONLY take you 45 minutes a month to listen to and implement.