There are varying opinions on making money from a small homestead. I have heard a lot of people ask this question, as we did in the beginning, “Can you make money from a homestead?”
For our family, we don't make a profit with our homestead. We call our place a hobby farm because that is exactly what it is to us, a hobby. We would love to earn our livelihood by using our land and bringing in income from different farming sources, but that isn't feasible for us at the moment. I dream of roadside vegetable stands and people gathered around five deep at our farmers' market table. However, that is just a dream right now. We spend much more than we earn on our farm and we are thankful that we have outside income that sustains our hobby. The one benefit that a small hobby farm or homestead can offer is self-reliance.
I know there are farms that do make a profit and earn their keep by using their land and marketing their products. I am in awe of their abilities and the way they make their dreams come true. Farming is hard work and it's not for the meek. It's ever changing and you have to go with the flow. You get dirty and spend a lot of time around bugs and animal poop. This lifestyle may not be for everyone. Although, for us, it's the perfect life.
The best way to start earning money from your homestead is to create a plan. You have to know how to utilize your land and how much money you need to earn. If you are like us, making a few dollars helps offset the cost of feed and it is exhilarating. I get very excited when I make a couple of dollars and it makes me feel proud of my hard work. You may need to earn a living or are looking to supplement retirement or even have aspirations of taking over the farming world. I know exactly how that feels, I feel that way too when I'm watching my chickens and daydreaming about our farm. You have to have a plan and set goals to works toward, and then you know where you are headed and what you need to do to earn money.
When considering where you can earn money, you need to take inventory of what you have and how you can make what you have work for you.
Make Money From Your Barn
You can sell fertile hatching eggs on Ebay or to local people in your area. I just bought and hatched chicks from eggs that I got from Ebay.
You can hatch your own fertile eggs with an incubator and sell chicks to local people. You will need a rooster to fertilize the eggs and know that most people want specific breeds of chickens.
You can sell eggs to people wanting to buy fresh eggs. You will want to make sure you aren't pricing yourself out of the market, selling them for much more than people can buy in the store. Duck eggs are a great option, they aren't as easily accessible in stores.
You can sell offspring from larger livestock such as calves, piglets, goats and sheep. When people are looking to buy a farm animal, they are generally looking to purchase a baby or young animal.
You can raise and sell rabbits. Rabbits are a great meat source, and they breed well and you end up with a lot of young rabbits to sell to people who are looking for a meat source.
You can make extra compost to sell to people who are looking for quality compost for their gardens. Let's face it, we definitely have a lot of manure from our animals to work into compost.
You can raise worms to sell for bait and composting. Bait worms are a great way to make extra money if you live near a lake or fishing area. Adding red wigglers to compost can really make a huge difference in composting and people are learning more and more about them.
You can sell manure to gardeners. Of course, I just mentioned that regarding composting, but some people just want straight manure, and if you have goats, rabbits, horses and other animals that create an excess, you will have plenty to sell.
You can offer stud services from your male animals. Not everyone wants to own a buck, ram or bull but may want to breed their animals. You can offer your male animals as a stud service and, if they are registered or show quality, you can earn decent money from your stud services.
You can raise fish such as tilapia or catfish in large tanks. Aquaponics is becoming more well-known and there are more people raising fish in tanks to help fertilize their gardens and create another meat source for their farms.
Make Money With Your Talent Or Skill
You can create a small niche business that can earn you extra money, by using your talents and skills. If you know how to make soap from goats milk or can knit and crochet, you can use those skills to make a little money.
You can start an Etsy shop on the Internet and sell your handmade items.
If you quilt, crochet or knit you can sell your handmade items on consignment or at local festivals.
You can sell items crafters want for their projects, such as feathers, willow branches, dried grape vines or dried flowers from your garden.
You can sell items you make from herbs in your garden. You can make and sell items such as essential oils, or infused vinegar and olive oil using your garden herbs. You can use your home grown herbs to sell herbal teas.
Make Money From Your Garden
You can grow a little extra produce when planting your garden, and you have enough to sell at farmers' markets or to sell from your own farm.
You can sell cut flowers during the summer season. Creating a cut flower garden to cut, bunch and sell flowers is a fun way to make a little extra money at farmers' markets.
You can harvest seeds from your plants. People are always in search of quality heirloom seeds. You can use extra seedlings and plants that don't get planted in your garden as a source of extra money. People like buying healthy seedlings and transplants for their own landscape gardens and vegetable garden.
You can raise bees and harvest the honey for sale. I know that quality honey is a true find and people love to buy it fresh.
You Can Make Money Other Ways To From Your Homestead
You can make money from your kitchen. If you like to bake and cook you can use your own berries and fruits from your trees to sell baked goods and jams and jellies.
You can sell unique vegetables or pasture-raised pork and chicken to local chefs and restaurants that want specialty items. A lot of chefs want to show off their culinary skills using local foods from the farm to the table.
You can plan and prepare farm-to-table dinners and invite locals who can enjoy visiting your farm and have a meal made with your homegrown farm fresh foods.
You can teach classes on the farm. You may have locals who want to take a cheese-making class or learn canning or take a jelly-making class. If you make soap or lotions, you can teach others to make soap or lotions too. Others may be interested in learning about raising animals or butchering their own animals before they do it on their own.
You can earn money by renting out space on your homestead. If you have extra pastures, you can rent out pasture space to someone who needs room for a horse.
As you can see there are a lot of ways to earn money from your homestead. Will you be able to earn a living if you try some of these avenues? That is up to you and your area and the amount of work you want to invest in your homestead. It's a wonderful idea and a dream that we have, but reality is that we have jobs that take away from our time on the homestead and for us, working toward being sustainable on our own is what our focus is at the moment. Who knows what we will be able to do as we get closer to retirement? Living our dream is what is important to us and we are doing that each and every day here on the Pierce Ponderosa.