Make Money Homesteading
No matter how small your plot of land, there are tons of ways to make money with it. In fact, one day it may be your only source of income, so it’s important to start learning to make money with it now! We may experience an economic crash, you may lose your job… anything can happen. Learning to make money homesteading is essential!
We all know you can sell produce from your homestead. That’s a given. But farmers markets are overloaded with people selling things like tomatoes, pole beans, corn, and squash. The money is in selling things that are in high demand and low supply.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to earn money with a homestead of any size:
Farm fresh, free range eggs are in high demand and command top dollar. Chickens are relatively easy to raise, inexpensive to get started with, and actually make fun pets.
Many varieties can lay 250-300 eggs in a single year, although production will gradually decline as the chicken ages. This means one chicken, laying just 240 eggs per year (a little below average), can lay 20 dozen eggs. At $5 per dozen, that’s $100 per year from a single chicken. If you feed your chickens table scraps and allow them to forage for protein free range, their upkeep costs will be minimal.
A flock of just 10 chickens could potentially bring you $1,000 per year in income!
Goat milk is in high demand, especially fresh goat milk. You can also make goat cheese, which is popular among chefs and foodies, and sell that. Just remember that selling raw milk is illegal in many areas. You may have to pasteurize the milk before you sell it, or use one of the creative methods to get around it such as “goat sharing” in which other people pay to be a part “owner” of your goats, or selling the milk as food for livestock. No one says the buyer HAS to use it to feed livestock, but you’d be selling it on that premise. Be sure to know your local laws well.
Goat meat is in especially high demand in areas with high Hispanic populations, and it’s very hard to find. You can make good money selling goat meat to those who miss the flavor from home, as well as to a growing number of chefs who are looking to serve unusual meats in their restaurants.
Mushrooms, especially varieties that are difficult to find in stores, are in especially high demand. Raising mushrooms, or foraging for wild mushrooms, can bring in great income from chefs and foodies, but you must be certain you know which varieties you’ve picked or you could end up poisoning someone! Morels are in especially high demand, but many others such as hen-of-the-woods, chanterelle, cremini, oyster, enoki, and porcini are also sought after.
Rent Garden Plots
Because so many people want to have their own garden and so few people have the land to do it, renting small plots of land or raised beds can bring in a lot of money. People will happily pay $20 to $50 per year to rent a small plot of land, as they can easily grow more than that in produce in a year.
Rent Pasture/Barn Space
Many people who own horses don’t have land of their own on which to graze them, or a barn in which to shelter them. You can rent out your pasture and barn space to horse owners from $100-$300 per month, depending on your location, and you could even charge extra if they want you to care for the horse (feeding, watering, brushing, etc.)
Florists often have a hard time getting their hands on certain types of flowers, and because flowers are so perishable, they need a constant supply. If you love flowers, consider contacting local florists and asking what types of flowers are most in demand and growing them to supply those shops.
Herbs are… well, let’s face it… they’re crazy expensive. A tiny container of fresh sage or fresh basil in the grocery store can cost $2-$5, and that’s barely enough for one recipe. They’re also difficult to find. Often, my local store is completely out of fresh basil, and before I started growing it, I’d have to drive all over town looking for it if we were craving pesto or Caprese salad. Fresh herbs are always in demand, and restaurants will even pay a premium for them.
It’s especially profitable to sell herbs that are in high demand and low supply. Sage, for example, is extremely popular, especially around the holidays, but it’s difficult to find it fresh.
It’s actually easier and cheaper than you probably think to start an apiary and make your own honey. You can even get special hives that allow you to literally pour honey from a tap instead of having to take all those frames out and collect honey by hand.
Local honey has a strong demand all over the country, and you can make as much as $10 per pint for certain varieties!
If you don’t want to sell the eggs, milk, and meat you get from your animals, you can sell their offspring. Many would-be farmers want to buy some chickens or goats to raise themselves and have trouble doing so. You can sell your animals to other farmers to make even more money.
Yep, people buy manure. They especially love to buy manure from horses, cows, chickens, and rabbits, as these all make excellent garden fertilizer!
Wool is another product that is difficult to find these days, as not nearly as many people are raising sheep. A lot of people would love to spin their own wool into yarn for their craft projects, but just can’t find it. Or they want real wool yarn already spun into yarn.
As a bonus, lamb is also in very high demand, especially from chefs and foodies. Menus in almost all high end restaurants feature dishes like lamb chops, but it’s not easy to find, especially if the restaurant prefers to serve local product.
Worms are very easy to raise, require very little care other than kitchen scraps and bedding, and actually sell quite well. You can raise worms to sell to farmers for composting or gardening, or to fishermen who want to use them as bait to catch fish! You can raise thousands of worms in a very small space! And remember, there are many types of worms that have different uses, so you can raise multiple types for maximum profitability.
If you have male animals, you can hire them out as studs to other farmers. Horses, cows, goats, sheep, roosters… just about any type of farm animal is viable. You’ll likely need a purebred animal, though, as farmers usually want to keep their bloodlines pure.
If you have a lot of wooded land, you can sell firewood. You’ll need to cut it, stack it, and age it for at least a few months before you sell it, but people will gladly shell out $100 or more for a cord of wood, especially in the fall and winter. You can also sell specific types of wood all year long to people who want it for smoking and barbecuing. (Hickory, apple, cherry, etc.)
Pumpkins sell very well in the fall, and not just for Halloween. Pumpkin has surged in demand in the past few years because of a rise in popularity as an ingredient in soups, breads, muffins, and many other recipes, and because it’s been discovered that many brands of canned pumpkin aren’t actually the type of pumpkin people thought it was and they want their own fresh pumpkin.
If you have plenty of land, you can raise Christmas trees to sell locally. If you start a Christmas tree farm and allow people to cut their own trees, you’ll have loyal families who come to you year after year as part of a family tradition. Trees can sell for as much as $50 to $100 depending upon size, and even smaller trees sell for $20-$30.
Want More Ideas?
Here are a few books that are absolutely fantastic when it comes to teaching you how to make money with your homestead!
How To Make Money Homesteading by Tim Young
You Can Farm by Joel Salatin
Pastured Poultry Profits by Joel Salatin