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Making $1K of farm income on our 10 acres -- brainstorming different revenue streams

 
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We are about to close on our dream property, a 10 acre homestead. One of us is keeping our day job, but for tax and zoning purposes we need to gross at least $1k/year from the property, actively using 5 acres for agriculture.

Currently, 7.5 acres are being used for Christmas trees but the owners cut them all down right before putting the property on the market. So that acreage is now cleared land. There is a barn and stable, and about 2 acres of fenced pasture.

We already keep bees and chickens, so scaling those up is our first idea, since $1k in eggs, honey, baby chicks, seems possible. We don’t have much experience growing vegetables or other plants on a large scale.

We could also continue growing the Christmas trees - currently the land is rented to a farmer and we could continue to do that. We likely will do this to start.

Curious as to your brainstorms and ideas!
 
pollinator
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Location: 4b
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Starting a small plant nursery and selling rooted cuttings of trees and bushes,  and flowers and vegetables grown from seed is an quick easy way to make the kind of money you're talking about.  Much more than that is possible if you enjoy it and work at it.
 
master steward
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Hi Becca, welcome to Permies!  One way to make more than $1K from your farm is to look into the USDA's Conservation Stewardship Program.  Here's a post about it: Getting Paid to Homestead

If you need the $1K to be actual income from farm work, you can do it a number of ways.  Some of it depends on your local market.  What's the going price for organic eggs in your area?  The math scales up pretty easy to see how many chickens you'd need to make that much in eggs.  Same for honey.  I'd imagine that earning hundreds of dollars from chicks would be harder.  Unless you know something about breeding chickens it may be hard to sell your chicks.  I'm sure this is highly market dependent.

You could make compost and sell it.  

Starting a nursery would be awesome.  Once you have a row of raspberries, it's easy to harvest 20-80 baby raspberries a year to pot up and sell for $4 ea.  Learn how to do cutting propagation and get some good permaculture or niche plants started as parent stock and you're off to the races.  I'm starting hardy kiwi, highbush cranberries and aronia from cuttings this spring.  So far it's working out.  I have 5 little 6" pots with 6-8 cuttings in each.  The aronia (15 of the cuttings) would fetch $10-15 as bare root saplings so I'm saving $150-225 by starting them myself for my food forest.  All that in a 3 square foot area.

Good luck!
 
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Location: Independence, KY Zone 6A
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I'm not sure where you live but check into being a tree farm. Usually you do not need to earn an income from it to maintain the status since it can take 10-30 years to get a crop.

Look into getting a nursery license then grow easy to split plants like bulbs, cane fruit and suckering plants.

For your first year grow hay or straw. Find someone with the equipment to bale it and sell it, you might be able to sell it to the person that cuts it. They charge you $700 to do the work you sell them everything for $1000 they just purchased 5ac of hay for $300.
 
pollinator
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If nothing else, keep renting the land to the farmer until you have already scaled/maximized what you can do on the remaining acreage (or at least until you have the full plan/materials ready for the rented plot) - rental income is still good income!
 
gardener
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Might want to check to see what if any chemicals the farmer is bringing in.
Maybe buy some young pigs,  raise them
to slaughter weight?
Selling chicks, pullets and layers could be more profitable than eggs, kind of like selling bare root trees,balled trees or 3 year old fruiting trees,  instead of selling tree seed.
OTOH, chicks do eat more than saplings...

I'm working on building an areoponic/hydroponic style cloner to use on food producing hardwood tree clippings.
There are other cheaper,  easier methods,but none seem to be faster.



 
pollinator
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Location: Monticello Florida zone 8a
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Mike Jay wrote:

If you need the $1K to be actual income from farm work, you can do it a number of ways.  Some of it depends on your local market.  What's the going price for organic eggs in your area?  The math scales up pretty easy to see how many chickens you'd need to make that much in eggs.  Same for honey.  I'd imagine that earning hundreds of dollars from chicks would be harder.  Unless you know something about breeding chickens it may be hard to sell your chicks.  I'm sure this is highly market dependent.

You could make compost and sell it.  

Good luck!



Sell eggs by making compost to feed chickens! Here's how

https://abundantpermaculture.com/i-cut-my-chicken-feed-bill-100/
And don't neglect marketing as it's extremely important.
Best of luck, Huxley
 
pollinator
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Are there maple trees on your land? You could look into tapping and getting some maple syrup to sell at a farmer's market...seems like it fetches a pretty good price ($10-20 a pint?) and might be a worthy effort to help take a chunk out of the $1000 goal.
 
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Short term pullets are likely the easiest way to get your number with less risk in the form of capital outlay. With that much space and previous business I feel like both trees and trying to get a hothouse built are a good idea.

Pullets seem good because you have some chickens, can likely build enough to make their care very easy and pullets are easier to sell at a higher margin than eggs.
 
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