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Small Farming, Big Profits: The Top 16 Profitable Crops for Small Farms

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Care to take a guess? What types of crops do you think yield the highest profits for small farms? If you’re limited by space or time, consider growing high-value crops to maximize your small farm’s output.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), eighty-eight percent of farms in the United States are classified as small farms. However, this designation is not based on size alone.

Instead, these farms are defined as such if the operator works part-time, generates an annual gross income below $349,000 per year, or is retired. Despite their small size, these farms can fulfill a significant need and generate considerable profits by growing specialty crops like bamboo, lavender, and garlic, which require little acreage.

Specialty crops provide an ideal way to turn your favorite hobby into a rewarding business. These crops are not widely cultivated but are in high demand and can significantly boost your earnings.

Whether it’s lavender, bamboo, bonsai, Japanese maple, or gourmet garlic, there is a niche crop to suit every grower. Gardeners can earn up to $60,000 per acre by growing these profitable crops.

In this article, we’ll guide you through a list of the most profitable crops to grow and provide some basic questions to consider. All specialty crops listed can produce impressive profits from a small plot of land and can be grown by anyone with basic gardening skills.

You can successfully cultivate any profitable crops with just a few hours of work each week and several hundred dollars invested in seeds, seedlings, and supplies.

Contemplating Crops for Small Farms

As a seasoned farming and gardening expert, there is no denying the many lucrative crops you can cultivate on your small farm. However, selecting the right crop for your unique situation goes beyond considering obvious factors like climate and soil.

Given that small farms are typically diverse enterprises run by a small team of individuals, choosing crops well-suited to your available space, market, and time input is essential. When deciding on a new crop to cultivate, you must ask yourself pertinent questions, including:

What is the cash value per kilogram of the product?

Although cash value isn’t the only factor to consider, it’s worth noting that crops with higher selling prices require less space to make the same income as lower-value crops. However, other considerations must also be carefully evaluated, such as production costs, time input, and any investments required.

Selling your produce

Additionally, you should consider the logistics of selling your produce. You’ll likely get the highest prices if you sell directly to customers or create value-added products. However, marketing and sales take time and effort, and beyond a particular scale, it’s difficult to sell all of your produce at the highest price in the time you have available alongside growing.

As such, scaling up may require selling at least part of your products to wholesalers at a lower price in exchange for increased volume and ease of sale.

The growing cycle

Furthermore, you should consider the growing cycle, specifically how quickly the crop matures. Crops that reach maturity more often throughout the year are preferred, although faster-growing crops require more attention and time input.

Depending on your situation, slower-growing crops that are easier to maintain may be a better fit. Lastly, it’s worth considering crop yield, focusing on value rather than weight. For example, while microgreens may have lower weight yields than potatoes, they are worth more per pound, making them a better investment for your small farm.

What can you expect for yields?

When selecting a crop, it is essential to consider its yield per unit of land. Whether working with limited space or an expansive farm, a high-yielding crop will ultimately increase your profit margins.

However, it’s important to note that yield should be evaluated based on value, not solely on weight. For instance, microgreens may yield less weight than potatoes, but their worth is significantly higher.

Can you utilize vertical space efficiently?

Optimizing the use of your land is critical when working with limited space. Some crops can be grown vertically, such as mushrooms and microgreens, utilizing shelves and allowing you to maximize output per square foot or acre. Conversely, cultivating crops that can only grow at a single level might not efficiently use your resources.

How labor-intensive is the crop?

The labor in cultivating a crop is a significant factor in determining its profitability. Some crops may have a high selling price, but the labor input required to produce them may offset the profit margins.

For example, the production of saffron involves harvesting the stamens from 75,000 plants to produce one pound of dried saffron. Additionally, matching the available time input to the crop’s needs is essential to ensure the efficient use of resources.

What is your income goal?

Ultimately, your desired income from the farm should dictate how much you need to produce, impacting the selling strategy, investment, and time input required.

Taking a step back to consider your end goal will ensure that your farming efforts are aligned with your financial objectives. Be sure to check out our YouTube channel, where we discuss our insights into the most profitable crops and the many factors that affect their profitability.

The Top 16 Profitable Crops for Small Farms

As you contemplate your options, let us delve into some of the most lucrative crops on the planet that are ideal for small-scale farming operations. Here, we will showcase the cream of the crop in terms of cash crops that promise to bring in sizeable profits.

Specialty Mushrooms

Specialty mushrooms, such as the popular oyster variety, are a fantastic option for small-scale farmers looking to profit. These fungi are easy to cultivate, thriving indoors and out, and there is a high demand for them in the market.

In fact, according to the USDA, specialty mushrooms generated over $106 million in sales during the 2017-2018 crop season.

What makes mushrooms such an attractive crop for growers with limited space is their impressive yield per square foot. For instance, oyster mushrooms can produce up to 25 pounds of product in just one square foot of growing space each year. That means a 10-by-10-foot area could generate up to $17,500 in sales at $7 per pound.

While mushrooms might not immediately come to mind as a top cash crop, they can be surprisingly lucrative. Oyster mushrooms, in particular, can be grown in as little as five weeks and fetch between $10 and $20 per pound.

Plus, mushrooms are an excellent option for urban farmers or anyone with limited space since they can be grown indoors. Vertical growing techniques using hanging bags can help maximize space and increase yields.

Specialty Mushrooms
Photo: Cornell Small Farms

Although starting a mushroom operation can be inexpensive, proper lighting and temperature control are essential when growing indoors. If cultivating outdoors, fresh-cut tree logs are necessary for developing the spores. The ideal time of year to plant mushrooms is spring or fall, and growers should mimic the conditions in shaded forests.

While the initial preparation of mushroom colonies can be labor-intensive, once established, they require minimal maintenance as long as they have the correct light, moisture, and environment.

Local growers have a leg up over more extensive commercial operations since mushrooms are delicate and difficult to ship. Direct sales to chefs and restaurants or at farmers’ markets are effective distribution channels, and excess products can be dried and sold at a lower price point.

The most profitable mushrooms for small-scale growers are those destined for the supplement or health field, such as shiitake, lion’s mane, and maitake. Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are excellent options since they require little growing space or equipment.

With their ease of cultivation and high demand, specialty mushrooms are a promising opportunity for small farmers to generate income.

Microgreens

Microgreens are the perfect follow-up to mushrooms, as they share many similarities. Both are highly profitable crops in terms of yield per square foot. What makes microgreens stand out, however, is their scalability.

With just a few trays of microgreens in a spare room or basement, you can quickly generate several hundred dollars in extra income each month. From seed to harvest, microgreens only take 2 to 3 weeks and can fetch prices exceeding $15 per pound.

As you expand your operation, you’ll need to use shelving to grow your microgreens, allowing up to four rows of trays to be stacked under fluorescent lighting. This enables you to produce up to $10,000 in microgreens monthly in an average basement or spare bedroom.

Microgreens are commonly grown in trays filled with soil or hydroponically. Like mushrooms, microgreens must be sold fresh and have a short shelf life. To sell them, you can approach local chefs and grocery stores or sell them at farmer’s markets.

Additionally, you can sell any excess microgreens to wholesalers. Almost any vegetable or herb can be grown as a microgreen, and many different types are commonly grown today.

microgreens
Photo: INTEGRIS Health

First, it’s best to stick with familiar varieties like sunflower, radish, and pea shoots. These are easy to grow and marketable since people are already familiar with them. Microgreens are among the most profitable vegetables due to their high yield per square foot and high selling price.

Ginseng

Ginseng, a slow-growing medicinal root, has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Two main types of ginseng are cultivated: Panax ginseng, commonly known as Korean ginseng, and Panax quinquefolius, American ginseng.

Although there is limited clinical evidence to prove the health benefits of ginseng, preliminary studies have shown that it can positively affect memory, menopause symptoms, and fatigue. Besides its medicinal properties, ginseng has culinary uses in Asian cuisine and is included in herbal teas and energy drinks.

Growing ginseng is more of a long-term investment, as it takes six years after planting before mature ginseng roots can be harvested. However, growers can sell ginseng seeds and younger “rootlets” while waiting for their main crop to mature.

Over six years, ginseng growers can earn as much as $200,000 per acre when considering roots, rootlets, and seeds. Growing ginseng on a large scale is an intensive process that requires using polypropylene shade cloth, which is a significant risk.

However, ginseng can be grown on a small scale under forest cover for little to no cost. Wild ginseng, much more medicinally potent than crops grown in open fields, is becoming increasingly rare, leading to a large market for “wild-simulated” ginseng planted in naturally occurring forests.

Ginseng
Photo: healthline

Ginseng could be a valuable addition to your forests if you’re growing trees on your farm for firewood, lumber, or any other reason. Wild-simulated ginseng roots sell for $300 to $600 per pound.

Lavender

Lavender, a flower native to countries around the Mediterranean Sea, can bring in profits for small-scale farmers. Although it thrives in warm climates, lavender can survive in colder regions like the Midwest. Its versatility allows it to be sold in multiple ways, making it an excellent option for small farm operators.

Lavender can be sold as-is or processed into essential oils, body lotions, and soaps, each with significant profit potential. The lavender oil market alone is expected to increase to $124.2 million by 2024.

According to the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), common lavender can produce 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of buds per acre, equating to anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000 in revenue. When distilled into essential oils, revenue can increase to $6,804 and $27,216 per acre.

Lavender can be sold in bundles, made into lavender oil, or dried for flower arrangements and wreaths. Additionally, it can be used to make various value-added goods like sachets, herbal pillows, and others, which are profitable and in high demand among lavender lovers.
Growing lavender is an excellent option for both large and small-scale growers.

As a perennial herb, lavender can live for up to 15 years in the ground, and new plants can be grown quickly from cuttings, providing more growing space or plants for sale at no additional cost. The plant also attracts beneficial insects and repels pests like mosquitoes, moths, ticks, fleas, and flies.

Lavender
Photo: The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Lavender is easy to grow, as long as it’s provided with well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight, and is quite disease-resistant. Most types of lavender are hardy in zones 5 to 9.
Lavender is a highly versatile crop, and its flowers can be sold fresh or dried to florists, used for floral arrangements or wreaths, or sold directly to crafters or craft supply shops.

The dried flowers can also be made into lavender oil, a common ingredient in aromatherapy and skincare products like soaps, lotions, herbal pillows, and sachets. The market for lavender products is growing, and businesses like Purple Haze Lavender Farm gross more than $1 million per year from their various lavender products grown on just eight acres of land.

Selling dried bouquets of lavender is an easy option, requiring minimal investment into equipment, labor, or time. One acre of lavender plants can produce about 12,000 bouquets annually, selling for $10 or more each. Just tie the flower stems into bunches and hang them in a well-ventilated area for at least a week, and they’re ready for market.

Lavender plants require well-drained soil but can grow in a wide variety of different climates. Fertilizer and irrigation aren’t usually needed, and lavender plants are easily propagated in a greenhouse by cuttings.

Although they won’t flower until their second year, they’ll continue to grow back and flower for ten years or more. Fast-growing, disease-resistant lavender plants are profitable for small farm owners.

The market for lavender is growing, and the crop’s versatility and ease of growth make it an excellent option for small farm owners looking to increase profits. Whether sold fresh, dried, or processed into essential oils and other value-added products, lavender’s popularity and demand continue to grow, making it a profitable and attractive option for small-scale farmers.

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Saffron

Saffron, an exquisite culinary herb with a floral honey flavor, commands a princely sum of $2500 per pound, making it the most expensive legal crop in the world. What makes it so precious? Saffron is extracted from the stigmas of crocus flowers, with roughly 75,000 blooms required to yield a pound of dried saffron.

However, cultivating this sought-after herb is not a difficult task. A quarter acre of land can produce the requisite crocus flowers to create a lucrative business opportunity. Although saffron thrives best in dry Californian climates, it can be grown in polytunnels or greenhouses in other regions.

To cultivate saffron, one must plant corms, the fleshy tuberous roots of the plant, since crocus flowers cannot be grown from seeds. Over time, these corms divide, allowing for expanding your farm or selling your surplus to other farmers.

The harvest process, however, is labor-intensive and requires a delicate touch to pick each flower as it blooms and extracts its three precious blossoms. Remember that 150 blossoms are needed to produce a mere gram of dried saffron, accounting for the herb’s high cost.

Saffron
Photo: healthline

Despite its high selling price, the main reason why saffron is typically grown in countries with lower wages, such as Iran, is due to the high labor cost. Nevertheless, with its unique flavor and soaring demand, cultivating this luxurious herb is tempting for farmers and gardeners alike.

Garlic

Garlic, the humble yet exquisite crop, is a rewarding endeavor for small-scale growers due to its unwavering dependability and effortless cultivation process. Its exceptional hardiness enables it to flourish in various weather and soil conditions, making it a go-to choice for beginners. As a result, it has earned the moniker “the mortgage lifter” from seasoned growers.

The financial potential of gourmet garlic is nothing to scoff at; it can yield up to $10 per square foot, producing thousands of dollars from a modest patch. Its natural antibacterial and antifungal properties make it an organic gardener’s dream, as it has minimal pests and diseases.

The demand for garlic has skyrocketed recently, with over 500 million pounds sold at wholesale domestically in 2017, fetching an average of $1.50 per pound. The garlic harvest takes place in the summer, but it only needs minimal care after planting it in the fall, requiring a couple of weekly watering sessions once sprouts appear.

Despite the initial expenses of planting, garlic can generate vast profits. For instance, with a spicy flavor, a hard neck variety called Music garlic costs roughly $18,000 per acre to plant 1,000 pounds.

However, it can produce as much as $100,000 per acre, amounting to a profit of $82,000. Additionally, bulbs can be reserved for the next crop, reducing the expense of replenishing the crop.

Gourmet garlic comes in various types, including Porcelain, Purple stripes, and Rocambole, with Elephant garlic being a well-known variety due to its colossal bulbs. The more expensive gourmet garlic types, valued for their unique flavors, cost approximately $12 per pound, resulting in a highly profitable crop.

For more information, check out our article on Tips for Growing Your Own Garlic at Home!

Landscaping Trees & Shrubs

For small-scale growers, landscaping trees and shrubs can be an excellent and profitable crop. Their compact size allows many pots to be placed in a small space, with individual plants in 5-gallon pots fetching prices as high as $100.

However, success depends on growing what sells, which can be determined by visiting local garden centers, staying informed of industry trends through nursery trade magazines, and growing unique, rare, and profitable varieties.

One profitable niche is the cultivation of native plants, as the demand for wildflowers, grasses, trees, and shrubs indigenous to a particular region continues to rise.

Growing native fruit and nut trees such as shellbark hickory, chinquapin, and chokeberry is another profitable market, as is the production of tabletop Christmas trees that are becoming increasingly popular among apartment dwellers.

Growing Christmas trees from conifers like balsam fir, Douglas fir, and blue spruce is a substantial investment that takes years to realize profits. It takes six to eight years for saplings to mature and generate income.

However, once the trees are ready to sell, the profit margins are enormous, with an average price of $73 per tree and around 1,500 trees grown per acre. Despite the initial cost of purchasing saplings, the return on investment is worth the wait, with margins reaching 200 percent or more.

Once established, conifers create multiple seedlings for future crops, making them a highly lucrative choice for growers. With some patience and investment, cultivating trees and shrubs can provide year-round profits for growers, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to start a profitable gardening business.

Heirloom tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are an excellent choice if you’re seeking a lucrative crop to cultivate in your garden. Easily distinguishable by their unique shape, color, and texture, these tomatoes are prized by consumers for their exceptional flavor that far surpasses that of their store-bought counterparts.

With the potential to earn up to $100 per plant, heirloom tomatoes are a profitable option for market growers as they continue gaining popularity among many customers. As demand for heirlooms increases, prices rise, creating a lucrative opportunity for growers to command premium prices.

One of the advantages of growing heirloom tomatoes is that they require low start-up costs and yield profits within just a few months. By investing $50 in seeds, for example, you could expect to harvest up to $6,000 worth of tomatoes from a small garden in no time.

Heirloom tomatoes
Photo: FreshPoint

Greenhouses offer a way to increase production, extend the growing season, and mitigate pest and disease issues. Regardless of your location, heirloom tomato varieties can thrive in your climate, making it possible to cultivate the most productive and flavorful plants for your area.

Goji berries

Goji berries are a powerhouse of nutrition, rich in antioxidants, and renowned for their anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. These superfoods are primarily grown in China but are also adaptable to a North American climate.

The demand for fresh and organic dried goji berries at farmers’ markets makes them one of the most lucrative crops, costing up to $20 per pound.

The goji berry plant is a deciduous, slightly thorny woody shrub that can grow up to 12 feet tall in the wild. Cultivated goji plants are pruned to 3-6 feet tall. Starting the plants in a greenhouse is ideal for the first six weeks, but they can be transplanted outdoors afterward.

They can tolerate cold temperatures and even withstand cold summers. However, some areas consider them invasive, so a named cultivar like Phoenix Tears or Crimson Star is recommended.

Goji berries
Photo: Medical News Today

Goji berry plants produce a high yield, with up to 7,000 pounds of berries per acre, making them the most valuable berry crop to farm. Although starting a goji berry farm can be expensive, costing over $10,000 for cuttings to cover one acre, they will continue to produce berries each year without replanting.

The first year may yield a light harvest, but reaching full production capacity generally takes three to five years. Plant goji shrubs in late winter when they are dormant to get a head start.

Wasabi

Do you think you know everything about sushi? Think again. The green paste that most of us believe is wasabi is not wasabi at all. It is a combination of horseradish, mustard, and green dye.

The real deal is much more expensive and hard to come by. A single stem of fresh wasabi can cost around $50 for just 100 grams, with wholesale prices still hovering around $160 per kilogram.

Real wasabi has an unstable flavor and needs to be freshly prepared. Once the plant has been ground into a paste, its best flavor lasts only about 15 minutes. If you’ve had anything labeled wasabi that wasn’t prepared freshly before you, it likely wasn’t the real thing.

Wasabi
Photo: Taste of Home

The plant is hard to grow, preferring freshwater streams and being susceptible to disease. It’s even considered one of the most challenging crops in the world to cultivate. This difficulty of cultivation leads to its high price tag.

Although wasabi is not a root but a swollen stem, two components in the plant merge to create its signature spiciness, which quickly breaks down, adding to the difficulty of growing it.

However, the leaves and stems are edible and offer a spicy and crunchy flavor. You might find the perfect growing environment if you reside in the UK, where cool and cloudy summers are typical. In the US, places like Oregon are also ideal for cultivating this crop.

While growing wasabi in a greenhouse is challenging, planting it on the banks of a stream or pond can yield more success. It takes 15 months and two years for the wasabi rhizome or stalk to reach maturity, but you can start harvesting its greens after just eight weeks and every 6 to 8 weeks after that until full maturity.

Becoming one of the first successful commercial wasabi growers outside of Japan may be within your reach. So, don’t be fooled by imitations, and start exploring the unique and challenging world of actual wasabi cultivation.

Bonsai Plants

Bonsai, the ancient Japanese art of growing miniature trees and shrubs to replicate their full-grown versions, is a hobby many worldwide enjoy. There are three categories of bonsai available: starter plants, trained plants, and specimen plants, with prices varying depending on size, type, and appearance.

Though collectors may spend hundreds of dollars on exceptional specimens, younger plants can be grown and purchased for less than $100.

Bonsai plants are grown in pots, with their roots restricted to a limited size. Prices for these exquisite plants range from $20 for younger ones to $5,000 or more for top specimens, some of which are over 100 years old but still healthy despite their small stature.

As a popular hobby, bonsai presents an opportunity to sell to those who want to grow and maintain their plants or add an established bonsai to their décor. Bonsai growers specialize in various areas, from raising starter trays of young, untrained shrubs and trees, training them to their first pots, and even investing years into their specimens to sell fully developed bonsai plants for hundreds of dollars each to collectors.

Bonsai Plants
Photo: wikipedia

Growing bonsai requires minimal space as these plants are incredibly compact, making them an accessible hobby for anyone. Starting with just a few hundred dollars worth of soil and seeds, regular seedlings can be transformed into beautiful bonsai plants with the proper skills and knowledge.

For those already growing bonsai as a hobby, it is possible to turn it into a profitable business, starting small with just a few extra plants.

Bamboo

Bamboo is a remarkable and versatile plant that has gained global popularity for various uses. Known to be one of the fastest-growing woody plants in the world, it can grow up to three feet (one meter) in a single day, making it a renewable resource that is highly sought after for its environmental benefits and profitability.

With the global bamboo market valued at nearly $69 billion, small farm owners in the U.S. are discovering its potential for generating income.

Bamboo is not just a tropical plant; several cold-hardy varieties can survive winter temperatures below zero. Bamboo can be sold as a versatile landscaping plant, a stand-alone decorative plant, or to create hedges or screens. Homeowners and landscapers will pay as much as $150 for a potted bamboo plant, making it a lucrative crop to grow.

Aside from selling potted plants, bamboo can make various value-added products, including fencing, vases, privacy screens, and parrot stands. By creating and selling bamboo products, farmers can increase their profits.

Bamboo
Photo: Guadua Bamboo

Bamboo is a grass that grows after harvesting, and studies have shown that cutting it back makes it grow faster the following year. It is an excellent example of a high-profit cash crop that is not necessarily edible.

While start-up costs for bamboo are relatively high, the returns are significant. A mature bamboo farm can bring in $25,000 per acre in the current market, with estimated caretaking costs of around $5,000 per acre.

A sunny area with winter temperatures above 0 degrees Fahrenheit is needed to grow bamboo successfully. Growing bamboo in pots can produce thousands of dollars worth of plants annually. In a 40-foot by 30-foot space, farmers can grow over 600 bamboo plants in 5-gallon pots.

Bamboo is becoming increasingly popular for its use as a textile or fabric and for its culinary uses in Asian dishes and broths. It can also be used to produce kitchenware, flooring, and biofuels. Planting bamboo year-round is possible, but the best growing time may vary depending on your local climate.

Flowers & Ornamentals

The agricultural industry constantly evolves, and ornamental plants are a prime example of this growth. In high demand, incredibly unique or new varieties, these plants produce quickly, are easy to cultivate, and yield profits throughout the summer.

For small-scale gardeners, flowers and ornamental plants are ideal since start-up costs are relatively low, requiring only seeds and a bit of labor. With just $100, anyone can jump-start their flower farming business.

Although Dutch tulip mania in 1637 is no longer profitable, growing flowers remains a great high-value specialty crop for small farms. The possibilities of what to grow are almost endless within the main category of flowers.

tulip mania
Photo: French Links Tours

Bulbs, cut flowers, dried flowers, and more can be grown. Growing flowers is one of the most profitable and rewarding hobbies, and it’s easy for anyone to get started. A grower who has mastered the art of growing flowers can produce over $100,000 worth of flowers in a single small greenhouse in one season.

Outdoors, you should be able to gross about $50,000 per acre, even when selling in bulk to wholesalers. However, you’ll need to do market research to determine the demand for various flowers in your area.

Farmer’s markets held on weekends in most cities are excellent places for small growers to find eager buyers. However, there are plenty of other venues to sell your flower crops, including florists, grocery stores, upscale restaurants, and hotels.

When considering profitable flowers, peonies, snapdragons, zinnias, sunflowers, and salvia are some of the best options.

Legal Medicinal Cannabis

The cultivation of medicinal marijuana can prove to be a highly profitable crop, dependent on the laws of the region in which you reside. Currently, 32 of the 50 US states have legalized marijuana for medical use.

While laws may vary from state to state, most of them allow patients to grow between six to 12 plants themselves or entrust a third-party grower to cultivate and maintain their plants for them. Growing for multiple customers makes it possible to produce hundreds of plants, generating substantial revenue.

In addition, many patients are willing to pay more for high-quality, organically-grown plants than purchasing their medicine from dispensaries. This presents a lucrative opportunity for growers, with legal cannabis cultivation able to net hundreds of dollars per square foot. It is currently considered the most profitable cash crop in the world.

Legal Medicinal Cannabis
Photo: abc news

As more US states legalize the plant for medicinal and recreational use, and Canada legalized marijuana federally in late 2018, other governments are expected to follow suit in the coming years.

Once a source of controversy, this plant is becoming increasingly accepted and commonplace. The global medical cannabis market will exceed $55 billion by 2025.

For small-scale farmers seeking to get ahead of the curve, now is the ideal time to become a part of this rapidly expanding industry. However, it is essential to comply with local laws and regulations about the cultivation of medicinal cannabis or hemp.

As we never encourage breaking the law to pursue profit, review the relevant regulations before beginning any endeavor in this industry.

Japanese maples

For centuries, Japanese maples have captured the hearts of gardeners and earned the coveted status of a “collector’s tree.” With foliage that ranges from delicate and lacy to variegated leaves bursting in a rainbow of colors from red and green to pink and white, these unique trees are a stunning addition to any garden. Their versatility makes them a favorite among landscapers and homeowners alike.

Growing these profitable trees is a breeze, as Japanese maples are known for their hardiness and adaptability, provided the climate falls within zones 5 to 9. Simply ensure they receive partial shade to protect them from the harsh summer sun, and voila! You will have successfully grown these gorgeous trees.

Japanese maples
Photo: Garden Design

Japanese maples are an excellent choice for those seeking a profitable niche in the landscaping industry. The joy of cultivating these small, exquisite trees is worth more than a monetary reward. With their relatively small size, growers with limited space can house many pots in a small area.

With patience and little maintenance, these lovely maples can yield thousands of dollars in profit and a delightful experience. Indeed, the rewards of Japanese maples exceed just profits, making them an investment in beauty that lasts for years.

Herbs

If you’re searching for a lucrative farming endeavor, consider growing herbs. Herbs have been used for centuries for culinary, medicinal, cosmetic, and ornamental purposes, and their popularity continues to grow.

Herbs are versatile crops that can be sold fresh, dried, or as live plants. Culinary herbs, like basil, oregano, and parsley, are in high demand as people seek to incorporate fresh, healthy ingredients into their meals.

Discover the Best Types of Basil to Grow and Spice Up Your Herb Garden

Meanwhile, medical herbs like chamomile, St. John’s wort, and calendula have been used for their healing properties since ancient times. Herbs can be a profitable addition to your farm and are relatively easy to grow. With careful cultivation and some know-how, you can earn a tidy profit while enjoying the pleasures of gardening.

Read more: Top 14 Herbs To Grow For Your Flock

What Will You Grow In Your Small Farm?

For those hoping to start a small farm, the possibilities are endless. Many crops are suitable for small farms, and there are many factors to consider when deciding which to grow. If you are looking to incorporate high-value cash crops into your mixed farming enterprise, it’s essential to research.

It considers the time input, cost, growing conditions, and finding a market for your product. Similarly, suppose you want to start a business focused on just one crop, such as mushrooms or microgreens. In that case, a wealth of information is available to help you get started.

Establishing a successful small farm requires extensive planning, which includes figuring out where to farm and building a team. A well-crafted business plan is also essential.

The USDA provides tips on its website to help beginning farmers learn how to develop a business plan, which includes registering your farm’s legal structure as a business, acquiring necessary permits and insurance, researching available resources from state or federal sources, developing connections with potential purchasers of your products, and seeking advice from an advisor.

Education is another crucial aspect of entering the farming industry. A four-year degree in agribusiness management can provide essential knowledge and skills, including a better understanding of the business of farming, communication and analytical skills, and learning about plant growth.

Illinois College offers a flexible online bachelor’s program that can be completed in as little as 1.5 years, providing students with a pathway to a career in agriculture sales, farm management, or other related jobs with the USDA.

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