Article Summary: Want to make money from hobby farming? Not sure what types of small farming to choose from? From goat farming to lavender farming, hydroponics and everything in between, we have some exciting options to help you take your farming game to the next level. Part 2 in our series, this blog explores eight additional hobby farming types you might want to consider, plus the lowdown on what you'll need to get started and how to make the most of your farming venture.
Calling all farmers and aspiring agri-entrepreneurs! Are you tired of the same old farming methods and looking to switch things up? Or do you have a small rural property ripe for some hobby farming? And can you actually make money through hobby farming?
Well, we have another eight profitable small farming options that can help you rake in some serious dough if you put in the time and effort to establish it well.
From exotic mushroom farming to high-tech hydroponics, we have some exciting options to help you take your farming game to the next level. Part 2 in our series, this blog will explore eight additional hobby farming types you might want to consider. So read on, and we’ll give you the lowdown on what you'll need to get started and how to make the most of your farming venture.
1. Free-Range Chicken Farming
Free-range chicken farming is an excellent small farm business idea. It involves raising chickens on pasture and allowing them to roam and forage for food. This farming option provides an opportunity to produce organic, high-quality eggs and meat that command a premium price.
According to IBISworld, domestic egg prices have increased over the past five years, with demand rising post-pandemic and an egg shortage in Australia in 2022. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) reports that the average price of free-range eggs was $4.30 per dozen in 2020. This figure is significantly higher than the $3.33 per dozen for cage eggs, which is being phased out and is, therefore, an opportunity for you.
You will need a few key things to begin. Firstly, a plot of land with enough space to accommodate your flock of chickens. The area should be fenced and protected from predators. The land should also have adequate space for building coops, feeders, and waterers.
Second, you will need to purchase chicken breeds suitable for free-range farming and provide them with enough feed and water. You'll also need to provide nesting boxes for egg-laying hens. You may need to invest in equipment for collecting and storing eggs and possibly even a vehicle for delivering them.
2. Goat Farming
Goat farming is another profitable small farm option. Goats are hardy, require minimal maintenance, and can provide high-quality milk, meat, and fibre. They are also suitable for grazing on marginal land, making them an ideal option for small farms. According to the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, the export revenue from goat meat was $122 million in 2020, up from $107 million in 2019. And via IndexBox, “The total output value increased at an average annual rate of +3.0% over the period from 2012 to 2021”.
Goats require plenty of grazing space, so you'll need a plot of land to accommodate a herd. It should have adequate fencing and shelter to protect the goats from predators and harsh weather conditions.
You'll need to invest in goats and provide them with hay, grain, and fresh water. You'll also need equipment for milking the goats (if not farming for meat) and possibly even processing and selling their milk.
3. Mushroom Farming
Mushroom farming is a low-cost, high-yield small farm business idea. It involves growing different varieties of mushrooms in controlled conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and light. Mushrooms are a popular delicacy and can command a high price in the market.
According to the Australian Mushroom Growers Association, the industry's value was $255 million in 2019, with the average retail price of mushrooms at $14.23 per kilogram. IndexBox reports that from 2012 to 2021, the consumption of mushrooms grew, and the market’s value did, too, by +5.0% per year over the last nine years to 2023.
Mushroom farming can be done indoors or outdoors, depending on the type of mushrooms you want to grow. You'll need a climate-controlled building with appropriate ventilation, humidity control, and lighting for indoor farming. For outdoor agriculture, you'll need a shaded area with good drainage.
You'll need to invest in mushroom spores or spawn and substrate materials for growing mushrooms. You may also need equipment for sterilising substrate and packaging harvested mushrooms.
4. Flower Farming
Flower farming is a unique small farm business idea that can provide you with high profits and a lot of colour! It involves growing flowers for local or international markets, such as roses, lilies, and tulips. And you might think you'd need a vast amount of land, but you can do it on a small scale! According to IBISWorld, the Australian flower industry's revenue was $265 million in 2022.
Flowers are in high demand, especially during holidays and special events like weddings and funerals. Plus, their growing cycles are seasonal, depending on the flowers you decide to grow. All this requires a fair bit of knowledge and organisation to get right.
The type of land you'll need for your flower farming business will depend on the specific flowers you have in mind to cultivate. Flowers need well-draining soil, good exposure to sunlight, and adequate water supply.
You’ll also need to understand which flowers are not only suited to your land but also in high demand or that you can sell to local florists, event planners, or online. This is the key to your farming success.
In addition, flowers have different planting and harvesting times, so plan accordingly to ensure you have a continuous supply of blooms throughout the growing season. Some flowers may need to be planted for early spring blooms, while others can be grown for summer and fall blooms in the spring.
5. Alpaca Farming
Alpaca farming is an emerging small farm business idea gaining popularity in Australia and New Zealand. Alpacas are a low-maintenance animal that produces high-quality fibre, which can be sold to the textile industry. According to the Australian Alpaca Association, the alpaca fibre industry is worth approximately $8 million annually, with prices ranging from $3 to $10 per ounce. According to an ArgiFutures report in 2022, the potential farmgate value of the alpaca industry is upwards of $51 million, from a current value of $19.5 million, meaning the industry is ripe for expansion.
Alpacas require plenty of grazing space, so you'll need a plot of land to accommodate a herd. The ground should have adequate fencing and shelter to protect the alpacas from predators and harsh weather conditions.
You'll need to invest in alpacas and provide them with hay, grain, and fresh water. You'll also need equipment for grooming and shearing the alpacas and processing and selling their fleece.
6. Lavender Farming
Lavender farming is a profitable small farm business option that has been gaining popularity recently. It involves growing lavender plants and selling them for their essential oils, dried flowers, and other products. Lavender is widely used in aromatherapy, cosmetics, and other industries. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the wholesale price of lavender essential oil was $75 per kilogram in 2020.
To start a lavender farming business, you'll need a plot of land with good drainage and plenty of sunlight. Lavender grows well in well-drained, alkaline soils with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. It is suited to fry climates, so don't fret if you're not located in a food bowl; you can be a lavender farmer!
What else do you need to consider? You'll need to invest in lavender seeds or plants and equipment for planting, pruning, and harvesting. Depending on the size of your farm, you may also need irrigation systems and equipment for distilling essential oils.
7. Garlic Farming
Garlic farming is a low-cost, high-return small farm business option that can be grown in most regions of Australia and New Zealand regions. Garlic is a popular ingredient in many cuisines and has numerous health benefits. According to the Australian Garlic Industry Association, the industry's value was approximately $14 million in 2018, with prices ranging from $10 to $25 per kilogram. IndexBox reports, "Based on 2021 figures, consumption (in Australia) increased by +39.7% against 2018 indices.”
To start a garlic farming business, you'll need a plot of land with well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Garlic prefers a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 and requires soil rich in organic matter.
You'll need to invest in garlic bulbs for planting and equipment for preparing the soil, planting, and harvesting garlic. You may also need specialised equipment for curing and storing harvested garlic.
8. Hydroponic Farming
Hydroponic farming is a revolutionary soil-less farming technique that utilises water and nutrient solutions to grow plants. It's a highly efficient and space-saving option that can yield a high output. Hydroponic farming is perfect for crops like lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs. According to IBISworld, the industry's value is $502.9 million as at 2022, an increase from 0.1% the previous year.
You can opt for indoor or outdoor hydroponic farming. You'll need a climate-controlled building equipped with proper lighting and irrigation systems for indoor farming. If outdoors, you'll need a shaded area with good drainage and access to water.
Investing in hydroponic equipment such as nutrient solutions, growing media, and irrigation systems is necessary. It is also crucial to choose the appropriate plants for hydroponic farming and give them proper care and maintenance.
But before you get started on your hobby farming venture, remember:
Starting any of these farming businesses will definitely take some serious investment of time, money, and effort. But don't let that discourage you! With the right plan, you can set yourself up for success. You'll need to do your homework on farm management best practices, as well as the market demand for your chosen crop or livestock and create a solid business plan that outlines your goals, costs, and potential profits. You may also need to hustle for financing or investors to help you get started. And let's not forget about navigating the regulations and permits of running a farm. But trust us; it'll all be worth it when you see those profits rolling in!
Small-scale farming is a prime opportunity to profit and give back to local communities. With options like free-range chicken farming and hydroponic crop cultivation, there's a wide range of ways to boost your income. By branching out and diversifying your operations, you can reduce risk and increase your revenue potential. But it's not just about the cash; careful planning and execution can also help your farm contribute to the sustainability of your local area. In short, with some effort and foresight, you can begin a small farm business and see it thrive. It's not out of reach!
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Until we meet again, Happy Farming!
- The Dedicated Team of Pasture.io, 2023-04-27