This article addresses interesting things you can do in the off-farm season; some ideas to get you productive when there’s not much drama on the farm.Working for “you” is seldom, if ever a soft option. Almost certainly you’ll work longer hours, under more stress with continuing pressures to satisfy more customers or deliver on time so that you can invoice and maintain some cash flow.
Of all the people in this category, there is no doubt a farmer; especially small farmers have the least enviable life. They work all the hours they can, for very little money and may sometimes feel like a prisoner to their buyers and wonder how much longer they can keep going. The weather seems to be against them and they may even feel like they are working for nothing.
It’s unfortunate to feel this way even though many small farmers think this statement is true, this article will help you become a multi-faceted entrepreneur instead of just a
“boring” small farmer.
Since seasons influence the work of the farm, you can plan the specific work and crops that accompany each season. For example, depending on what you do on your farm whether crop production or animal raising or both alongside processing, there are days or more appropriately seasons when there’s nothing going on. Not because of laziness but simply due to the season…
I’m just beginning to have my share of that kind of nothing season and I found there are really other interesting things to do. Of course some of these ideas will be more practical than others for your farm depending on which side of town you are and the season: Winter, summer, autumn or Spring. But farmers are a determined breed and with a bit of planning, you can turn your small farm into a joy again.
Open your farm to the public – Plan to host farm visits.
There are many successful farms open to the public. Some of these generate more money than from their main stream farming activity. Finding visitors who seek an exciting vacation destination is all it takes.
First, provide a safe environment for visiting adults and children to see animals or anything on the farm up close. This is an exciting way to generate passive income as you can charge each visiting person a small entry fee. You could also sell feed for the animals so children can feed chickens, goats and other animals. And what’s more, you might only have to do this at the weekends, and school vacations, many schools love taking children on field trips to local farms.
Again, serving refreshments and even light meals can bring in even more money for your farm.
- Turn your Field into a Campsite
Another related venture is to turn your field into a campsite. You will need to construct a simple shower and toilet unit for your campers. Some campsites are quite basic and don’t provide electrical outlets. Others have installed electricity for the campers to use. If your farm is near a tourist area, this is definitely one to consider. It is necessary the ground is fairly level which ensures the campers can correctly erect their tents. Depending on your area, this could also include places for motor homes and caravans. For these, electricity and water need to be supplied.
- Private Fishing Lakes
If you have lakes or a stream flowing through your farm, you can develop them into public fishing lakes. Normally there are two types. One is a catch and release and is solely for the enjoyment of fishing. The customer would pay as they enter and they can stay there all day.
The other type is fish and pay. They catch the fish; these are then weighed and paid for. Either way can become profitable. You will of course need to stock your lakes and ensure you have parking facilities fairly close by.In addition to these, if you had refreshments for sale you would be earning from those as well. Not everyone brings their own food and drinks.
- Start your own bed and breakfast
If you have spare rooms or a barn that can be converted into rooms, consider opening a bed and breakfast. This is one of the most popular avenues to take for earning more money from your farm. People who are raised in cities love to experience life on a working farm. They love to see the animals and also help on the farm. It is an exciting time for both adults and children.
The level of accommodation can vary depending on the type of customer you wish to attract. Even offering simple sleeping rooms as a youth hostel could bring you in extra cash.
- Snail Farming
It is easy to think of snails as only pests, but they can earn great money. Snail farming has been around for many years and in some developing nations, it is becoming an important export crop. The term for raising snails is heli culture. You will need to construct a pen or shelter plants and provide them with food. You could also run small bait and tackle shop on the premises to cater for your customers.
- Grow Duel Crops / Diversify
You can grow two crops at the same time or stock different kinds of animals depending on what you are growing. For example, if you are planting coconut trees which are usually spaced 6 meters apart, you can plant crops such as beans, zucchini, and cucumbers between them.
Or if you have raised vegetable beds, you can have chickens on free range to fertilizer your soil and pick smaller organisms like worms, or insects that might harm your crops. So that you end up making greater use of your land space; a more profitable effect and additionally, you generate income both from sale of crops and chickens.
This is not an exhaustive list of productive things you can do in the off-season but it looks good and fun already
if you ask me! So while you observe the seasons and plan for your next busy ground work, just remember you are no longer just a farmer, you are a multi-faceted entrepreneur.