If you’re looking to start a family business, consider small-scale farming. In fact, the majority of small farms in the US are family-owned. Not only that, but small farms make up 90% of all farm businesses, though this is defined by Gross Cash Farm Income, not acreage.
While small farms have seen a gradual decline in numbers since the 1980s, their output has actually tripled due to technological advancements. Small farmers contribute about 20% toward US crop output.
To start a successful small farm, identify your niche and gain hands-on experience. You’ll need suitable land and may need to become certified in food safety courses. Consider the length of your growing season and research your competition to develop a business plan.
Consider financing options from the USDA and source your equipment, seeds, and/or livestock. When it comes time to sell, consider farmers markets and other ways to reach your customer base.
There are many niches to consider in small-scale farming, including potato farming, butterfly farming, chicken farming, egg farming, quail/chukar/pheasant/game bird farming, flower farming, alligator farming (suited for southern climates), dairy farming (with goats as a niche), strawberry farming, sunflower farming, bee farming, hay farming (which requires expertise and specific soil needs), deer farming, aquaculture (crawfish, shrimp, oyster, and catfish farming), rabbit farming (for meat or mohair), sod farming, and tomato farming.