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To get the most out of your small farm production, focus on high value crops if you’re short on time or space. You may raise a lot of profitable crops on your small farm. Other than the obvious ones like soil and climate, there are a lot of other elements to consider when choosing which crops are best for your scenario.

You should make sure that the crops you raise are appropriate for your location, market, and time commitment because small farms are frequently diversified businesses managed by small teams of people.

Some questions you should consider when deciding on a new crop for your small farm include:

  • 1. What is the cash value per pound or kilogram of product?

This isn’t the only indicator to consider, but the more a crop sells for, in theory, you’ll need to grow less of it to make the same income as growing more of a lower-value crop.

However, you should also pay close attention to the costs of production, time input, and any investments that might be needed. 

  • 2. How will you sell the produce?

You’ll fetch the highest price if you can sell directly to customers or make value-added products. However, doing the marketing and sales yourself is also more work. Beyond a certain scale, it’s difficult to sell all your produce at the highest price in the time you have available alongside the growing. 

As you scale up you’ll likely have to consider selling, at least in part, to wholesalers and receiving a lower price for the trade-off in the volume they can buy and the ease it brings.

  • 3. How quick is the growing cycle? 

The more times per year that you can grow a crop, the better. Some crops we’ll outline below take as little as two weeks to reach maturity and can be grown every week of the year. 

However, fast-growing crops often require more attention and time input. So depending on your situation, you may be better suited with slower-growing crops that look after themselves a bit more.

  • 4. What are the yields like? 

You want something that will produce high yields for each square foot, meter or acre that you devote to it. This is especially true if you don’t have much space, though if you have a larger patch of land it becomes less important, and you may decide to consider other benefits that the crop can bring as well.

Also, you should think of yield more in terms of value rather than weight. For example, microgreens‘ yield in weight is lower than that of potatoes, but it’s worth a lot more.

  • 5. Can you make use of vertical space? 

Some crops can be grown on shelves, one tray on top of the other. If you grow something else that can only be grown on one level, you might not be optimizing the use of your land. This is especially true if you have a small area to work with. 

If that’s the case, you might look towards mushrooms or microgreens, or perhaps companion planting using different vertical levels to maximize the output per square foot or acre.

  • 6. How labor intensive is a crop to produce? 

This is a big one. A crop may sell for a high price, but the high price may be a reflection of the fact it requires a lot of labor input. This is the case with saffron, for example, where you need to harvest the stamens from 75,000 plants to produce 1 lb of dried saffron.

Plus, you have to match your available time input to the needs of the crop you’re considering. If you’re short of time, you may opt to grow a less profitable crop if it means less time spent growing it.

  • 7. What is your income goal? 

Finally, you should take a step back and consider what you’re aiming for. How much you want to earn from your farm will help dictate how much you need to grow. 

This will in turn impact where and how you are going to sell it and the time input and any investment required.

Whether you’re looking for a lucrative cash crop to add to an existing farm business or trying to build an agricultural business from scratch, here are some profitable plants to consider.

1. Goji Berries

Goji berry plants are easy to grow, and each one can get up to 13 feet tall, leaving lots of berries to pick. If you’re interested in planting goji shrubs, they can easily be sold to grocery stores, restaurants, and food brands for use in high-end snacks and dishes, which are in high demand. You can also get goji berries plants and seeds easily from many different outlets both online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

2. Oyster Mushrooms

Gourmet mushrooms like oyster mushrooms are often used in expensive dishes. But they also grow quickly and are quite inexpensive to produce.

3. Microgreens

Microgreens like arugula and other leafy green vegetables don’t require much space to grow, and they’re fairly easy to keep alive in various climates. So there’s a low cost of cultivation. And because of their market demand, you can now get microgreens seeds online and in retail stores.

4. Almonds

Almonds are popular in everything from trail mix to milk alternatives. Once almond trees are established, they are quite hardy and can produce a high yield in the right climate. However, they can take a while to get going. So look at this as more of a long-term investment.

5. Coconuts

Coconuts are among the most profitable crops in the tropical plant family. Those in warm climates can start these plants without many resources and then grow them into large trees that yield many coconuts.

6. Ginseng

Growing ginseng from seed or roots can be profitable, as it is used in various therapeutic and supplement products. It can take years to mature this plant enough to sell the roots, but you can sell seedlings in the meantime.

7. Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are the smallest items in the tomato family, meaning they grow quickly and easily, with a high yield per acre. Tomato plants easily pop up year after year and are used in various dishes.

8. Garlic

Garlic is a small plant that doesn’t require much space or resources and is easy to grow. It’s also used in tons of dishes, and gourmet garlic can demand a high price tag.

9. Saffron

Saffron is one of the most expensive culinary herb products on the market. It takes some startup money to grow these plants. But eventually, the established plants can bring in high profits each year.

10. Basil

Basil is another herb that is prominent in many dishes. It’s small and easy to get started, with low labor requirements. You don’t even need a large outdoor garden to get started.

Read Also: Top Selling Vegetables at Farmers Market

In addition to those listed above, here are some of the most lucrative crops you may not have already considered.

11. Bonsai Plants

Bonsai plants are generally grown indoors. And each one can command a decent price tag. They’re generally sold as small, potted plants. So you can offer them in retail settings or even online.

12. Lavender

Lavender plants are fairly hardy. And they can be sold in bunches to consumers or even wholesale to companies that use the oil for fragrance or related products.

13. Bamboo

A bamboo business can thrive thanks to the ability of these plants to grow quickly and command a decent price tag. This plant is mainly sold as a potted plant or landscaping feature.

14. Hemp

Hemp is used in a huge array of products, from supplements to fabric. And the plants are fairly hardy and inexpensive to grow.

15. Juniper

Juniper is popular in landscaping applications. And the oil can even be used in various products to add scent and flavor.

16. Hostas

Hostas are among the hardiest landscaping plants, and they’re in high demand across the country. You can even re-plant them from cuttings of existing ones.

17. Pine Trees

Pine trees are able to grow in various environments, even during cold winters. They do require some space, but there’s very little required in terms of labor. Then you can sell them to eager buyers during the Christmas season.

18. Pumpkins

Pumpkins are an especially popular crop during fall. So you can easily add them to an existing operation to bring more visitors during this growth cycle. Many growers offer them as a U-pick option for consumers. But you could also harvest your own and sell them to grocery stores or food producers.

19. Sorghum

Sorghum is similar to wheat, but it is included in many products and can be grown with less land. This ingredient is often included in beverages and syrups. So you may even create wholesale relationships with these suppliers to bring in ongoing revenue for your business.

20. Sunflower

Flowers in general can be profitable crops for growers who work with nurseries or florists. Sunflowers and particular can be quite hardy and command a significant price tag. When growing flowers, you may need significant space, but they are generally fairly easy to care for.

Most Profitable Small Farm Ideas

More chances to establish a successful business have been made possible for farmers by technology and creativity. Particularly small farms (less than 180 acres in size or with an annual income of less than $50,000) can benefit from less conventional farming practices like beekeeping, microgreens, or even hops, in addition to non-traditional revenue streams like agritourism.

The USDA projects that net agricultural income in 2023 will exceed its 20-year average (2002–2021) of $115.2 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars by 26.6%.

Here are some of the most profitable small farming ideas:

1. Tree Nursery

A tree nursery can be a great investment when done right. Most farmers start with 10–20 seedlings on a small plot, and with the right marketing strategy, have the baby trees sold out before they mature. Seedlings run from 15 cents to $1.50 per tree, and a sapling of two years can sell for $20 to $100, making for a large profit, if you have the time to wait.

Spend some time researching how to organically source the trees you want to grow. Fruit tree propagation, for example, can be done by grafting or budding (joining parts from multiple plants), and this increases your chances of producing the same variety of trees as opposed to using seeds.

If you have 10 or more acres, experience growing trees, and the right climate, Christmas tree farms can be a profitable option. You need to watch the trees as they grow, pruning them to make sure they are healthy and bushy for the holidays.

2. Fish Farming

Fish farming is an ideal business idea for investors with available land, and it doesn’t always require a body of water. You can start a fish farm either by creating fish ponds or investing in fish tanks; it’s a highly scalable business idea. Once you have the proper knowledge of fish raising, you will be able to decide the type of fish to raise. According to FinModelsLab, a well-run fish farm can produce a return on investment (ROI) of 5%–10%.

Fish such as tilapia, cod, trout, and catfish are popular because they are easy to raise and in high demand. Small-scale farms are the usual suppliers of fish in their local supermarkets and restaurants.

Other popular varieties of fish that are commercially raised are:

  • Yellow Perch
  • Eel
  • Grass Carp
  • Tuna
  • Salmon

Not all fish are raised for food. Goldfish and koi are popular fish to farm as well.

The decision as to which fish you want to raise will ultimately rely on your skill, financial capacity, market demand, and agro-climatic condition. This refers to the normal soil types, rainfall, temperature, and water availability that affect the type of vegetation in the area.

3. Dual Crop Farming

Dual crop farming or multiple cropping can be either mixed cropping or intercropping. Mixed cropping refers to raising two or more types of crops in the same area while intercropping is raising different crops in close proximity. Dual crop farming is very popular among farmers because it optimizes the use of equipment, soil, and water as well as farming supplies; it also maximizes the production of a small farm all year-round.

Farmers like that it reduces the risk of total loss from calamities, drought, pests, and diseases. Some good examples of multiple cropping are growing strawberries and watermelons in Florida or wheat and soybeans in addition to corn and canola in the Carolinas.

4. Goat Farming

Goats are highly versatile livestock. Goat milk products are expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7% from 2023 to 2030 as more and more people seek an alternative to cow’s milk for infant food, allergies, and nutrition. A quick look online shows goat milk selling for $4.50 to $23 per gallon, and the milk can be made for cheese or even soap. The initial outlay for milking equipment can be expensive, and goats need to be milked twice a day.

Goats aren’t just for milking. Angora goats produce mohair and cashmere. Plus, you can rent goats out for brush removal, as petting animals, for photo shoots, and even for goat yoga! The demand for goat meat is increasing as well and can sell for as much as $22 per pound. Different breeds of goats are needed for milking or meat (although they all will eat the weeds).

5. Alpaca Farming

Alpaca ranching is easier than cattle or horse ranching, and with as little as an acre of land, you can raise five alpacas. They are best for fleece, which is sheared annually. Raw fleece runs $3 an ounce, so they are better as a supplement to your farm. The bigger profit is in breeding and stud fees. Plus, they’re so cute that some farms get side income from photos or social media.

Alpacas will live amiably with other livestock and are good guard animals, ready to run off a fox or defend their territory or fellow animals. Some farmers have found a side business in renting out their alpacas as “guard sheep.” You can also sell their manure, as it’s a good source of nitrogen and potassium.

6. Herb Gardening

According to Profitable Plants, “Just one small backyard growing bed with 100 square feet of growing space will hold 400 potted herb plants with a retail value of over $2,400.” When starting your own herb garden, emphasize variety and choose herbs in local demand for easier sales. You can start an herb business with small farmers market sales from your backyard, selling herbs that you cut, the plants, seeds, or all three, but also check with local restaurants, herbalists, or essential oil makers. If you grow catnip, you can sell it to pet stores, or make catnip toys. Also, consider selling your herb and herb products online.

7. Bee Farming

Apiculture or beekeeping often starts as a hobby, and the capital needed to begin is quite low. According to Beekeeping for Newbies, it costs about $760 for the first year for a single hive, protective gear, and basic tools. In addition to honey, you can sell bee byproducts such as beeswax, bee pollen, and royal jelly. Bee pollen and royal jelly are considered superfoods and are sold at a high price. You can also rent out beehives for added income.

You only need a small area in your backyard but need to check local ordinances (and HOA if applicable) to make sure beekeeping is allowed.

There are many ways to get your first set of bees:

  • Catch a swarm: If you live at a location where bees are often found, you can opt to catch your own swarm for free.
  • Buy a bee package: This package consists of about 3 pounds of bees with a young, mated queen. Large bee farms regularly sell bee packages in the spring for about $180 each.
  • Nucleus hive: Typically consists of a box with five frames of bees, brood, pollen, nectar, and a fertile, laying queen bee. They are sold between April to June for about $200.
  • Full hive: This simply means an entire hive setup, including an existing colony that large beekeepers sell to beginner bee farmers for around $300 each.
  • Split hive: Split hives are created when several frames of an existing colony are moved to a new box where a new queen is introduced. They’re often sold for around $200 each.

Beginner bee farmers are encouraged to purchase a nucleus hive as it helps them learn the basics of beekeeping and nurture its growth. You will also need other equipment such as protective gear, hive tools, a bee brush, and a honey extractor.


Love of the land, a desire for self-sufficiency, and an appreciation of the farming way of life are common motivations for starting small farms. That does not preclude them from making a nice profit, though. Our list of farming company ideas can assist you in getting started if you are truly considering entering the agricultural industry.

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