5 Ideas for Starting an Agriculture Business

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With its association with an honest days work and healthy outdoor living, it’s no surprise that increasing numbers of people in today's office bound society start looking for alternative, more fulfilling lifestyles.   

However, giving it all up to go work on the land can be difficult, even intimidating.  Fine ideas of growing your own apples and having a sheep, a cow and a duck may be comforting during the late shift in call centre land, but if you want to make a living off the land you need a plan that will make you a living while letting you do what you love. 

Being the ever helpful bunch we are at ADL, here’s a couple of ideas for anyone thinking they’d like to be a farmer but had no idea what they’d actually do:

Pick Your Own Fruit Business

Different fruits and berries in cardboard baskets

There’s a lot of this going around at this time of day as more and more fruits ripen in the hot summer season.  The way this works is somewhat ingenious – you grow the fruit on your land and then charge customers and visitors for the privilege of picking it!  Okay so they don’t pay to pick, but you do charge them for whatever they do pick by weight.

Much cheaper than hiring workers to pick the fruit, however there is an implicit problem of honesty inherent in this system.  Inevitably customers can be not quite as honest as a business owner may like and will inevitably try to eat some of the produce before it can be weighed or smuggle it out without paying for it.  Obviously, the viability of this will depend entirely on the honesty of your own community. 

Ethical Egg Company

Three whole eggs lie next to a half broken egg on top of some hay beside a pile of eggshells

Everybody loves free range, but as some reports have pointed out not all free range eggs are equal.  However, with a couple of hens kept on your land it’s quite viable to create your own little business selling the products of your chickens to individuals who want the assurance that their breakfast came without any suffering from the bird that laid their scrambled eggs.

Legalization on selling eggs varies from country to country.  In the UK for instance, it is legal to sell eggs from your farm, door to door or at the market with no prior permission so long as you have 50 or less hens.  After this you will need to be registered. 

Specialist Dairy

A glass, a jug and a bottle are all filled with milk

The demand for alternative milk and milk products is only on the increase.  So why not get in on the market with your own herd of cows, goats or ewes?  Or perhaps you might consider being a bit more ambitious and learning to create your own specialist cheeses? 

Uncommon Meat Breeds

A steak rests on a wooden board with green plants around it

Supermarkets tend to like what can be produced easily and in large numbers, but this leaves an immense gap in quality and choice that the enterprising farmer can take full advantage of.  Consider for example making sausages from lesser known breeds of pig or being able to provide less common birds, such as quail or pheasant, to artisan butchers in your locality.

Petting Zoo

A child is looking happy to see a pair of Llamas at a petting zoo

And as a final idea – get ignorant townspeople to pay you for the privilege of coming to your farm and petting your more docile animals.  This can get really popular during the spring when all the baby animals encourage an explosion of interest in the outdoors. 

However, you do need to use caution and emphasise hygiene at all times.  There’s no worse problem for an enterprise of this nature than an outbreak of E.coli or some other horrendous bug.  It can be especially troublesome with young children petting the animals and then putting their fingers in their mouths and thus animal health needs to be paramount among any such enterprise. 

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