Diversifying for New Sources of Farm Income

If you’re a farmer or rancher looking for additional sources of revenue, consider diversifying your operations. While Kansas is a leader in U.S. agriculture, many farms would benefit by having income during off seasons or when harvests are less than expected. In the past, you could find a variety of grazing animals and crops on U.S. farms. We’ll explore ways you can return to this type of diversity with alternative crops, livestock, and recreational activities.

Alternative crops

Diversifying through alternative crop production provides an opportunity to earn additional income while making the most of your farmland throughout the year. This method of farming has many benefits. If one crop has a poor harvest, another one may be highly productive. Crop rotation has also been shown to have other positive effects such as breaking pest cycles and mitigating plant diseases, insects and weed infestations. As a result, this creates healthier soil and produces larger crop yields.

So, what are your alternative crop options? It depends on where your farm is located.

The value of livestock

In addition to growing new crops, consider investing in livestock. While it might seem daunting to jump into several new business ventures, integrating crops and livestock has several synergistic values. Nutrient-rich animal manure can help reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and promote soil fertility and erosion control. Along with raising livestock for sale, you could also profit from animal by-products such as eggs and sheep’s wool.

Diversify with recreation and education

A range of commercial enterprises provide new ways to diversify your income stream and gain more value from your farm or ranch. These include:

As you explore the best options for your specific farming operation, there are resources to help you get started. One example is the presentations and worksheets developed for a webinar series by Mississippi State University.5 Another is an article by Kansas State University professors. It examines U.S. and Kansas agritourism, an umbrella term for recreational enterprises that supplement farm income.6

Flexible financing for your agribusiness

If you’re considering diversifying your farming operation with crops, livestock or recreational enterprises, you may want to explore financing solutions. Among the options we offer are livestock loans for the purchase, feeding, breeding, and care of livestock as well as equipment financing and leasing. Our ag bankers can explain these options to you. They understand the needs, challenges, and hard work involved in running a successful agribusiness.

Are you ready to start diversifying your farm income and need financing to get started? Let’s talk.

 

Sources

1 https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF3093.pdf

2 https://kansassoybeans.org/news/faq/

3 https://agriculture.ks.gov/divisions-programs/plant-protect-weed-control/industrial-hemp

4 https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/news/article/2018/05/25/kansas-cotton-acreage-surges-new-say

5 https://nationalaglawcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/assets/articles/rrumley_agritourism-workbook.pdf

6 https://www.agmrc.org/media/cms/Kansas_State_Study_46DE08CBDDAE1.pdf