President-elect Donald Trump’s recent appointment of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as ambassador to China serves as a reminder. High tech products aren’t the only thing of importance in today’s global economy. Iowa farmers supply huge quantities of corn and pork to China. So agriculture remains an important business here in the U.S., and produces important products for export as well. Though you may not be exporting to the world’s second largest economy any time soon, here are 50 small agricultural businesses you might consider.
Agricultural Business Ideas
You don’t need a huge space to get into the agriculture business. If you have a city or suburban home, you can still plant some crops in small or vertical containers to get the most out of your space.
Farmer’s Market Vending
Whether you live in the city or country, you can take the food that you grow or produce and sell it at local farmers’ markets to earn an income.
Herbs like basil, parsley and mint can make for great agriculture products. So you can grow it at your home or farm and sell it.
You can also plant a variety of different vegetables and harvest them to sell or make into different products.
Livestock Feed Manufacturing
Even if you don’t have enough space to actually farm livestock, you can still contribute to the industry by manufacturing feed for livestock.
Or you could grow and harvest various types of fruit to sell or make into other fruit based products.
Field Crop Farming
Soybeans, cloves and other types of crops require a fair amount of field space to grow. But if you have the land, you can harvest specific crops to sell to food producers.
You can also start your own nursery where you grow and sell different types of plants to consumers or businesses.
If you have the space and the ability to care for cows or other dairy animals, you could start your own dairy farms where you produce milk, cheese and similar products.
Or you could focus on caring for chickens and other poultry animals to supply food production companies.
Fish farming is also a growing sector of the agriculture – or in this case, aquaculture – industry. The process requires raising fish in large tanks or enclosures.
You can also raise rabbits for a variety of different purposes within small pens or similar enclosures.
If you’re looking for a very small type of animal to raise, you might consider snails. It might sound strange, but you can raise snails for use in escargot. And snail slime can also be used by companies for a variety of different purposes.
You could also start a farm where you focus specifically on growing various types of mushrooms.
Beekeeping is an activity that can lead to a variety of different product-based business ventures.
For example, you can harvest honey from beehives and sell it to consumers or processors.
You can also collect and process beeswax and sell it to companies or individuals that use it to make candles and similar products.
Soy is another popular substance that can be used in a variety of different products. So if you can harvest and process it, you can sell it to companies for various uses.
If you grow or process food items, you can also build a business around delivering fresh food items to local consumers who want to buy local products.
Bulk Foodstuff Wholesaling
You could also harvest food that can be sold in bulk, like rice or corn product, that you can sell wholesale to food production companies.
Weed Killer Production
Or you could start a B2B business that produces weed killer specifically for farmers or other agricultural businesses.
If you grow or process fruit, you can can it to sell to consumers or food companies.
Or you could process various fruits even further to make into canned jam or jelly products.
Juice is another popular fruit based product that you could potentially make and sell at farmers’ markets or other venues.
You can also start a business that processes meat products to sell to consumers or grocery markets.
Or you could focus on collecting and selling chicken eggs.
You could even start a florist business where you grow your own flowers to use in different products and arrangements.
There are also plenty of different plants you can grow that will allow you to create various spices that you can process and sell.
Or you could grow peanuts or similar products that you can package and sell.
You could also specialize in organic gardening practices so you can market your products to health and eco-conscious consumers.
Sustainable Farm Consulting
Or you could even offer your expertise to other farmers or agriculture businesses that want to utilize sustainable methods as a consultant.
Agricultural Equipment Rental
If you have the capital to purchase farming or agriculture equipment, you could start a business where you rent or lease that equipment out to farmers.
Compost can be a useful tool for food growers. So you can make compost to sell to farmers and gardeners by starting your own worm farm.
People who have a lot of land and don’t want to spend the time to mow it could potentially use the help of goats. So you could start your own business where you care for goats and then rent them out for that purpose.
Christmas Tree Farming
You could also grow pine trees on your property and then sell them to nearby customers around the holidays to use as Christmas trees.
Or if you have other types of trees on your land, you could use sell the firewood to those who need it. Creating a long term sustainable business would depend on expanding the amount of land on which you can harvest trees and also systematic replenishment through continuous replanting.
Tree Seed Supply
You could also harvest seeds from different trees and sell them to people who want to plant new ones.
There are also various types of plants that you can use to produce oil for cooking or other purposes. So you can process that oil process to sell.
Potted Plant Sales
Or you could grow different types of plants and then sell them in pots to gardeners or consumers looking for houseplants.
Gardeners can often use butterflies to aid in their growing processes and aesthetics. So you could start your own butterfly colony and target gardening customers.
Or you could focus on raising animals like sheep and alpaca for wool production.
Pet Food Production
You could also use a variety of different crops and food products to create pet food that you can sell to consumers.
If you don’t have your own farm but still want to build a business centered around planting crops, you could start your own planting service and work with other farmers or growers in your area.
Or you could build a business by providing farm sitting services where you take care of people’s farm or land while they travel.
Corn Maze Operation
If you have corn plots on your property, you can create a corn maze that you can charge people to visit throughout part of the year.
Petting Zoo Operation
You could also raise certain animals and then welcome visitors to your farm as part of a petting zoo attraction.
Or you could have a farm where you welcome student groups or those interested in learning more about farming.
Trail Ride Service
If you have a tractor or other vehicle that you can drive around to different parts of your farm or property, you can offer trail rides as another paid attraction.
You could also offer a whole tourist experience at your farm where people can come visit and maybe even stay as part of a bed and breakfast type of experience.
And if you have land that is large enough and has certain types of animals on it, you could even let people pay to visit for hunting purposes.
Pig Farm Photo via Shutterstock