By: Tom Chatham
One thing many homesteaders and farmers need is extra income, especially if they are new to the area. It can be difficult getting a market established if you have to compete with others that are veterans to the local market. Producing a product is usually easier than finding enough return customers to make the farm sustainable. In this situation you need to think of unconventional services and products you can provide to fill the financial gap.
Rent RV storage space- There are many people that have RV’s or camper trailers for traveling or even bug out use if the need arises. These people may not have the room to store these items where they live or an economical place to store them. By providing a few parking spaces in an out of the way area on your land you can give them a cheap alternative.
Rent storage lockers- It seems everywhere you go these days you see storage units. One way to separate yourself from the pack is to offer these services to urban and suburban preppers that may not have a place to bug out if things get bad in the cities and need a place for their extra stuff. A 20’ cargo container makes a great storage locker and a potential temporary shelter.
Sell bulk grains to individuals- If you only grow a few acres of grains you want to get the maximum price for them so why not sell directly to people who want to store bulk grains. These people are usually willing to pay prices that are premium for the farmer but still lower than people can get from retailers. If you can process these grains as well into flour, cornmeal or rolled oats, you can get even better prices from potential customers.
Make your farm a vacation destination- If you have sufficient area to park a few RV’s or camping sites, your farm could become a seasonal vacation site for some people. If you can also offer things like a small store, horseback riding, swimming pool, fishing or hiking then you have something to draw people in. You could even offer the “farm experience” where they help slop the pigs, collect eggs or milk the cow.
Bug out site for urban dwellers- You could go one step further with the RV parking space and allow extra footage so a person could park their RV, have a storage unit and have room to plant a garden. This might be very appealing to many preppers that see the need to get out of the cities at some point but have no place to go long term.
Just over an acre of land can provide 12 50’x75’ blocks for rent. A road down the center of the area with blocks on either side and a gravel pad down one side of each block to place the storage container and park the RV is all that is needed. At $75 per month per block, a farmer could potentially make $10,800 per year if all blocks are rented. For the price of a monthly cable bill you could provide someone with storage space and a place to camp anytime they wanted.
When you have to compete with others in a small market, it may be necessary to find that niche that others do not see that you can fill. With the large number of preppers scattered around the country, this segment of society may be a good demographic to target for services they cannot find elsewhere.
We see offers for food storage and survival land for sale but seldom do you see anything in between that people with limited funds can afford. A bugout camping site on a farm may look very appealing to many on a limited budget that see the need. If the need ever arose the farmer would have likeminded people on site that would be of great benefit to him. If the world suddenly turns into a lemon, it would be good to have people around to help make lemonade.