Yes, we all know that there are profits in direct marketing grassfed meat and milk. And the farmers and ranchers who sell these products offer a valuable service to the public, to be sure.
But what if you’re interested in doing something a little different?
Here are some innovative ideas that agripreneurs are experimenting with:
- Vegetation management services. Sheep can mow vineyards, and goats can clear brushy land (or graze green rooftops). But don’t forget horses and cattle, either! Larger animals can become the basis of ecology-focused grazing programs, known as conservation grazing in Great Britain.
- Horse-drawn rides. Depending on your climate, terrain, and local interests, guests might prefer hay rides, wagon rides, carriage rides, or sleigh rides. But whatever route you choose, guests love horses, making them a great fit in an agritourism enterprise.
- Pack llama rentals. Llamas still carry loads in rugged terrain, and hunters and hikers are willing to pay for their services. Take the idea a step further and offer guided backcountry hikes.
- Human-animal interaction. Goat yoga has been popular for a while now, and it was quickly followed by chicken yoga and cow cuddling. Docile, friendly animals are soothing to hassled urbanites. Research suggests that the quality time is beneficial to the animals, too.
- Craft kits. This is a way to take value-added fiber a step further. Attractive but easy-to-make craft projects are a hit with beginners. At a minimum, include clear directions and all the fiber, whether that is yarn or felt. Absolute beginners will appreciate having the basic tools of the trade provided, too.
- Clothing. If you are really dedicated, create one-of-a-kind garments to add even more value to your product. Specialty fiber like alpaca is great for this, but even wool can work if your product is distinctive.
- Aquaponics. Aquaponics is a hybrid of aquaculture and hydroponics, with the used water from the fish tank serving as fertilizer for the plants. Obviously, fish and produce are both potential products here.
- Bug farming. Earthworms for bait, crickets and mealworms for reptile treats. Oh, and don’t forget finished vermicompost.
- Beehive rentals. Farmers rent beehives to pollinate field and orchard crops. Beginning beekeepers are often willing to pay for a starter hive and a little guidance. And even chefs will sometimes rent hives to give themselves full control over the quality of their honey!
- Manure sales. For natural fertilizer, of course. This product can attract the attention of gardeners, orchardists, and organic field crop farmers alike. Add value by converting manure into compost or compost tea.
These are all proven ideas that various agripreneurs around the country have experienced success with. Of course, you will want to add your own spin on whatever idea appeals to you most to offer something truly unique and valuable.