6 ways to make extra money with spare land

I was recently asked by a farmer friend of mine (@lambingtales) if there was any advice out there for other farmers on how to make a bit of extra money. My initial thought was no, I have no idea about Farming what-so-ever, 5am starts are not my thing and I don’t really like manual labour, but it got me thinking, and I set myself the challenge to find some ideas. On investigation, there are some suggestions on-line but most of them are pretty boring, like “Sell Eggs” or “Sell Horse Poo” so it got my imagination going as to what kind of things you could do to make some extra money with the land you have. Here are my ideas:

Quad Bike Track

If you have a field to spare, why not set out a track with some cones and open it up to the public on summer weekends for quad bike racing? Entry level Kids Quads can be picked up for £200 so you could get a fleet for £1000. Add £500 a year in for Liability insurance (a good idea!) and another £200 for safety equipment. Throw in some advertising and lets say £2000 could get you up and running.

Charge £5 per 20 minute race with a maximum of 4 riders and that’s £40 per hour return. On a busy weekend you could bring in £400 to £500. After other expenses you could earn your money back easily in a summer.

Wind Power or Solar Energy

Like them or loathe them, wind turbines are popping up all over the place and given the abundance of wind in the UK you can see why these may be popular. Another reason may be that companies like http://www.hallmarkpower.co.uk and http://www.fineenergy.co.uk will offer you anywhere between £3,500 and £45,000 per year to install a turbine on your land and sell the power back to the grid. You only need a space 10m x 10m that would be fenced off and you can use the rest of your field as normal. It does need to be suitably away from residential buildings and a 20 year lease seems to be the standard, but they do guarantee your income regardless of how windy it is. You could make more money if you buy and install the turbine yourself, but its a lot of hassle.

Solar power is another option. At £700 to £1000 per acre per year this is not quite as lucrative as Wind turbines and you cant use the land for anything else. But if you don’t want a turbine on your horizon this may be for you. Providers such as http://www.tgcrenewables.com and http://www.lightsource-re.co.uk are a good place to start.

Make a Maize Maze

Take a Field, grow some maize, charge people walk round it. What could be easier? The best Maze’s charge over £8 per adult to get hopelessly lost. Set up costs are fairly cheap but if you wanted to expand, sheds, toilets and even a small Cafe may be needed.

This idea is seasonal and its a big commitment to use a whole field for the entire summer, but the returns could be really good if marketed well. There’s even an Official Maize Maze association you could join!

Once the season has finished, sell your Maize. Current price is just over £110 per ton.

Rare Breeds

Perhaps a more conventional way to increase your earnings could be to diversify into Rare Breeds. If you already have knowledge of breeding animals then this should be straightforward. Entry costs may be high as the breeding animals price will increase just like any other rare commodity. But if you successfully breed, in turn, you could make a healthy profit on the offspring.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust may be a good place to start. They may even offer subsidies depending on the type of livestock you are interested in. Farms parks are a good way to educate people about your breeds and can act as a decent revenue stream.

Take Cotswold Farm Park as an example of how to make Rare Breeding a successful business.

Sell Your Land to Developers

Considering how many new houses this country needs to build just to keep up with the population, prices for decent land will inevitably increase. You could sell off your land and let someone come in a build all over it, or you could finance the building yourself to make a bit more profit.

This may be a way to make a quick buck, but its not sustainable and you probably want to keep your land to build quad bike tracks and mazes!

Snails

I can’t claim this idea, I saw it online and thought it could be pretty cool.

As British tastes in food become ever increasingly diverse, thing like Snails are cropping up on more and more menus across the UK. Apparently, the type you want are Helix Aspersa Maxima and you can buy some at The Snail Farm. They can be grown indoors or out and they probably wont run away. well no very fast anyway.

If your going to grow Snails to eat you probably need some accreditation so do some research, don’t just say “this guy on the internet said it was a good idea”.

12 Large Snails could sell for upwards of £9 per pack so there is money to be made if you get it right.

As I said before, I know little about farming, but I can confirm, there are definitely ways you can make some extra money if you have some land to spare!

More fun the Eggs and horse poo eh?

R

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