Monday, March 11, 2013

Earning money from a small acreage

Lately, my thoughts have started turning more and more to things I could do here to earn money in the future. The commute into Ipswich or Brisbane and the cost of petrol and childcare makes returning to the journalism/public relations sector Ive always worked in a little off-putting. I think I can pick up a bit of work from home, but I'd also like to put in place a few strategies for earning a few dollars around here.

I am sure every acreage owner has the same thoughts from time to time. There must be some magic crop that takes no room to grow and is incredibly valuable. Truffles, anyone?

Of course, the reason some crops are more valuable is generally that they're difficult to grow, labour intensive and need very specific conditions. If they were easy, everyone would be growing them.

The cottage gives us an advantage, luckily for us. With very little ongoing effort, our 11 acres will be soon be earning us $200 a week. The new tenant is due to move in in three weeks time and Dan will pretty much work without stopping between now and then to have it ready for her, but after that it should be a fairly low maintenance affair. In fact, it should actually be helpful for us as she's effectively renting about 4 acres and will be maintaining the grass and gardens there herself. It also gives us some tax breaks, as some maintenance costs around here become partly tax-deductible.

Maintenance costs. Did I mention our mower is in the shop having $1500 worth of repairs done? Maintenance costs are painful.

We're running our neighbour's cattle out the back on the flood plain (useless for much other than livestock), but not charging any money for it at this point. In return, he and his wife help us around the place here and there which - given Dan typically works a 50-60 hour week - is proving very useful for the jobs he doesn't have time to tackle.

But, I've had an idea for the rest of our land... An idea I'm nursing close at this point until I can do more research, plant a few test plants and make sure it is actually as cracking an idea as I think it is now.

I think I MAY have found a crop that will grow easily here, will be a good little earner and will tie in with some other skills I have to create another small income stream.

I will keep you posted.

Do you have a cracking cash-earning idea for small farms? I promise I might not steal it. 


  1. Oh how exciting. I wonder what plants you're thinking of growing?
    If you're after some reading material with a bit about farm income I would highly recommend the book "Introduction to Permaculture' by Bill Mollison. The library should have a copy too.
    A few ideas are- bees, pick-your-own berries, free-range chooks (for eggs or meat), fish in farm dams.

  2. How exciting! I hope the test plants go well.

  3. I think you first need to list some of the main criteria before going too far into it. You need to work out what resources are available both financial and physical. How much money is available for start up costs and about 3 months trading before payback? How much land is available for use. What kind of soil do you have, water availability and storage, climate patterns etc. You then need to analyse your own resources as well meaning what are your skill sets, what are your strengths, how much time do you have available to devote to this without sacrificing family time etc. Lastly you need to look for your market. What is needed in your local area. Is there restaurants or cafe's that would buy organic produce or home baked breads or cakes? Is there a local need for a honey supplier or just land for the hives. What about alpaca fibre. I think you need to take time to understand your community and establish a niche market if this is the way you want to go. BUT dont think that you cant also do you own job from home. So long as you have a good internet connection (i know this has been a problem) you can work from home with the skills you already have in your chosen field, dont waste them. Or diversify into something like data entry. Dont just look to your old employer, go to an agent. The work might come from Sydney or Melbourne. Its a small world these days. Just thinking out loud. This is an exciting time for you and your hubby, dont forget to enjoy it.

  4. Hoping your test plants grow big and strong! I have just discovered your blog and have had a lovely read through your last few posts. It's quite an adventure you're all on!

  5. how far from a main road are you?? how far from other locals? my daughter sold around 200 in pumpkins one year she could have made double that but she only charged 2 a pumkpin and she gave heaps away too...but if you are close to passers by you could have a stall of lettuce, tomys,cues..even seedling plants..eggs that sort of thing....people are always hounding us to sell stuff out the front of our place...when garlic season hits people are always just causally stopping in to say hello LOLOLOL "yeah right you where in the area SURE...your not going to become a millionaire from seeling vege but if it pays a few bills here in there why not bubs grows older she can take over..and by then you might be able to take on the markets

  6. Ive recently had a pipe dream to sell figs!
    I probably won't, but at Christmas time I drove all over town looking for fresh figs for sale, and when I found them I had to pay...are you waiting for it...$2.50 each for them! I needed 6!! I only paid it because it was a special Christmas salad, I enquired to the green grocer if we can grow figs in our area to which he replied yes, there's a lady just down the road who grows really did get me thinking...I wonder how much the green grocer buys them for???
    Anyway good luck with your venture, your energy and enthusiasm is admirable.

  7. Grow some Purple Heads, Maaaaan. Easy money apart from any Jail time of course.

  8. Just don't harvest any Mary Jane. It'll get you into all sorts of trouble.

    I think you could do journalism/pr work online, surely?

    My in-laws are just on the other side of Toowoomba, and they grow figs like no one's business.

  9. I would agist more stock - low maintenance for you and will keep the grass down.....

  10. If I had an idea you could steal it! In exchange for coming up with an idea for me on how I could earn a living working from home here in Brisbane.

  11. I am always thinking the same thing. I am really lucky that I can work from home for the same company I worked for in the city but I would love to be more independent and work for myself.

  12. Ohh this is exciting - I can't what to see what you reveal...