Several Ways to Make Money on Your Land
No matter what kind of land you own or type of landowner you are, one thing’s for sure: if your land isn’t making money for you, it’s a lot harder to justify owning it. And you’re probably missing out on a nice passive income that could help you make payments on the land itself or cover the property taxes each year. Essentially, you need to learn how to make land pay for itself so you can free up your other finances. So if you’re looking for some passive income ideas and own some kind of property, here are several ways to make money on your land. We’ve organized the various ideas into broad categories to help you narrow down the ones that might apply to your property. Whether you want to make money on one acre or one thousand, there is something here for you.
Farming and Agriculture
It’s very common these days for younger families to inherit the old family farm, as older generations quit farming. This is a huge blessing to those who want to continue earning a living that way. However, maybe you don’t live near the farm or have any intention of actually continuing to farm it yourself. The easiest thing would be to just sell it – but you would lose a piece of your family identity and history with it. If you want to leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren, there are better options. Instead of selling, consider the ideas below to make money on your land.
- Row Crops – if your farm consists of lots of open, tilled fields, you could continue planting and harvesting them, or rent the land out to neighboring farmers who would farm them instead. Generally, you could develop an agreement that they pay you a steady rate per acre to use the fields for whatever crops they want to grow. This is a nice option because it keeps the property in your possession and can help another farmer with making a profit off land by simply renting it instead of buying.
- Pasture – if your property has more hilly terrain or the soils are very rocky, it’s likely that you have more pasture than tilled fields. Like the first example, you could rent your land out to other farmers for them to graze their cattle, goats, horses, or whatever livestock they have there. This allows them to make money farming cattle on someone else’s land, which can give their own pastures a break or help them expand the number of animals they have. The only drawback is that this will generally only be practical if the farmer is adjacent to your land, due to the difficulty of moving a whole herd of animals.
- Conservation Programs – if you have a little bit of farming expertise and want to earn something from the land without farming, you could try entering a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP) contract. These government programs will pay you a certain amount to plant native plants where there used to be corn or beans. If you like nature, this is an appealing option to make money on your land because it attracts all kinds of wildlife.
- Special Events – most farms have some kind of working barn or pole shed on them. Did you know that many people are seeking these kinds of structures and settings for special events like weddings, anniversaries, and graduation parties? If you have an old, charming (but sturdy) barn, people may go wild over it. And if you have a farm located somewhat close to a larger city, this will increase the size of your potential client network. Clean things up (i.e., remove the manure) and try renovating it so that it could be an entertainment space. This can be a very lucrative way to make money on your land, but you do have to be there for events or hire someone to do the work. In that sense, it’s more of a true business idea for farmland, but it is definitely one of the more profitable hobby farm ideas.
Perhaps your land contains no farm fields whatsoever. Maybe it consists of a single block of timber with no buildings instead. What do you do then? Have no fear; there are options for you too. Here is how to earn money from vacant land in this situation.
- Timber Sales – one of the easiest ways to make money on your land in this scenario is to do a timber harvest. Arrange for a professional forester to survey your property and give you a quote for the timber volume and sale price range. Depending on how much land you have and the quality of the timber, you could make a very large chunk of income in this single event. You could invest this financial windfall into an account to pay the taxes on the property for a long time – maybe decades.
- Recreation – if you’re trying to think of business ideas for raw land, you could also rent your land out as a recreational property for people wanting to get away for the weekend. For example, you could market it as a cross-country ski and snowshoe place in the winter, an off-road biking destination in summer, or a fishing hotspot if you have waterfront access. You will probably need to carry insurance for these rentals, just to cover yourself in the event of an accident, but it might be worth the effort and expense.
Leasing the Hunting Rights to Your Land
Of course, one of the easiest and best ways to make money on your land, in our opinion, is to lease the hunting rights. There is a large market of people out there who want the flexibility and lower costs/responsibilities of leasing hunting land versus buying their own. So if you’re wondering how to make money from land ownership, this might be your favorite option too.
- Deer Hunting – many deer hunters wish they had their own farm or chunk of woods to call their own during the fall hunting season. If you have either and don’t like to hunt yourself, this is a great seasonal way to make a good side income. To make money from leasing land, be a little flexible with the lease agreement and let the lessees make improvements to the property, such as food plots, small timber cuts, or new trails.
- Turkey Hunting – if your property contains lots of mature oaks and farm field edges, you probably have a healthy population of turkeys. Let someone lease it specifically for turkey season in the spring. This can be someone different from the deer hunting lease since they occur in different seasons, which allows you to double up on the opportunities.
- Waterfowl Hunting – does your land have water sources on it or access to a waterbody? If so, you could potentially market your property as a waterfowl hunting lease. A planted crop field (maybe a field that a farmer is already renting from you) adjacent to water is a magnet for ducks and geese. If your property is in the right migration area/flyway, you could earn a lot of money from a waterfowl lease.
Start Making Money on Your Land
Now you know how to make money with a farm or land – in fact, we gave you several good ideas. Look at your property through each of these lenses and see if one or a couple make sense to you. Any financial wizard will tell you that your money should always work for you – the same is true about land. It is an asset in and of itself, but it can produce so much more if you use the right strategies.