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What's your side business?

Jeff Caldwell 11/01/2011 @ 12:28pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Sure, you may be running hard to get your crops in the bin now. But, once the bins are full and the equipment's in the shop for the winter, you may have time to get that side business you've been thinking about up and running.

Whether it's welding or other farm shop work or trucking and repair work for neighbors, there are a lot of possibilities for "side businesses" on the farm. Once fall harvest is in the books, farmers say it's a good time to take stock of what you can offer others and see how you might be able to turn it into another business opportunity on your farm.

"Identify something you like and are good at and try to find an aspect of it that would fit your question," says Farm Business Talk advisor Jim Meade / Iowa City. "The best job to apply for is one you identify and create yourself."

Have you got a shop full of tools and equipment? Try following Farm Business Talk senior contributor Nebrfarmr's lead and put it to work during your farm's "offseason."

"I do some welding, mechanic work and general construction/repair," he says. "I still am sort of 'on call' with some local guys who do construction and remodeling work, when they need another guy, or when one of them can't make it."

That's a fairly common one on a lot of farms. But, there are some other ways to add to your farm's income through less conventional means. While Farm Business Talk frequent contributor tree fmr jokes that fishing should count because it "puts food on the table," advisor Kay/NC says he's not far off.

"You may be joking, but some farmers around here make good fall and winter money guiding hunters for deer, ducks, etc.," she says. "I have a cousin who started quail hunting on some of his land, too. It calls for good liability insurance, but it can be done and can be fun."

But, don't be afraid to get out of your professional comfort zone in looking at other opportunities when your "real job" isn't taking up as much of your time. That may lie in places you wouldn't consider at first glance.

"Many, many years ago, I built Winnebagos in the winter," says Farm Business Talk senior contributor idalivered. "I know 3 farmers that are high school and college basketball referees."


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