Simple Practices to Diversify Your Farm

October 29, 2020

By Ida Hand
District 14

Diversification--we have been hearing this word a lot lately. As large farms continue to grow and the small farms keep getting smaller, many farmers have to change the way they farm.

When I hear a farmer say that they need to diversify their farm in order to make it as a small farmer, many ideas come to mind such as planting cover crops, transitioning to organic farming, adding livestock, produce or horticulture.

As many studies show, incorporating cover crops into the farm will help with soil health, which will in turn help increase the yields on your farm.

Organic farming is a great way to diversify your farming operation. More and more farmers are transitioning due to the high demand for organic food. Organic farming is a way to increase your profit without having to increase acres. During our Young Leader Conference last February, I had the opportunity to hear two young farmers talk about their organic farms and how the acres were increasing every year due to landowners’ interested in organic farming.

Another way to diversify your farm is by adding livestock. Here in Montgomery County, you see more and more farmers increasing the amount of livestock they have. This is most often done by putting up confinement barns. We are also seeing a lot of farmers feeding cattle out and shipping them off to another state.

Adding produce to your farm is another great way to diversify your farm. If you have that one acre of land that you shouldn’t be farming, or space for a greenhouse, this is a convenient way to incorporate produce into your farm. You can sell these items to your local restaurants or at your local farmers market. Growing up, we had one acre of strawberries and sold them at our local farmers market to help add income to our farming operation. Horticulture is another great idea if you are interested in flowers or floral arrangements. These can also be sold at your local farmers market.

Diversifying your farm is very important for the future of farming. These are just a few ideas of how you can start diversifying your operation today.