This article shows you profitable agriculture business ideas for startups that you’d definitely enjoy, especially if you have a green thumb!
We are all looking for ways to earn money, aren’t we?
Starting an agricultural business would not be such a bad idea.
It may give you back pains, but investing in this area of business is a real money-making potential.
Below are some of the most efficient and best money-making agricultural business ideas you could start right now.
1. Startup Your Own Hydroponic Agriculture
Hydroponic agriculture is one of the best farming business ideas in the 21st century. Hence the name, it is basically growing your plants in a soil-less matter. In hydroponics, instead of soil, you will use nutrient-rich water to grow your plants.
The best thing about hydroponics is you don’t have to get yourself back pains by plucking out those weeds since it is natural for it not to have weeds.
Hydro farming has a lot of ways and methods to grow your plants. Here are the top 5 types of hydroponics you can use.
Top 5 methods of Hydroponics you can start now!
a. Wick System
The Wick System works based on the capillary action principle. It is the simplest setup since it is a passive system, meaning it has no moving parts.
Capillary action is the process of liquid flowing into a very narrow tube or a porous material. This movement does not need the use of gravity. In fact, it frequently works in opposition to gravity.
The wick system works by having a grow tray (where you grow your plants), a reservoir (where the nutrient filled water is kept), and the wicks (the thing that delivers the nutrient-rich water to your plants).
Things you need for wick system hydroponics:
- 2 containers (1 for the grow bed and the other for the water reservoir)
- Wick (numbers depend on how many plants you are growing. Preferably 2 for each plant.)
- Air pump
b. Drip System
The Drip System is one of the most commercially viable options, most profitable hobby farm ideas, and the most widely used hydroponic method in the world today.
Unlike the wick system, the drip system is an active hydroponic system – meaning, it needs a pump to deliver the nutrients to your plants.
As the name implies, the drip system delivers nutrient-rich water to the plants by using small emitters to drip the nutrients to them.
Things you need for the drip system hydroponics:
- 1 container (for your water reservoir)
- Pots (number depends on how many plants you have)
- Air pump
- Water pump
- pipe/ hose
- Skinny hose
- Timer (optional)
c. Deep Water Culture (DWC)
Deepwater culture or direct water culture grows plants in a well-oxygenated solution 24/7.
Deepwater culture is like no other hydro farming method wherein you have to water the plants on a regular basis
As the name suggests, deep water culture means that the plant roots are submerged deep in nutrient-rich water.
Things you need for deep water culture hydroponics:
- 1 container (for the water reservoir)
- Floating raft
- Air pump
- Growing media
- Net pots
Among all 6 types of hydroponics methods, the aeroponics system is the most technical.
Unlike other hydroponic systems, in aeroponics, plant roots are not kept in any growing medium but are instead hung in the air in a grow chamber in a closed-loop system. The roots are then sprayed with nutrient-rich water from time to time.
This is what makes the aeroponics growing system unique and more advanced than other hydroponics system methods.
Things you need for aeroponic farming:
- Water reservoir
- Water pump
- Mist nozzle
e. Vertical Hydroponics
If you do not have enough ground space to grow your plants, hydroponic vertical farming is the way to go.
Hydroponic vertical farming is the method of growing plants stacked on top of each other.
You pump nutrient-rich water to the top of the plant tower and let it drip down for the plants to consume.
Things you need for Vertical Hydroponics:
- A large PVC pipe (3” or greater diameter)
- End cap for the pipe
- A large bucket, minimum 5 gallons, with a lid
- Submersible pump
- Net pots
- Vinyl hose for the pump, ½ inch inner diameter
- Loctite PVC Epoxy
- LED Grow lights
Hydroponics Pros and Cons
- Plants Nutrient Intake
Unlike traditional soil gardening, you can control the nutrients your plants will take.
- No Pests and No More Weeding
Since hydroponics is indoor and is soil less, you wouldn’t need to be weeding and there will be little to no pests present in your setup.
- Less Spacious
Since you have control over the nutrient intake of the plants, you can place plants closer to each other than in conventional soil gardening, without the plants fighting for nutrients.
- Startup Cost
Compared to traditional soil gardening, setting up your hydroponics systems is more expensive.
The cost range depends on the method of aquaponics and the size of setup you will be doing.
- Vulnerable to Power Outages
Hydroponic farms, both active and passive setups, highly depend on electricity to power up their components like grow lights, water pumps and aerators.
Consequently, having a power outage will affect the entire system especially on active systems since they need water pumps to deliver water to the plants.
- Demands Constant Monitoring
Hydroponics systems require closer monitoring than traditional farming because problems in hydroponics affect plants quicker.
You also have to monitor if all system components are working perfectly fine. An example is if your water pump isn’t clogged or has to be cleaned.
Cost of starting
Setting up hydroponic farming costs around $2,000- $13,271 depending on:
- the size of your setup,
- the quality of the equipment you will use, and
- the type of hydroponic method you will use.
Some Existing Hydroponics Farm Business
2. Setup your Own Mushroom Farm/ Fungiculture
Mushroom farming is a very profitable agriculture business with a very low startup cost.
If you have a building that you want to dedicate to farming, mushroom cultivation could be a great small-scale farming idea for you as you could use this place for a mushroom growing room.
First of all, mushrooms are not a plant. They, in fact, belong to the fungi kingdom instead of the plant kingdom.
Unlike plants, which need the sunlight’s energy to develop, mushrooms get all their energy and growth materials from their growing medium.
Mushroom production will require the perfect temperature, humidity, and growth medium.
6 Steps to Mushroom Farming
a. Make the Mushroom Compost
In this part, you will have to make the mushroom compost.
Mushroom compost is basically made out of soil, straw, hay, and manure.
b. Finish the Compost
This is the part where you eliminate all insects, nematodes, pest fungi or other pests that are in the compost.
The ammonia produced during the first phase of composting must also be removed
This part is when you plant the seeds, except, with mushrooms, there are no seeds.
When mushrooms mature, they produce spores. These spores will germinate and will grow into mycelium which is used for the spawn.
There are many types of mushroom farming, examples are button mushroom cultivation, oyster mushroom farming, shiitake mushroom growing, etc.
Casing is the process of applying a thin 4-5cm layer of soil on top of your compost.
Doing this will increase your mushroom production significantly.
This is the part when your mushrooms start growing.
You will see numerous little pinheads which will eventually grow into mushrooms.
This is the 3-5 day period of harvesting which then will be followed by a few days when there will be no mushrooms to harvest.
This cycle will repeat itself multiple times until your compost maximizes its productivity.
After this, you will have to clean your grow room and get a new batch of compost to grow mushrooms.
For more detailed information, visit this website.
Cost of Starting
The estimated cost of starting a mushroom farm would be around $800.
Check out this website for more details.
Some Existing Mushroom Farms
3. Start Your Own Sunflower Farm
If you are located in a temperate country, sunflower farming would be a good agri business idea for you.
Sunflowers may be beautiful and all but, it is not the only reason people grow it.
Sunflower is one of the most important oilseeds and is the major source of vegetable oil in the world.
Steps in Sunflower Farming
- Start planting your sunflower seeds after the spring frost when the soil warmed up to at least 10 degrees celsius
- Choose a spot where there’s direct sunlight, sheltered from the wind, and a well draining and nutrient rich soil
- Sunflower seeds must be at least 1”-1 ½” deep in the soil and at least 6”-12” apart from each other.
- When sunflowers are still small, water about 3-4 inches from the plant. When plants grow taller, start watering deeply to encourage deep rooting. Do not over fertilize the flowers because it will cause the stems to break in the fall.
- Sunflowers are pretty much insect free but, watch out for birds and squirrels as they may show interest in the seeds. If you spot fungal disease in your plants, spray with general garden fungicide.
- When harvesting, cut the main stem just before the flower head. Harvest flowers early in the morning as doing it in the middle of the day may cause the flower to wilt
Visit the following website for additional information on growing sunflowers.
Cost of Starting
An estimated cost for starting a sunflower farm would be about $10,000 for 200 acres of land. This includes office supplies, telephones, bookkeeping, accounting, office utilities, and miscellaneous administrative charges.
For a more detailed estimate, check out this PDF.
Pros and Cons
- Sunflower seeds release a chemical which weeds don’t like, thus, lessening weed growth
- Sunflowers can help detox your soil from heavy metals.
- Obviously, sunflowers are beautiful, and have edible seeds.
- The chemical that sunflowers release does not only apply to weeds but apply to all plants. Meaning, sunflowers can kill other plants near them.
- Sunflowers’ seeds will attract squirrels and when they do, the squirrels might also target your other crops.
- Because of the sunflower’s nature of being tall and having big leaves and flower heads, this makes them easy to be blown over by strong winds.
For more information, you can visit this website.
Some Existing Sunflower Farms
4. Start Your Own Tilapia Farm
Most of us here love meat, am I right?
Thing is, they have loads of saturated fats and cholesterol which are very unhealthy and can kill us in the long run.
Well, that is not the case with tilapia. Tilapia may be rich in protein but saturated fats are minimal and cholesterol is made up of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Backyard tilapia farming could be quite a process but will be a very lucrative farming idea.
6 steps to raising tilapia
a. Finding the Perfect Space
Look for a spacious lot and make sure the soil is safe for the fish as it can affect their health and quality.
b. Plan, Design, and Construct Your Pond
Take into consideration the plumbing system as to how you will execute the filtration strategy to be practical and maximize space for your tilapia pond
c. Buy the Fish
Choose what kind of tilapia you want and at what size you want to buy them.
d. Feed the Fish
Feed your fish healthy pellets/ fish feed to grow big, healthy, and rapidly.
e. Harvest Fish
Do this with a net and at the right time as you want to satisfy your customers with quality fish.
f. Market the Fish
Sell your Product! If you provide high quality and healthy fish, the customer will take notice and will eventually look for you.
Cost of Starting
The estimated cost of tilapia farming could cost $3,000-$500,000 depending on the size and goal you are aiming for.
Pros and Cons
- Relief for wild aquatic animals
Overfishing has been a problem in the past decade. In fact, people go to such measures as to destroy the natural habitat of the fishes just to harvest wild aquatic animals.
With tilapia fish farming, we can produce a large number of fishes so people can consume more fish from aquaculture as a substitute for fishes from the wild.
- Can lower fish price
With an increased supply of fish, fish prices in the market will, without a doubt, drop significantly.
- Higher Omega-3 fatty acids
There are regions on the planet where people suffer from insufficient omega-3 fatty acid intake, and with fish being the main source of this acid, this problem can be solved.
- Use of antibiotics
For fish farms to be able to keep their fishes healthy, they use antibiotics which could sometimes affect the environment and people negatively.
- Use of growth hormones
Fish farmers often use growth hormones on fishes to be able to maximize the profit.
Although it’s not really clear yet, anti aquaculture claims that these growth hormones can harm people in the long run.
- Water pollution
Most of the time, all waste produced from aquaculture is just released to a nearby ocean, which contributes to degradation of water quality.
Some existing Tilapia Farms
5. Start Your Own Aquaponics System
Aquaponics is the amazing combination of Hydroponics and Aquaculture.
“How does this work?” you may ask.
Well, it’s simple.
It is like aquaculture where you care for the fish and feed them but, instead of throwing out all the fish waste, you will use all those to fertilize and feed the plants. In return, the plants clean the water making it healthy for the fish to live in.
And thus, the natural symbiotic relationship of fish and plants.
Setting up your own aquaponic farm is a very good and efficient agri business idea, like hitting two birds with one stone.
The 5 Steps to Aquaponics
Here are the 5 simple steps to grow an aquaponics farm:
1. Set up Your Fish tank/pond
Just like in aquaculture, you will plan and strategize the design of the plumbing and the aquariums.
Make sure to treat water and cycle it for a few days to remove harmful chemicals like chlorine before placing fish in it.
2. Build the Media Bed
All you need is a container to hold your pants and make sure water can pass through it.
Just like in hydroponics, there are many methods in setting up your aquaponics system. There is the vertical aquaponics, NFT, DWC, etc.
3. Add the Fish
Make sure there is enough space for the fishes, do not overcrowd them to maintain quality.
There are tons of fish you can use for aquaponics like tilapia, carp, goldfish, koi, pacu, etc.
4. Add the Plants
Just like in hydroponics, the plants you can use in aquaponics are limited.
Leafy greens and herbs like lettuce, kale, watercress, basil, mint, etc. are perfect for aquaponics
5. Maintain the System
Feed the fish regularly and always make sure everything is working.
Clean the filter media regularly and make sure the pump is not clogged.
For more details on growing an aquaponics farm, check out this website.
*The most important part of aquaponics is the system’s filtration, most specifically the biological filtration of your system.
Without the nitrogen cycle working in the system, the fish and plants will die.*
Cost of Starting
The estimated cost of setting up an aquaponic farm will be around $2,000- $15,000 depending on the size and quality you want.
For more information, visit this website.
Pros and Cons
- Environmental friendly
Since aquaponics uses fish poop to fertilize the plants, no more harmful fertilizers will be used.
Unlike aquaponics where waste is disposed of in nearby oceans, aquaponics makes use of this waste as fertilizers for plants.
- Organic Fertilizer
As mentioned above, aquaponics uses fish feces as organic fertilizers.
- Saves water
Believe it or not, but aquaponics uses 80-90% less water than traditional soil gardening.
- Limited crops
As mentioned above, crops grown in aquaponics are limited. Root vegetables such as potatoes and ginger cannot be grown in aquaponics.
- Initial cost
Aquaponics initial cost can be relatively high as you need to buy both the plants and the fish.
- High consumption of electricity
Aquaponics needs quite a lot of electronic devices such as water pumps and heaters (if needed) for the fish running 24h a day.
Some Existing Aquaponics Farms
6. Start an Animal Feed Business
Did you know rearing animals such as cows, cattle, poultry, and tilapia is in demand?
Why not provide feeds for the livestock farmers, right?
Entering the feed industry could be quite competitive, but is an innovative business idea.
The 6 Factors to Starting Animal Feeds Business
1. Target Market
Before starting the business, analyze your target market. Production methods for fish feeds are different to that of poultry, pig, and cattle feeds.
2. Market Research
Make a research on what animals your market has.
The plant and equipment of your animal feeds business will be the biggest expense in your initial cost. Higher quality equipment will produce higher quality animal feeds. But, you can also use custom designed equipment.
Choose a strategic location for your feed factory and make it close to your customers and suppliers.
5. Raw Materials
It is important that when you buy plant based materials, do it in harvest season to save money.
6. Feed Formula
Give a small budget for a professional opinion and employee training to further increase your feed quality.
Cost of Starting
The estimated cost of starting an animal feeds business is around $300,000 to $1,800,000.
For more details, check out this animal feed business plan PDF.
Pros and Cons
- Unlimited Income Potential
You will make more money as long as you use your strong business skills and if you put more time and energy into it.
- Simple Business Model
Building and launching an animal feed business will be smooth because of its simple model.
- Strong Demand
The demand for the animal feed business is increasing over the years so, take advantage of it!
- Crowded Space
It is important that you give time to analyze and understand the market as competition is high when it comes to feed production business.
The business could be demanding and may need you to be available 24/7.
- Equipment Failures
After a few years, some equipment may fail and fixing these could cost you so, be sure to save and prepare for these expenses.
Some Existing Animal Feed Company
7. Start an Organic Farming Business
Investing in organic farming is better than in conventional agriculture.
Organic farming uses very little to no pesticides in comparison with traditional agriculture, minimizes soil erosion, reduces nitrate drainage in groundwater and surface waters, and recycles animal waste back to the farm.
The only downside to this is the 25 percent less yields compared to conventional farming which will then make the product cost higher for the consumers. I believe this is still worth it because you will be assured that it will be good for your health.
The 7 Things to know in Organic Farming
1. Know The Basics of Organic Farming
Knowing the basics of organic farming business before setting it up is important as this can give hints of what you may expect and where you should be starting from.
2. Know the Site
The site should be near a clean water source as the irrigation process would be difficult to manage when it is far.
The farm’s distance to the market also plays a big role in the sustainability of the farm. The closer the farm to the market, the better, meaning you would be able to save transportation costs.
3. Know What Crops are Best for the Land
It is important to assess the condition of the site’s soil. This way, you will know what crops are and are not viable for the farm.
4. Know Your Market
It is very important to consider and know your market. Some agricultural products could not be as sellable to the certain area’s market as other places may be.
5. Prepare The Soil
Before starting to plant crops, you should always prepare the soil and compost beforehand. In this case, the compost you will be preparing should be organic as you are in the organic vegetable farming business.
6. Care for the Plants
Ofcourse, growing plants is not just an overnight job. You have to grow, care, and protect it.
Organic farming takes more time and attention compared to conventional agriculture as you will not be using that much fertilizer and pesticides.
7. Network with People
“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others” -Otto Von Bismarck
Nothing beats expert advice from an experienced organic farmer. We can all gain wisdom from others and learn to avoid the mistakes they made.
Cost of Starting
The estimated organic farming startup cost ranges from $3,000 to $42,000 depending on the size of your farm.
Pros and Cons
- Improvement of Health Levels
Since organic farmers avoid using chemical pesticides and other harmful elements in their farm, the vegetables they’re growing will be healthier than the traditional gardening.
- Less Soil Pollution
Organic farming uses natural fertilizers in growing vegetables, unlike in conventional farming practices, where chemical fertilizers and herbicides with harmful elements are used which can potentially pollute and damage the soil at one point in time.
- Organic Garbage can be Composted and Reused
Since organic farming does not use inorganic materials in growing vegetables, but instead uses natural and organic stuff, all natural material (like plant waste) can be composted and reused as natural fertilizers.
- It has Quite a Larger Startup Cost
Organic farming has a high expense of obtaining all of the necessary equipment and meeting the regulatory criteria required to declare and sell your products as organic.
- Not Suitable for Large Scale Farming
Organic agricultural yields are generally lower than traditional farming techniques since no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used.
- Pest Issues
Because organic farming does not use harmful pesticides, it may cause the spread of pests, and a significant portion of the harvest may be lost because of pests.
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