So, you are the proud owner of one acre of land, or you are thinking of buying one, but you are not sure what to do with it? Perhaps you want to make money off of your plot but not sure how. Here’s a list of things that can help get your ideas flowing.
Although one acre is not a large area compared to professional farms, it can still make you a decent income if utilized right. In this article, I present 15 ways you can make money on one acre of land. Some are more profitable than others, but they are all realistic. Hopefully, one of them will appeal to your preferences.
Table of Contents
1. Sell The Land
Perhaps you inherited the land and have no desire to manage it. Or maybe the land is located in a valuable area, where you may get more out of selling it than attempting to make it pay. While you will only get paid once (as opposed to any of the other options below), that income can be invested and potentially provide a long-term passive income stream.
How Much Is Your Land Worth?
Even if you don’t plan on selling, it’s still a good idea to get an estimate of its value. On AcreValue, you can compare your property to preciously sold land in your area. That should give you a very rough estimate of the land’s worth. If the number is somewhat within a price range that may entice you to sell, you can contact an appraiser who will give you a more precise estimate.
2. Become Self-Sufficient
Self-sufficiency is not exactly making you money, but it is saving you money, which from an accounting standpoint is different but has the same effect on your finances.
On just one acre, you can grow enough food to feed a family of four. You may have to grow a limited selection of high-yield foods if you plan on feeding multiple people on your lot. In contrast, it is entirely feasible to provide a wider selection of vegetables and fruits for fewer people.
Starting a small-scale self-sufficient farm is not a particularly expensive venture. You will need vegetable seeds and perhaps fruit tree saplings, plus several gardening tools. To grow your own food, you will need water on the property, which could be your biggest initial investment. Having electricity on the property will also make things easier but is not a necessity. Solar panels or a generator may be sufficient if you wish to use electric power tools such as a weed whacker or wood chipper.
How Much Can You Make by Being Self-sufficient on 1 Acre?
Producing your own food will pay very well. Not just because food can be expensive, but also because you don’t pay taxes on what you save. Another advantage compared to income-generating projects is that you will know how much you will be able to make/save without depending on finding customers and negotiating prices.
The average American household spends $6,602 on food per year. By producing all or most of your food, you should be able to save a similar amount, depending on your current food budget.
If self-sufficiency seems appealing to you, check out this comprehensive article on how much land you will need to become self-sufficient at different levels of luxury and variation.
3. Produce Food and Sell it
Besides producing for yourself, you can also grow food to sell. You can sell it to shops or directly to consumers through farmers’ markets or by having a roadside stand. You can also provide locals an opportunity to pick their own fruits or vegetables from your land. Many families enjoy picking their own food while showing their children where the food they eat comes from.
Consider dividing the property into four lots, each with a different type of crop for efficient rotation. Alternatively, you can change crops every year in four-year intervals. Sticking to just a few crop types will still allow you to specialize somewhat.
Here are a few examples of foods that can be produced for profit on one acre:
- Herbs: Many herbs are very easy to grow. It can either be sold in pots or dehydrated and sold as dried herbs. You can also make your own brand of herb mixes.
- Chickens and eggs: One acre is more than enough for a very large flock of chickens. You can sell chicken meat or eggs at a roadside stand or to friends and family.
- Honey: On one acre, there really is no practical upper limit to how many hives you can keep. It’s more a matter of how many hives you have the time to manage. Even a few hives can make several hundreds of pounds of honey worth thousands of dollars.
- Goat cheese: An acre of land can sustain about five to eight goats on pasture. Although, goats need much less land if they are provided supplementary feed. While goat milk is not very popular, you can produce and sell goat cheese.
How Much Can You Make from Selling Homemade Food Products?
This will depend entirely on what you produce. Don’t expect to be able to compete with industrial farmers. To make a profit, you should focus on quality over quantity. Many consumers are willing to pay a premium if they know the food has been produced by farmers who care about their products.
4. Grow Flowers
One great upside to selling flowers is that you don’t have to abide by food safety standards and storage regulations. Another upside to growing flowers is that your land will become a beautiful sea of colors. Growing flowers is not as easy as it may seem, and you will have to put some time and energy into producing good products, but it may be well worth the effort.
You can sell flowers to florists or local businesses. But you can also sell directly to customers through your own florist webshop, farmer’s markets, or a farm stand.
How Much Can You Make Flower from Production?
Depending on the types of flowers and how you sell them, you should be able to gross $25,000 to $30,000 from one acre.
5. Produce Seeds
I’m not talking about selling seeds to industrial farmers, which requires an entirely different business model. But producing and selling heirloom and rare vegetable seeds to private customers can bring in a very decent income. It does take some work to collect and package the seeds, but you can make a lot of money from selling these small seed packets.
You can sell seeds to local shops or set up your own little stand on your land, but selling seeds online can be a particularly lucrative business. If you can get a brand going and a reputation as a trustworthy seller of quality and rare products, backyard gardeners will flock to your shop. People happily pay well for seeds of particularly popular and rare vegetable strains known for their beauty or taste.
How Much Can You Make from Seed Production?
This highly depends on what sort of seeds you are producing and how good a marketer you are. The income could be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands.
6. Start a Nursery
Seedlings and plants are harder to ship than seed packets, but running a nursery can be very profitable and require less work on your part. One acre is plenty of space to grow many plants that can be sold to consumers or to other nurseries.
Running a nursery can be a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be, if you specialize in just a few types of plants.
How Much Can You Make from a Nusery?
As with seed production, the income will vary greatly depending on what you produce and how you sell it. If you want maximal return, look into which plants are easy to grow in your area and highly sought after.
7. Produce Eletricity
Depending on your location, placing solar panels or wind turbines on parts of your one-acre land can potentially be profitable. First, you will save on your own electricity bill, but you can potentially sell your surplus electricity if you grow it big.
While even one entire acre of solar panels or wind turbines is rarely enough to become a utility company, you can often sell it to the grid, meaning you get paid by your electric company for the power you provide. This is done through your power meter in the form of power credits that are used when you draw from the grid. In some states, you can redeem any surplus credits for cash and thereby get paid for your power.
How Much Can You Make from Electricity Production?
You will likely not make a lot of money from selling your surplus power, as there may be a cap on how much you are allowed to sell – making it uneconomical to place solar panels on your entire acre. But being self-sufficient in power can in itself be a significant financial gain. And you can use the rest of your one acre to profit in other ways, such as those suggested in this article.
8. Make Community Gardens
Divide your plot up into multiple little lots of various square feet each and rent them out to individuals and child care institutions. This is an excellent option if you live not too far from a city where many people living in apartments wish to grow their own little patch of land.
You will need to supply water and decide how to cover this expense. Should water be included in the rent, or will you pay to add a water meter for each lot? You can also charge communally for water by adding a surcharge that will be partly returned on an annual basis if the water use is lower than expected. Getting water to your property may be your biggest initial investment.
How Much Can You Make from a Community Garden?
Community gardens are affordable, making it a great way for people of low income to enjoy gardening. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make money because there can be multiple little lots on one acre, which all add up.
Renting a community garden lot typically costs $40 per 100 square foot per year. Assuming 20% of your one-acre property is set aside for pathways, common area, etc., that makes just under 350 lots of 100 square feet or $14,000 in annual turnover.
9. Build Vacation Rentals
Assuming you will be able to get the right permits, you can build one or several little vacation rentals on your one-acre. This can be a high initial cost, but you can potentially make a very decent income if the location is attractive. And having all the rentals on the same plot makes it easy for you to manage.
Rentals that are affordable and relatively easy to make are:
- Log cabin: About $20,000 for a 200 square foot cabin
- Yurt: About $9,000 for a 16 feet diameter (201 sq. ft.) yurt
- Container house: About $40 per square foot if you build it yourself.
Getting utilities to your rentals will add several thousand to the initial investment, depending on location.
How Much Can You Make from Vacation Rentals?
Your location will greatly determine the price and occupancy rate of your vacation rentals. Assuming a 50% occupancy rate at $100, that equals an annual gross income of $18,250 per rental.
10. Produce Timber or Firewood
If your one-acre property is part of a forest, selling wood is an option. One acre is not much in terms of timber production. Still, you may potentially get a forestry company to pay you for harvesting all the wood, which could potentially (depending on the type of wood) bring in a noticeable one-time income. You can also maintain the forest and sell off firewood in a sustainable manner.
How Much Can You Make from Firewood Production?
A sustainable wood harvest will typically produce one half to one cord per year, depending on forest type, tree species, soil quality, etc. Meaning it may not be worth it as a business considering the little income and the labor involved. But you could save some money by heating your own home with wood.
Alternatively, you can also set up a roadside firewood stand. Selling firewood in smaller amounts allows you to charge a much higher price per cord. Selling wood by the bundle will require more work on your part, but you should be able to make about $700 per cord.
Read more about firewood here: How much land do I need to grow firewood?
11. Grow Christmas Trees
Every year 25 to 30 million Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone, and the demand is growing. Christmas tree production can be very profitable and enjoyable. You can cut the trees yourself and distribute them to shops, but you can also sell directly to customers – some of whom will be happy to cut their own trees.
Any trees that grow too big or which are not aesthetically appealing can be used or sold as firewood. While conifer is not the most efficient type of firewood, it makes a cozy crackling sound when burning, making a really homey atmosphere.
How Much Can You You Make Growing Christmas Trees?
According to Profitable Plants Digest, you can grow 1,500 Christmas trees on one acre, although many growers divide their acreage into eights for continuous year-to-year planting and harvesting. Those 200 trees should sell for a total of about $15,000.
12. Lease it to a Farmer
One acre is too little land for a farmer to bother going out of his way to bring his machinery there, but if your plot is good farmland and located right next to a larger field, you may be able to rent it out to the farmer.
How Much Can You Make from Renting out One Acre of Land?
An acre of farmland can be rented out for an average of $140 per year, ranging from $32.50 to $423, depending on the location. This will not make you wealthy, but it could cover your property taxes on the plot while you wait for it to appreciate or until you are ready to use it for something else.
If you plan on renting out your land, make sure to use a formal lease and read it through to avoid misunderstandings.
13. RV and Motorhome Storage
Many RV owners need a place to store it when not in use. These things take up a lot of space and are not very presentable in a driveway, so they are often parked in a lot somewhere.
If you set up a solid fence and surveillance cameras, you can offer outdoor RV storage for $30 to $100 per month per RV, depending on location and competition. Make sure you have the necessary permits and sufficient insurances when storing people’s often valuable property.
How Much Can You Make from Storing RVs?
An RV takes up about 350 square feet of parking space on average. Add 20% for roads to each lot, and one acre can hold 100 RVs. In which case, a very popular 1-acre RV storage can generate $3,000 to $10,000 in monthly turnover.
14. Set up a Campsite
Perhaps you prefer your one-acre plot to remain a part of nature, in which case campsites can make you some money with very little initial investment.
You can offer bare camping land at a low price for those who like to rough it, or you can build toilet facilities and other utilities, benches, campfire sites, etc. If the plot is located by a lake, stream, or the sea, you could also rent out kayaks and boats.
How Much Can You Make Running a One-acre Campsite?
This will depend on location in particular, but also how much you invest into developing the land. The more services you offer, the more you can charge. Consider writing a business case that calculates return on investment (ROI) for various improvements. It may be well worth spending a few hundred dollars and a few days’ work on building campfire sites and camping shelters.
15. Produce Wool
According to self-sufficiency expert, John Seymor An acre of grassland can easily support five sheep on pasture, although you may have to provide supplementary feed during the winter. Sheep can produce from 2 to 30 pounds of wool a year.
If you are a bit more adventurous, perhaps alpaca is more interesting to you. Alpaca wool is stronger, softer, and warmer than merino sheep’s wool.
How Much Can You Make Running from Wool?
At a market price of just under $2 per pound, you will not make a lot of money selling raw wool. But you can significantly increase its value if you spin the wool and sell it as yarn. Just one pound of wool can become up to 10 miles of yarn or over 70 miles of yarn per average sheep.
Spinning yarn with a drop spindle can be fun but also very labor-intensive. But with a spinning wheel, this goes a lot faster and can be done while you listen to a podcast, watch a video, or have a conversation. Here is a great guide on how to use a spinning wheel.
To make money from yarn production, focus on producing a high-quality product. You can not compete with industrial farmers on price, but you can offer a unique product that customers are willing to pay extra for
Do What Makes You Happy
Regardless of what you chose to do to make money on your one-acre land, make sure it is something that will either mostly care for itself or you enjoy managing it. You probably don’t want a “job” but an income stream.
To paraphrase Mark Twain: “Do what you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”