Many farmers are looking for a way to produce extra income on the farm. Sometimes adding a small-scale cash crop can help increase farm profits, or even become a major source of on-farm income. Here are 3 crops worth considering as an add-on or main crop for your farm:
Gourmet mushrooms. Mushrooms can be an ideal second crop for Canadian farmers, as they are grown indoors and produce a high return per square foot. The two gourmet mushrooms varieties with the largest demand are oyster and shiitake. Oyster mushrooms can yield up to 25 pounds per square foot of growing area every year. At an average price of $7 a pound, a 10 x 10 space can generate $17,500 in a single year. Oyster and shiitake can be dried, or sold fresh, allowing for flexibility in distribution and timing.
Garlic. The 3 types of gourmet garlic can provide a great boost to farm revenue. Rocambole, Purplestripe and Porcelain varieties offer superior flavor and command a premium at retail. These gourmet varieties can sell for as much as $10 a pound. In good soil, an acre planted with garlic can yield 15,000 pounds. Garlic is a hearty crop that tolerates a wide range of soil and weather conditions, and that’s why many growers rely on it to provide dependable income year in and year out.
Herbs. The biggest herb demand is for fresh culinary herbs. Growers can supply customers directly at farmer’s markets to maximize revenues. A great way to add value is to package 4 herbs into a windowsill size herb garden. Dried culinary herbs can also be packaged to sell at the farmer’s market, extending shelf-life. With hundreds of choices, including a broad range of ethnic herbs for serious cooks, growers can focus on mainstream and niche herbs to cater to a variety of clients.
If you are ready to start or expand your farm, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help you find funding. Use our funding finder tool:
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Organic crops are produced without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or fungicides on land that has been free of these chemicals for at least 3 years. Animal products fed organic grains and forage, synthetic hormones, antibiotics, and drugs can be considered organic.
In order to be considered organic, a producer must be certified by the appropriate certification body in keeping with the Canada Organic Regime.
Land Transition Requirements:
In order to use land fro organic crops, the land must be tended for 36 months with no prohibited inputs (fertilizer, herbicide, etc) before organic status.
Under the Canadian system, new applicants who wish to market organic field crops must apply for certification 15 months prior to the expected marketing date. Existing clients wishing to add new land to their certification must ensure that the land is managed according to the Canadian regulations for at least 12 months prior to certification. The European Equivalency Agreement which came into effect July 2011 now recognizes as organic any product certified under the Canadian system.
Livestock Transition Requirements:
There is a one-year transition for livestock to become organic breeding stock. Breeding stock cannot be sold for organic slaughter. Offspring from organic breeding stock is eligible for organic slaughter. If conventional or transitional livestock are managed organically from the start of their third trimester of gestation, then the offspring is eligible for organic slaughter.
Dairy cattle have a one year transition before the milk produced is eligible for organic status. Poultry must be under organic management beginning no later than the second day of life.
Organic certification can be a great way to drive revenue growth on a new or existing farm.
If you are ready to consider becoming an organic certified producer, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help find funding. Find funding at:
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