If you want to earn good money through agriculture, you need to take a look at this list of the best cash crops with the highest profit per acre. Agriculture can be a profitable business for everyone especially now when organic food and various super foods are a top trend in the world. Starting a business might be just an idea away from you and in case you need one, check out our article on 11 Most Profitable Agricultural Business Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs. Two years ago, an article entitled “What nobody told me about small farming: I can’t make a living” raised concerns about the sustainability of farmers. Soon afterwards, this side of the story was dismantled by Brent Preston, organic farmer and author of “The New Farm: Our Ten Years on the Front Lines of the Good Food Revolution“.
According to Brent Preston, one of the biggest mistakes involving farming includes differentiating it from other businesses. Production and marketing are essential for successful business including that of growing cash crops. Cash crop farming, also known as cash cropping or commercial farming, is farming that includes growing so called cash crops with the purpose of earning money. Crop selection is based on a couple of factors including location and size of the farm, marketability and profitability of a certain crop. The choice of most profitable plants to grow and sell depends a lot on the so called “biotic factor” which refers to living organisms such as insects, pests, weeds, disease pathogens and ruminant animals that can impact the plant’s growth and development. Some crops are more susceptible than others and it is important to investigate a little bit before starting a business. With the advancement of technology, almost anything can grow in a greenhouse and some of the cash crops from our list are among the most profitable cash crops for greenhouse. For example, many herbs, including basil, are best grown in a controlled environment such as greenhouses.
You should also consider topographic features such as physical and chemical properties of the soil, prevailing climate type, humidity as well as adaptability of a certain crop. It is logical that the most profitable cash crop in India will differ from that in the US. Even if you read discussions on this topic it is hard to pinpoint what agricultural crop is most profitable per acre. Depending on the location, some of the most profitable cash crops in India include: rice, cotton, daal (lentils) as well as various types of flowers. Since this article focuses mainly on highest profit per acre, it is a must to consider crop marketability and profitability hence the crop should be in a (considerably) high demand. If this part is done right, your future business will be another proof that there is good money in agriculture. High profit cash crops can take up a different amount of land. For example price for tomatoes is not that big per pound but if you have a lot of land, quantity will definitely give you good money. Tomato might not be the best cash crop for 1 acre but some other cash crops from our list, such as garlic or gourmet mushrooms do not need much space to grow and the profit is great. If you have a small farm or only 1 acre or land, a lot of cash crops from this list will be a good choice for you. Besides agriculture, raising livestock can also be a good business, so you may want to check our article on 11 Most Profitable Livestock to Raise in 2017.
In order to compile this list of the best cash crops with the highest profit per acre, I took a look at our older list of most expensive specialty crops in the world and checked the profit of these crops. Also, I read an LA Times article on growing hemp and making money out of it. With so many healthy recipes that include hemp products, it made sense that demand for hemp is growing. I’ve investigated a little bit about the growth of goji berries in America and it turns out that those who succeed can earn A LOT of money per acre. It was more than enough to place these super berries on our list. While scooping around various websites about agriculture I found out about the profit made by growing willows, tomatoes, rapeseed, etc. After a thorough investigation, we present you the list of 10 best cash crops with the highest profit per acre. Despite the fact that it is logical to rank these cash crops according to profit per acre it is very hard to find reliable data on actual profit for every crop, possibly because a lot depends on the region, climate and quality of the soil and seeds. Thus we decided to provide you with data we found but without ranking the crops since a lot depends on environmental circumstances.
Don’t worry it’s legal and very profitable to grow hemp. Difference between marijuana and hemp is quite significant but many people mistake them. Both belong to the same plant species, Cannabis sativa L. but by definition, industrial hemp is high in fiber and low in THC (tetrahydrocannabiol) which is the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. For example, the European Union strictly regulates THC levels of industrial hemp requiring it to be less than 0,3% whereas levels of THC in marijuana range from 3 to 30%. One acre of hemp can yield around 700 pounds of grain (which can be turned into 22 gallons of oil) or 5,300 pounds of straw which can be turned into fiber. Five gallon bucket of hemp oil costs around $150 and potential returns for hemp fiber range from $170 (low yield) to $759 (high yield) per acre.
Number nine on our list of best cash crops with the highest profit per acre is Canola that literally transforms farmer’s fields to gold. Often mistaken with one another, rapeseed and canola belong to the cabbage or mustard family. What’s the difference between canola and rapeseed? Canola was created through plant breeding in order to get rid of two undesirable components of rapeseed: glucosinolates and erucic acid. However, sometimes rapeseed is divided into two categories: industrial rapeseed and canola. Anyhow, canola is lower in saturated fats than any other vegetable oil making it a very healthy choice for cooking. According to data we found, profit is $10,75 per bushel or around $430 per acre.
8. Gourmet Mushrooms
Growing gourmet mushrooms is a very profitable business which is why we dedicated one of our articles to 10 most profitable gourmet mushrooms to grow. According to this article, oysters and shiitake are two of the easiest gourmet mushrooms to grow because they can grow on various “waste products” such as sawdust and straw but farmers usually use logs for cultivating these mushrooms. According to Kigli Farms, on a per acre basis, mushrooms are unbeatable simply because they are fungi rather than plants and as such do not require sunlight for growth. For example, USDA producer price for fresh shiitake is from $4 to $5.50 per pound while according Mushroom People, the price for shiitake ranges from $5 to $16 per pound.
Lavender is a truly a sweet smell of success. This fragrant Mediterranean plant requires the right climate to thrive (mild winters and sunny summers) but it is grown in various states across the US. According to lavender lovers, Everything Lavander, states with the largest number of lavender farms are California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Texas. If you add some extra efforts, you can turn beautiful lavender flowers into lavender bags, aromatherapy oil, lavender soap and many other beauty products. According to some data, during the peak harvest, yearly profit per acre is around $34,000. Let’s see what’s next on our list of best cash crops with the highest profit per acre.
Willow one of the best cash crops with the highest profit per acre, can find its place on the market in many forms. It has a high bio mass potential because it yields more biomass per acre than any other hardwood and it can be used for basketry and furniture as well. Willow needs significantly fewer pesticides than other crops and while it thrives in deep soil rich with water, it is also very resistant to other conditions as well. One acre of well-managed willow can produce 4 to 5 tons of marketable rods. Prices for basketry willow range from $6,50 to $10 per pound and even more for processed rods.
It doesn’t matter if you like the taste of garlic or not, you can definitely earn some good money by growing it. Garlic is divided into two basic categories: softneck and hardneck garlic and you can choose which one to plant according to the area and climate where you live. Softneck garlic is better for warmer climates while hardneck garlic is suitable for northern farmers. According to some studies, average yield per acre is between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds and yearly profit per acre is around $80,000 what makes this crop one of the best cash crops with the highest profit per acre .
Growing various herbs and plants we use for spices can be very profitable, which is why they are on the best cash crops with the highest profit per acre list. We will give you the example of the culinary classic, basil. Basil is pretty easy to grow but it is very sensitive to cold weather. According to NC State Extension website, large producers who grow basil for oil, plant around 30,000 to 35,000 plants per acre. Leaf yields range from 1 to 3 tons per acre (dried) and for fresh leaves the range is even larger (6 to 10 tons). According to gardening forums, prices for basil vary from $12 to $32 per pound, depending on the type of basil with Italian basil having the lowest price.
Tomatoes are a proof that you don’t have to grow something exotic to have a good profit. While a lot of suggestions on our list of 10 best cash crops with the highest profit per acre involve exotic plants, tomatoes are “ordinary” profitable crops which anyone can plant. According to New Leaf records, profit per acre in 2002 was $45,000 and in 2003 it was $27,000. This data clearly shows that it is very hard to determine the exact profit per acre since it changes every year. Western Farm Press published a very interesting article about a phenomenon in California in 2009 when yields per acre were as high as 75-80 tons. It was a truly amazing year for harvest. Prices vary but are usually $2-$3 per pound.
2. Goji Berries
Goji berries (sometimes called wolfberries) are one of the newest superfood trends. Originally grown in China, goji berries are successfully grown in the US as well (mainly in Utah and Iowa). They can be consumed fresh, as a juice or dried (more common). In China, goji berries were used to improve longevity and to treat diabetes and impaired sight. Price for dried organic goji berries is around $20 or more per pound. Maximum yields in China are 7000 Ib/acre but this number can be significantly lower in the US because of different climate and less experience with growing goji berries. At the same time, prices can be raised pretty high because interest in buying American-grown, organic goji berries is growing.
Ginseng has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and it has found its place in the US as well. Ginseng supplements are made from the ginseng root and root hairs. It can be used to fight off infections, improves heart health, decreases LDL cholesterol levels and it is believed that it can improve athletic performance and help with erectile dysfunction. Growing ginseng is not that simple but the prize is definitely worth it. According to Larry Harding, Maryland-based ginseng farmer, he earns (depending on weather conditions) between $250,000 and $1 million a year. If you are interested in agriculture it’s definitely worth considering planting one of these 10 best cash crops with the highest profit per acre. Who knows, you could be the next millionaire.