Ag Alternatives

Whether you are currently in business or deciding to start an agricultural business, insurance should be part of your risk management strategy. Risk management can take many forms, including insurance, production diversification, and business structure. Insurance shifts some of the risk from the business to the insurance carrier.

Many small-scale and part-time farms may increase income by offering agritainment opportunities.

Golden Delicious Apples

Apples may be grown in many parts of the country and lend themselves well to part-time farming operations. Depending on the chosen production method, land preparation, and trees, initial investments may be considerable. However, this investment will be spread over a longer period of time than many crops, given an orchard lifetime of about 20 years.


Asparagus is a perennial crop that lends itself well to small-scale and part-time farming operations. Multiple markets exist for growers with five acres or less, and those field operations that require machinery may be custom-hired.

Beef cattle

Backgrounding is a beef production system that involves maximal use of pasture and forages from the time calves are weaned until they are placed in a feedlot.

Beef calf

On average, about 2.2 years elapse between breeding and the age at which heifer calves may be slaughtered. Producers may retain these calves for herd expansion or sell them, along with steers, to feedlot operators. The beef cow-calf business is well adapted to small-scale and part-time farmers who have land suitable for pasture and hay production.

Honey bees can be managed to produce large quantities of honey, beeswax, pollen, royal jelly, and propolis (a sticky resin collected from buds and used as a glue in the hive), they are even more valued for the major role they play in pollination, especially of our agricultural crops.

Many Pennsylvanians enjoy a variety of recreational activities involving horses, such as trail riding, participating in horse and pony clubs, and competing in shows and other events; however, they do not have the necessary facilities to house their animals.

Bobwhite Quail

Bobwhite quail are game birds indigenous to the United States. Their distinctive call, color, and flight patterns make them popular with hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. In Pennsylvania and other parts of the country, loss of natural habitats has created market demand for commercially bred birds, which are used to stock shooting preserves and wild areas.


Initial investment in a broccoli production operation is relatively low, and many field operations - such as land preparation, planting, and harvesting - can be custom hired. Equipment needs on a small-acreage farm are not very great, and most of the equipment can be used for other purposes.

Budgets are an invaluable tool for farm managers. Agricultural businesses and potential businesses should use budgets to project how profitable an enterprise may be or to analyze existing enterprises. The various types of budgets are used for different purposes and this publication provides information covering the most commonly used budgets in agriculture.


Cantaloupes (a common American name for muskmelons) are a crop that is well-suited to small-scale and part-time farms. There are multiple markets for growers with 5 acres or less, and many field operations - such as land preparation, planting, and harvesting - can be custom-hired.

Christmas tree production is an enterprise that many small or part-time farmers often consider as an option for their unused, open land. To avoid costly mistakes, however, it is important to carefully plan for the establishment and marketing of your potential Christmas tree crop.

El mercadeo es importante para todas las empresas agrícolas, sin tomar en cuenta su tamaño.

Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a concept designed to encourage relationships between consumers and growers and for consumers to become more knowledgeable about the way their food is grown.

Cooperatives (often referred to as “coops”) are an ancient concept where a group works together to meet common needs. This informal arrangement evolved over time into a formal business organization. Cooperatives have special status under tax laws in the United States and most other countries.

La carne del ganado caprino se consume ampliamente en todo el mundo, especialmente en los países en desarrollo.


Cucumbers lend themselves well to small-scale and part-time farming operations. Multiple markets exist for growers with fewer than 5 acres, and many field operations, such as land preparation, planting, and harvesting, can be custom hired.

Los pimientos se prestan bien a las operaciones agrícolas de pequeña escala y de tiempo parcial.

Flower Production

The specialty cut-flower business may fit well into a small-scale and part-time farming operation. New growers can control startup costs by entering the business slowly through increasing investment and production as their businesses and markets grow.