Agricultural Alternatives

The goal of the Agricultural Alternatives series is to help you evaluate all aspects of a given enterprise before you commit your time and money. Whether you are a full-time farmer looking to diversify or a part-time farmer looking to generate additional income from your property, there are many important issues to consider when selecting a new enterprise.

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Photo Credit: Alyssa A. Collins
Industrial Hemp Production - Articles Articles

Industrial Hemp Production

Gregory W. Roth, Ph.D., Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., Alyssa Collins, Ph.D., Lynn Kime, Heather E. Manzo

This publication focuses on growing industrial hemp for either seed or fiber on an agronomic crop farm with a typical complement of tillage, planting, and harvest equipment. More
Table Grape Production
Table Grape Production - Articles Articles

Table Grape Production

Lynn Kime, Steve Bogash

The initial investment for grapes can be high depending on the production method chosen, land preparation, and initial investment in the vines. More
Farmstead and Artisan Cheesemaking
Farmstead and Artisan Cheesemaking - Articles Articles

Farmstead and Artisan Cheesemaking

Sarah Cornelisse, Kerry E. Kaylegian, Ph.D., Lynn Kime, Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., Emily Montgomery

The renaissance of farm-based dairy processing can be attractive, but it is imperative that farmers research and plan all aspects of a new enterprise. More
Sweet Corn Ears
Sweet Corn Production - Articles Articles

Sweet Corn Production

Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., Michael Orzolek, Ph.D.

Initial investment is relatively low, and many field operations - such as land preparation, planting, and harvesting - can be custom-hired. More
Starting or Diversifying an Agricultural Business
Starting or Diversifying an Agricultural Business - Articles Articles
Small-scale farming can be a very satisfying lifestyle, but to be financially successful you also need to view your operation as a business. More
Farm House and Buildings
Owning and Leasing Agricultural Real Estate - Articles Articles
Land is the basic resource that distinguishes agriculture from most other types of businesses because it is required for the production of crops and livestock. More
Chukar
Partridge Production - Articles Articles

Partridge Production

Lynn Kime, Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., R. Michael Hulet

Partridge producers typically raise one of two distinct species, the chukar or the Hungarian partridge. More
Financing Small-Scale and Part-Time Farms
Financing Small-Scale and Part-Time Farms - Articles Articles
With newcomers to farming in mind, this article explores the available options for planning and financing a small-scale or part-time enterprise. More
Developing a Business Plan
Developing a Business Plan - Articles Articles
An important task in starting a new venture is to develop a business plan, which is a "road map" to guide the future of a business or venture. More
Pheasants
Pheasant Production - Articles Articles

Pheasant Production

Lynn Kime, Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., R. Michael Hulet

Professional game breeders in Pennsylvania produce one-half million commercial pheasants annually, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission also produces birds. More
Milking Sheep
Milking Sheep Production - Articles Articles

Milking Sheep Production

Virginia A. Ishler, Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D.

A profitable Pennsylvania sheep milk industry needs three components: customers, processors, and distributors. More
Beef Cattle in feedlot
Feeding Beef Cattle - Articles Articles

Feeding Beef Cattle

Lynn Kime, Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., John W. Comerford

Beef cattle feeding is possible on small and part-time farms, but the cost of feeding drops significantly as the size of the operation increases. More
Dairy Beef
Dairy-Beef Production - Articles Articles

Dairy-Beef Production

Tara L. Felix, Lynn Kime, Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., John W. Comerford

Production of high-quality dairy-beef is relatively new to the beef industry and depends almost entirely on Holstein bull calves. More
Dairy Heifers
Dairy Heifer Production - Articles Articles

Dairy Heifer Production

Jud Heinrichs, Virginia A. Ishler, Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., Lynn Kime

In most herds, dairy farmers replace 25 to 30 percent of the herd each year. These replacements represent a significant financial investment. More
Dairy Goat
Dairy Goat Production - Articles Articles

Dairy Goat Production

Robert J. Van Saun, DVM, MS, PhD, Lynn Kime, Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D.

Dairy goat production is an alternative livestock enterprise suitable for many small-scale or part-time livestock operations. More
Flower Production
Cut Flower Production - Articles Articles

Cut Flower Production

Thomas Ford, Lynn Kime, Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., Steve Bogash

The specialty cut-flower business may fit well into a small-scale and part-time farming operation. More
Budgeting for Agricultural Decision Making
Budgeting for Agricultural Decision Making - Articles Articles

Budgeting for Agricultural Decision Making

Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., Lynn Kime

The various types of budgets are used for different purposes and this publication provides information covering the most commonly used budgets in agriculture. More
Boarding Horses
Boarding Horses - Articles Articles

Boarding Horses

Donna Foulk, Lynn Kime, Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D.

Many people enjoy activities involving horses; however, they don't have the facilities to house their animals. More
Beekeeping - Honey Bees
Beekeeping - Honey Bees - Articles Articles

Beekeeping - Honey Bees

Maryann Frazier, Tom Butzler, Lynn Kime, Timothy Kelsey, Ph.D., Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D.

Honey bees can be managed to produce many products, but they are even more valued for the major role they play in pollination of agricultural crops. More
Beef Production
Beef Production - Articles Articles

Beef Production

Lynn Kime

Beef cattle is a major industry in PA with over 25,000 farms. More
Beef calf
Beef Cow-Calf Production - Articles Articles

Beef Cow-Calf Production

Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., H. Louis Moore, Ph.D., John W. Comerford

The beef cow-calf business is well adapted to small-scale and part-time farmers who have land suitable for pasture and hay production. More
Beef cattle
Beef Background Production - Articles Articles

Beef Background Production

Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., Lynn Kime

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. More
Agricultural Business Insurance
Agricultural Business Insurance - Articles Articles

Agricultural Business Insurance

Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., Lynn Kime

Risk management can take many forms, including insurance, production diversification, and business structure More
Red Deer
Red Deer Production - Articles Articles

Red Deer Production

Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D., Lynn Kime

Potential producers will need to be very active in marketing their product and be aware of the special handling requirements involved with deer. More
Bedded white-tailed deer
White-tailed Deer Production - Articles Articles
White-tailed deer farming has become an established and growing industry over the past two decades. More
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