Teen Entrepreneurs on the Farm

Dora Ann Hatch  |  4/26/2017 3:02:04 PM

As summer approaches many teens begin applying for summer jobs to earn extra income. For those teens lucky enough to live on a working farm, they may not have to complete a job application. Instead, they will need to develop a business plan to present to their parents.

Helping parents with diversification on the family farm could win a summer job where you set your own hours and determine your own profits. Depending on the assets of the farm, some of the ideas listed below may be more practical than others because of the type of farm or location of the farm.

First idea, do you have land where a recreational vehicle could park for some off-road camping? Offering a quiet location, free from the traffic and noise of other campers might be an opportunity to earn a little extra cash. If you have a pond nearby for fishing or a forest for hiking that might increase your chances to rent a spot.

Second, if your family farm has fresh produce consider home deliveries copied after home delivery services like “Hello Fresh” and “Blue Apron.” These services provide a box which contains everything you need to make a meal for your family. Use that concept and create a vegetarian box. Make up a menu based on the vegetables from your garden. Provide the subscriber with a menu, recipe and the vegetables needed to make the recipe. Deliver the box to the front door along with a list of next week’s menu.

Third, does your farm have small animals? If so, you might want to get into the party business. Select a favorite children’s book about farm animals and read the story to the children and show them the “real life” animals in the farm book. Provide additional information on the name of the animal’s gender, what they like to eat, and about the role they play on the farm. Play some games, offer a snack and you have just planned a party.

Fourth, grow flowers. Sell them straight from the field or set up a stand at the farmers market. Either way, you will be surprised at how popular flowers are. In Louisiana, you must have a florist license to design a floral arrangement, but you can sell flowers by the stem from a bucket as long as you do not arrange them. In other words, they must not look like they came from an FTD florist. I suggest cutting the flowers with a long stem, placing one color in each bucket and providing tissue paper and twine for the customer to wrap their selections in to carry home.

Popular flower selections to consider are sunflowers and zinnias. Sunflowers are easy to grow, can only be picked once and are perfect if you opt for a self-harvesting operation. Customers might also be interested in having family pictures made in a field of sunflowers.

Zinnias come in all face sizes and should be harvested by the farmer, so that the plant can continue to put on more flowers after each cutting. These are perfect for the farmers’ market booth.

If you decide to pursue any of the ideas for summer income, please contact me, Dora Ann Hatch, LSU AgCenter’s agritourism coordinator, at (318) 927-9654 x 299 or e-mail me at dhatch@agcenter.lsu.edu or log onto our website: www.lsuagcenter.com/agritourism

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