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21 Most Profitable Cash Crops to Grow for Small Farm Owners

Identifying and selecting profitable cash crop plants to grow is the most crucial factor in a successful commercial farming business. Cash crops are simply plants that are grown or managed, harvested, and sold for cash rather than for sustenance. In earlier times cash crops were usually only a small part of a farm’s total yield.

Today especially in developed countries, almost all crops are mainly grown for revenue and export. In developing countries, many traditional farmers continue to adopt their old farming practices. But in developed countries, intensive cultivation and mechanized farming are common.

In the United States, more than 90% of total farmlands are handled by small farm owners

The cash crop costs are majorly determined by the commodity markets with a global scope. The price of cash crops is dictated by many factors such as the number of competitors, supply, and demand, development of new products, promotional campaigns, and agribusiness cycles. The climate also plays a major role.

The plant to be grown can be decided mainly based on its marketability and profitability aspect. Crop and variety selection is the first consideration in starting or developing the farm. The right decision in the selection of plants to be grown will ultimately convert into a successful farming venture.

Factors to Consider Before Selecting Type of Cash Crop Plants To Grow

  • A thorough inspection of climate, biotic factor, and topographic features are important. The biotic factor refers to living organisms including ruminant animals, insects, and other pests, disease pathogens, and weeds. The topographic features of the land like elevation, slope, and terrain as well as the physical and chemical properties of the soil such as texture, color, organic matter content, pH, and fertility levels will determine the crops that are naturally suited.
  • The crop and the variety to be grown should be selected based on their adaptability to the prevailing conditions on the farm. You can get information from the neighboring farmers who are already in the same crop farming.
  • In selecting profitable cash crop plants to grow, you must consider the marketability and financial viability of that particular plant. Simply the crop to be selected must be high yielding.
  • You must know the techno-commercial aspect of the crop that you are selecting for your farm.
  • You will need to decide on the farming method. Whether you will go for purely crop farming or integrated with livestock animals.
  • Security is another aspect, you must consider carefully. You will need to protect the crop from thievery.

List of 21 Best Cash Crops for Small Farms

Find below, some of the best cash crops that a small farm owner can grow to make a high profit:

#1 Lavender

Lavender is considered a profitable cash crop plant to grow globally. Climate and soil conditions play a major role in lavender farming. Lavender needs full sun and cold weather with maximum humidity.

#2. Cactus

Cactus is one of the most favorable items as a plant decor item. This is ideal for tabletop gardens, and many plants can coexist happily in the same container. Creating and selling cactus arrangements is a very profitable and self-rewarding business to start. Additionally, you can initiate from a home location with low startup capital.

#3. Cotton

Cotton is one of the most important fibers and is considered a profitable cash crop plant to grow. It plays a dominant role in the industrial and agricultural economy. It provides the basic raw material (cotton fiber) to the textile industry.

#4. Flowers

Different variety of flowers is considered profitable cash crop plants to grow. Flower farming is also a perfect home-based business that can be initiated with small startup capital. Choosing the right variety as per your climate and soil is important in getting success in the flower farming business.

Suggested ReadCrop Rotation Information Guide For Farmers

#5. Ginger

Ginger is considered a profitable commercial cash crop plant to grow. It is popular for its aromatic rhizomes which are used both as spice and medicine. Commercially ginger is found in various forms like dry ginger, raw ginger, blanched ginger, ginger oil, ginger candy, ginger beer, etc.

#6. Garlic

Garlic is easy to grow and it can be grown in many different soil types and climates. Selecting the right variety is important in garlic farming. Garlic is a high-yield crop and garlic farming can be initiated with small startup capital, provided you have sufficient land.

#7. Grapes

To be profitable in grapes farming, you need to go with a long-term plan and substantial capital investment. The demand for grapes by wineries is increasing rapidly worldwide. Upgraded techno-commercial aspects have made grapes one of the most profitable cash crop plants to grow.

#8. Herbs

Many different types of specialty herbs are very popular for their medicinal value. Selecting the right herb and creating the right marketing strategy is the most crucial factor in herbs farming. Some of the profitable herbs are Chives, Cilantro, Oregano, Chamomile, etc.

#9. Horticulture Plants

Horticulture plants like fruits and vegetables are commercially profitable cash crop plants to grow.  The main factor to profitability with these crops is to know which varieties perform best under the growing conditions in a particular area

#10. Indoor Microgreens

Microgreens are tiny edible plants that are older than a sprout, but younger than a full-grown plant. Microgreens are harvested after the first “true” leaves have developed. They are the smallest of the salad greens and can be grown from almost any plant variety that would produce a mature plant, such as beet, radish, or mustard.

#11. Bamboo

Bamboo is one of the most widely used landscaping plants. It is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. They can grow up to four inches a day and you can harvest your bamboo forest for over 40 years.

#12. Medicinal Plants

Growing medicinal plants commercially is one of the profitable agriculture business ideas. Having sufficient land and knowledge about herbs marketing, an entrepreneur can initiate medicinal herbs farming with moderate capital investment.

#13. Mushroom

A mushroom farming business can be a means of big profit in just a few weeks with considerably low start-up capital investment to start a business. A person who has a little bit of idea in the science & technology of mushroom growing and has their own building for having the farm – mushroom farming business will be the perfect option for him to start.

#14. Spices

Specialty spices are very popular around the globe and also they are the most expensive. Saffron, Cardamom, Pure Vanilla beans, etc are considered the most profitable commercial cash crops to grow.

#15. Staples

Staples like rice, corn, root, and tuber crops are generally considered subsistence crops. However, they are also often marketed partly or as a whole. These have also great export value.

#16. Sugarcane

Sugarcane is one of the highest-yield crops. Additionally, it is one of the most profitable cash crop plants to grow. Sugarcane is a long-duration crop and it encounters all the seasons such as rainy, winter, and summer during its life cycle.

#17. Sunflower

In starting the sunflower farming business, the primary requirement is land. Growing sunflowers for oilseed with maintaining the right process is a viable business opportunity. An entrepreneur passionate about agriculture and having their own land can start a sunflower farming business.

#18. Tea

The tea-growing business has huge potential and demand for the product is increasing globally. Generally, tea plants typically fare best in acidic soil and regions with heavy rainfall (around 40 inches per year), although they can be grown anywhere from sea level to altitudes as high as 1.3 miles above sea level.

#19. Value-added Plants

Value-added plants are the most profitable commercial cash crop plants to grow. You can start farming from your home with moderate capital investment. Value-added plant selling is just selling specialty plants in a decorative manner.

#20. Vegetables

Vegetable farming is one of the most profitable agricultural business ideas. Having sufficient land an entrepreneur can start good-quality vegetable farming with quality seeds and fertilizers.

#21. Christmas Trees

There is a good demand for Christmas trees, especially during the holiday season. Data shows a Christmas tree farm owner makes more than a 200% profit margin selling Christmas trees.