Is your farm rich in bird life? If you have a wooded area it is likely to be. Perhaps you aren't aware of just how many different species of birds you have.
As an exercise, write down the different birds you can think of. If you've never done this, you may be surprised at how many there are. You may not know all the correct names but with a little research this can be done easily on the internet. Some of these may be daily visitors and others could be just passing through. Still others may nest in your region.
My husband and I both enjoy bird watching, we aren't fanatical about it but it is a past time we enjoyed in the UK and now here in Brazil.
Bird watching is a very popular activity globally and if you can get a sufficient quantity of birds into your area, you could be sitting on a money earner and not even be aware of it. I just Googled the term bird watching and that produced nearly 6 million pages. I think this tells you that this is indeed a popular past time for many people and well worth looking into to generate extra cash for your small farm.
Bird watching tours
ATTRACTING birds to Your small farm or homestead
Let's look at what it would take to get your farm on the map so to speak to become a birdwatcher's haven.
Firstly, you are going to need birds. (this is a given but for those who were only scanning the first paragraph, I thought I'd mention it again.) The more bird species you can record the better. Where I live in Brazil, we have seen well over 120 different types. Some of these are common birds such as doves ( of which we have 3 types). We also have eagles, hawks and members of the egret family to name but a few.
Keeping a record, may seem time consuming but it will be beneficial if the birdwatchers want to know which birds they are likely to see at a given time of year.
Birdwatchers vary in their equipment of choice. Some people prefer a birding scope, others like binoculars and there are still others who only use a camera with a long lens. Catering to all of them needn't be difficult and they bring their own equipment.
Making Bird Hides
To get the best view of birds, you need to be close. Sometimes there are some birds which are so cautious they are alerted to the slightest movement and take flight. Others, such as sparrows have adapted to man's behaviors and can often be seen near eating areas milling around without any fear.
For your farm, hides don't need to be elaborate. Here on our farm we have reused old fishing cages. They are essentially just a large box which is open on one side. We have two, one which is made from plastic pipes and plastic mesh and the other is made of wooden slats and plastic netting.
By using this durable plastic netting, this makes the hide, airy, and lightweight. We put a green plastic chair in ours and a dark green camouflage net at the back so the birds can't see any movement inside. Ours are 2m X 3m. This provides ample space to sit down and use a tripod.
We attach palm leaves to the sides to disguise it so, although the birds know it is something new, they get use to it.
The key is to make a hide which is user friendly. It is likely you have items on your farm which could be reused or upcycled, as they say. Just remember it needs to be dark at the back.
Next to our house we have an area of scrub land which has shrubs, trees and is basically left to grow. This is a haven for bird life and other animals. We simply put up a camo net on the fence and made a few viewing points where we have noticed birds often sit.
For photographic purposes, we have also removed any small branches which would have blocked us getting a good shot.
Although the birds will take a while to become accustom to this new addition, it won't be long before they will accept it.
My husband comes up with some ingenious ways of tricking the birds. Here's a picture of a coconut on our wall. Can you guess why it's there?
This is to allow my husband to creep forward and lay down at the wall to photograph birds at the shore line. He is balding so a coconut looks the same as his head.
camouflage for bird photography
Paths and Walkways
If there is a bit of a walk to the location of certain birds at your place, it would be wise to make a dedicated path for the visitors to use. If not, they may be walking in areas you'd prefer to keep private or which are strictly off limits to them.
Sometimes the visitors, although bird lovers, have no clue about life on a farm. You don't want them to climb into a field with a frisky bull, now do you? Moreover, if they don't stay where you have decided the best viewing spot is, they could in fact, frighten the birds. This will not only annoy other birdwatchers, but it could take some time for the birds to return.
The paths don't need to be anything fancy, just mowed with maybe a few markers to give direction.
Also depending on the size of your farm, you could provide a brochure with a map of the hides and perhaps even a key to which birds are seen at which location.
If your small farm already has a healthy number of birds, that's great. If not, don't despair and think this idea is a non starter for you. There are many things you can do to increase the number of birds to your homestead.
Provide water for them. This can be a bird bath to a lake. All birds need water to drink and many also use it to clean and some use it to feed themselves.
Here on our farm we have lakes. These attract many types of birds including 3 types of egrets, herons, limpkin, snail kites, moorhens, wattled jacanas, southern lapwings, grebes, ducks, stilts, sandpipers, 3 types of kingfishers and water tyrannts. Those are just the ones who are always eating or near the lake. Still others will wash and drink. We even have many including the kisskadee and tropical king bird which swoop down for a drink or to eat an unfortunate insect which has landed on the water.
The wider variety of trees you have the better. Check with your local bird groups (or online) for specific recommendations regarding the ideal nesting environment for birds which frequent your location. Different birds prefer not only different trees but also different heights. For example, the hummingbirds here on our farm, prefer the cashew trees and are always about 7 feet from the ground. Their choice of nesting material is the seeds from the reeds or cattails.
Once you start noticing the birds in your area, you too will discover things such as these. All of these little details can be used to promote your small farm as a bird reserve or an area for bird watching.
Some of the bird reserves I have been to feed the birds with bird seed. Then, they have benches near-by for people to sit and watch. Although this is okay, it isn't birds in their natural habitat which more purest birdwatchers want to see. Be that as it may, it does attract a wide variety of birds depending on what type of seeds are provided. If you live in an area which gets snow, feeding the birds is something which could be saving them as food is scarce at that time of year for them.
How to attract birdwatchers
Ok so you have your birds and hides but how do you get people to pay you money to come and see them?
Advertising doesn't have to be expensive, in fact some of it may be free. Put up notices in public places, you'll be surprised at just how many people there are who enjoy bird watching, especially if they don't have to travel far to see them.
Beyond your local area, begin posting on forums about birds. Asking questions from more experience bird enthusiasts will get you and you homestead noticed. Mention the birds you have and what you are trying to do. Although some forums can have some real ''jerks" on them, steer clear of the trolls and keep your main objective in focus. That is using the forum as a place to advertise and get your small farm known as a great place to see birds.
Go to your local schools and tell them what you are doing, they may add this to a field trip list. Once you peak the interest of kids, the adults are usually easy.
Go to your library and explain what you are doing, get them on board and suggest giving a brief talk about birds and/or bird watching.
Blog or Website
This will tie in nicely with other activities on your farm. If you don't have time for blogging daily, do a weekly round up of activities related to the birds seen during the week.
These are methods to get your farm found but how do you make money from them.
People will pay to enter. This can be a daily, monthly or yearly fee. Having a small area, even if it is just a kiosk serving refreshments is a good idea with a few picnic tables or somewhere for them to sit.
If you can provide accommodation, bird watchers are easy to please guests as they just want to see birds.
If you have any unusual birds or any which are in reduced numbers, you are likely to get a good turnout of people.
It is a sustainable business which you can grow with little capital but a willingness to learn and promote.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you can't help but notice the fact that drones have been in the news. In the main this has come in two categories, people who say they want one, and the other camp that feel Big Brother is spying on them.
There are even companies, Amazon, for example who are delivering packages using them.
Now you may be asking how does this tie in with your farm. I'm glad you asked.
People who have drones or radio controlled cars, planes and helicopters need a place to fly them where they won't get into trouble from the FAA, their local authority or create tension with their neighbors.
**Before you all fly off the handle (see what I did there), and tell me about the restrictions in the USA, this is a site which is read by people all over the world where restrictions are different.
Remember, although you have free space all around you on your homestead or farm, many urbanites are limited on the space they have. In fact some people live in apartments and others have back yards the size of a postage stamp. This is good news for you.
Here again, if you are on the outskirts of a city or town, you are well placed to create an environment for people to use these big boys toys.
I visited a place in the UK some years ago where a local farmer had set aside a grassy area which was solely for the purpose of using radio controlled devices. There was a building which was called a clubhouse which although it sounds grand was actually just a port-a-cabin.
There was great camaraderie between the people (mostly men) that were there and most of them spent a good portion of their weekend flying their planes and helicopters and racing their remote control cars.
As I recall there were options of how to pay. A daily price, monthly or a yearly membership. The yearly membership included perks such as full time use of the facilities, a sweatshirt with a logo and a hat.
Radio Controlled Helicopter
What would it take to get your farm up and running on this?
An area away from trees and power lines.
Check with the local and federal aviation boards to find out if it is doable in your area and what the restrictions are.
A large flat area for planes and helicopters to take off and land.
For radio controlled cars I would suggest looking into two areas. There are those who just like the speed in a straight line and others who like a challenge of a track with curves. Some will prefer asphalt and others want only a dirt track. Just remember you can't please everyone, aim for those who will bring you the most revenue for your outlay.
Ask people who have a keen interest in remote controlled helicopters, planes and cars to see what they would suggest and I suspect the ideas will come pouring out. The changes you make should be your decision only as you are the one who would be spending the money and be liable.
Check your insurance requirements, you may need your clients to sign a waiver excluding you from paying damages which could happen to people and property. Contact a lawyer to have him/her draw up a form for everyone to sign beforehand.
As always with a captive audience like this, make sure you are selling light refreshments. If you are dismissing this idea, just think of a movie cinema, how much do they make off their concession stands. If you or your family aren't up to the task, lease out this pitch and let someone else do the catering.
If you or someone you know can instruct people in the use of drones, this could also be a money spinner for you. The idea of a set up like this is to use it to its maximum and extract cash from every possible avenue.
There is an old saying,
throw it at the wall and see what sticks.
Keep trying ideas and evolving and soon you'll find one which is both enjoyable and profitable.
If you live near an area where parking is at a premium or difficult to find, consider offering this an option. Even bus companies which bring in workers need somewhere to park until the shift is over. Often it is not economical for a bus to return to its depot empty and then return again in a few hours. Most companies prefer to have their buses park up, and wait for the workers.
We see this a lot where we live. We live near a port which buses many of their workers in. There are large flat and dry areas which have been cleared in a farmers field for the buses to park. Then what has happened is a small canteen has sprung up where the drivers past the time having morning coffee, and their lunches. They will have a nap in the bus (this is Brazil, after all) and then they will head back out to pick up their workers for the journey home.
So how can this work for your farm?
Are you near an area where workers are transported in? This doesn't have to be just workers in buses, what about trucks? Are you near a main road where you could provide a safe place for truckers to sleep?
Think about the other services these people may need.
Food, restroom facilities and maybe somewhere to have a shower.
It is easy to overlook the obvious but this could be, money for old rope. Sometimes they just need somewhere to park.
If construction is going on in your area, there will be heavy machinery which is too costly to return to its base and can't be left on site. This could be a boon for you and your farm. Don't be embarrassed to ask.
Develop those entrepreneurial skills and get out there and make your available space known.
A symbol of clean renewable energy, a bird killer, a blot on the landscape. I have heard all of these phrases used when referring to wind turbines. In fact, I haven't met one person who doesn't have an opinion on wind farms. Nothing can pit one neighbor against the other than the erection of turbines on a near-by farm.
Love them or hate them wind turbines are here to stay and if you don't have them in your area yet they probably aren't far away.
Have you ever wondered how much money is made from having them on a piece of otherwise useless land?
If you're a farmer, or have a large plot of land, you may already have thought of putting wind turbines on your land and wondered how much you could make from doing so. In a time of uncertainty in farming, we have to keep our options open. What once was a viable idea for crops or livestock changes every year. Having a wind farm on your land can be very profitable. For those who are a little unclear of the procedure, you are not responsible for the turbines, you're just leasing the land to the company who will erect and maintain the turbines.
Monthly amount paid for wind turbines in the USA
According to Wind Industry website the prices can vary depending on size, output, and location. The amounts below are for the US and the payment can be based on the price of each turbine, a cut of the revenue from the energy it generates or its megawatt capacity.
These are ballpark figures and are per month.
- $4-$8,000 per turbine
- $3,000 to $4,000 per megawatt of capacity
- 2-4% of gross revenues
Obviously the larger the turbine, the more you make. Also if you have wind year round you will make more depending on which option is available to you.
Wind farms in UK
When I lived in the UK, there were many wind turbines in the area. Some of the farmers there were making an excellent income from them. Although they are under contract not to reveal the amount they are paid, one farmer who has installed turbines on his land has gone public and claims to make a profit of £80,000 a year from his largest turbines.
As most farmers know, the weather, the buyers and equipment failures all seem to conspire against the farmer making a living. Is it any wonder many farmers are seeing wind farms as a good option?
Installing wind turbines on your farm
As a landowner you may think all your Christmases have come at once and leasing all or some of your land for the erection of wind turbines is the answer, but don't be too hasty. There are other things to consider.
Without a doubt the most important thing you should do is get a lawyer who will check that everything is in order as you will be signing a contract leasing your land for many years. There are some sad tales on the internet of farmers who only saw the money on offer and signed a contract without consulting a lawyer first.
Once you have a lawyer on board, then you can proceed as any documents will be as you want them. I have read of one farmer who had much of his fertile topsoil removed during the construction of the turbines. Of course we all know that without topsoil, farming activities are going nowhere. Have a designated area where all the topsoil can be deposited for later use once the turbines and roadways are up and erected on your farm. This is something which should be clearly stated in the contract.
Changing Public Views of Turbines
I live in Brazil and now we wind turbines on two sides of us. When we moved here there were a few some distance away and only occasionally could we hear thatwhoop whoop whoop of the blades. A couple of years ago, there were more installed and these are much closer and cause more disturbance.
Having lived in the UK, where wind turbines are discussed with venom, unless you're the person getting paid, I had my concerns. The truth is, wind turbines on farms or in the countryside suffer from bad publicity in some countries, the UK being one of them. It is estimated by some estate agents that if your home is near them, there will be a 20-40% drop in the value of your home.Quite frankly I think this is scaremongering. It is no different than being near a train line, a busy road, or factory. I would definitely have no problem living near turbines in the future. I believe people's viewpoint will change as more and more are installed.
In fact, a house I looked at in Denmark, proudly stated that their (mains electricity) was virtually all from wind power. So there are two sides of the coin, it is all about spin, if you ask me. Denmark was one of the first countries to embrace wind power as a source of clean energy. It is estimated that by 2020 Denmark will be producing 50% of its electricity from wind.
I have now become accustom to seeing them and I know that it is a much cleaner way of producing electricity than coal fired power stations and safer than nuclear
Effects of vibration, shadows, and air pressure of wind turbines
Although we hear noise from them, it isn't often as when it is windy, we hear only the wind in the trees. If the wind is at a higher elevation (near the blades) and we have no wind we can hear them. One thing which I don't like is the shadow they cast first thing in the morning. It causes a flicking light, similar to driving down a lane with leafless trees in winter. This however is only for a short time in the morning as the sun is rising and then nothing for the rest of the day.
There are regulations in place regarding the distance from houses. Part of this is due to the constant but unperceived vibration they make. I have read this could cause problems to the bones. As far as I know this has not been extensively researched. It is still something to consider if planning to have them on your farm or homestead. Sand, which we have, will absorb more of this vibration than other soil types.
Another point to consider is the change in air pressure for those who live near-by. In some people this can cause headaches, depression, and insomnia. I can say that neither I nor my husband have noticed this whatsoever.
One article I've read, relating to wind turbines and bats, said that it was this change in air pressure which caused the lungs of bats to literally explode without showing any external signs of injury. Yet again, this is something which needs further research.
Installing wind turbines
Now that you know this, I will tell you I have known people in the UK who have had turbines on their land and they made more from those than they did from their farming activities. Where I live in Brazil, the wind turbines are on sand dunes which would have grown nothing and were basically considered to have no value. The person who owns the land has capitalized nicely on this otherwise worthless land.
The process begins with the company installing a tower to test the wind strength. This could be up for some time for them to get an accurate reading. After all it is a big investment for them and they want to make sure it is a wise one.
The company will determine if the area is suitable not just for one, but for several as it will be more cost effective for them. Depending on how many your land could take, you could in essence earn your entire income from this activity.
In fact, many entrepreneurs, have bought land solely for this purpose. What looked like wasteland to others, does in fact have a value if it can be leased to companies for the erection of turbines to generate wind power.
The Controversy With Wind Turbines
If you want to get someone's blood boiling, bring up the subject of wind turbines. As I have said previously, unless you are the person being paid, very few people will have positive things to say on the subject.
I partly think this is jealousy that someone, a neighbor or a near-by landowner, has made money. Some say it is sour grapes but I think it goes beyond this. I believe in a small community that if one person begins to feel depressed and starts pointing the finger at the turbines as being the cause, everyone jumps on board. Soon you have a whole village who were healthy blaming all their illnesses on the newly installed wind farm.
As they say, misery loves company
Subsidies for Wind Farms
I would like to report that this surge in interest for a clean energy source is due to a change of mindset of people but that would be false. It all comes down to greed and subsidies which are being offered.
In fact a few years ago, in the UK it was likened to the wild west days of gold fever. Sales people aggressively canvassing farmers to get them to sign-up for a deal before it was too late.
Now as government subsidies are cut, older wind farms which have come to the end of their active lifespan (20-25 years) are not being renewed. The wind is still there of course, but as the gravy train of money has dried up, so too has the interest in meeting the European or international targets for clean energy
Are wind turbines safe?
You only have to look on You tube to see videos of turbines falling, burning or knocking birds out of the sky. All of these things do occur. However, there were arguments against the horseless carriage when it was being proposed. Who wants to give up their car?
One incident I personally know about happened in the UK in the village where we lived. Overnight, the temperatures dropped below freezing and water had frozen on the blades. When the propellers began spinning, this sent a huge icicles through the air. These shards, some which were 2 feet long, were landing on houses and in near-by gardens. People took cover as the 80 meter high turbine hurled frozen daggers through the air for a few hours.
One of the ideas we considered here on our farm was a quad bike course. We live about 40 miles from the capital city of our state and at the weekend our little coastal town fills with tourists from the city. Many of these are well off and looking for a little adventure. Location as I have said is a crucial factor in what activities your farm can support. Here's a few more items which need to be taken into account before committing to a decision about your farm.
- Spending power of visitors
- Legal requirements
Let's look at each of these in turn. Our location as I said was ideal as we get domestic tourists every weekend, year round. We are near the main road so are easily found.
The spending power of the potential customer in our area is high. Here in Brazil there is an emerging middle class who are looking for creative and new ways to spend their money. Also during the international tourist season which usually runs from June-December there are tourists who range from 20-50 who are adventure seekers. Although they would have to rent a quad bike which in itself could turn into a money maker.
Suitability of land: The suitability of our land is ideal as we have sand dunes to the rear, undulating land and lakes. You can imagine a well defined track with dips and turns cutting in and out of the lakes.
Neighbors: We are lucky to have great neighbors but the noise levels would have to be considered as 20 quad bikes or off road motorcycles create quite a din. That said, it would likely only be a weekend business and we already have quad bikes most Sundays on the sand dunes behind our house.
Legal requirements: Where I live in Brazil, they have a very laissez-faire attitude to business unless people complain. Still in most developed countries you would need permission to run this type of business.
Accessibility; We are only a short distance off the main road which is better as many people even with GPS don't like to travel too far out of their way.
Once you have decided if your land would be suitable with proper tracks and if there would be an interest then begin to look at the other hurdles. There is no sense in spinning your wheels if the customer base just isn't there.
Now, assuming that customers will come to where you are, let's look at the lay of the land. What could you do to make it more enjoyable for those with quads or off road motorcycles? Give them tracks and obstacles to go around, and over and you could be onto a winner.
If you know someone who is an enthusiast into this type of motor sport, get them onboard and ask their advice. If this plan comes to fruition then he/she will bring their friends.
Once you have taken all the ideas into consideration, before you start any other work on it, you should contact your council to see what, if any permissions you need. Here it would be a good idea to have an outline of what you plan to do, what facilities you will be offering and how many you intend to have on your property at any one time.
You should also look at other businesses in your area to use these as precedents for your venture. Are there other 'noisy' or busy places near-by? How do they handle the extra traffic?
If you can anticipate the questions or objections they city council may have, they will see that you have looked into this thoroughly. That said, there are some people who hate to see entrepreneurs succeed, don't ask me why. If possible, seek out those who are either interested in your type of venture or open to new ideas.
Once you have obtained the necessary outline permission, you can begin designing your course. This doesn't have to be fancy, but it should be challenging. Have clearly defined areas for the route so the bikers stay within those boundaries. Over time you can alter or add in features.
Other additions to consider once you have a clientele is a place to eat or even a catering van. This can either be run by yourself or you can rent this pitch to someone who has a catering truck. Either way you will be bringing in extra money to your farm.
Consider renting out motorcycles or quads for use on your course. Although the outlay is great, you will be earning this back many times over.
Depending on your location and the size of your small farm, consider running a swap meet or a flea market. Or as it is called in the UK, a car boot sale. The revenue would be generated from the vendors who are hoping to sell. Don't think that this is only a few people who are wanting to clear out their garage as I have seen these transform into something quite large. With enough people attending on the weekend, this will attract hamburger vans, and other vendors who are selling new items.
This is ideally suited for people who are within 30 minutes or so of a populated area. Good access roads are also a factor as no one wants to get stuck in the mud with their car. However if they do, you can pull them out if you have a tractor or a 4x4. A fee could be asked for doing so.
For parking for the vendors you will need a dry field and one which is quite level. Here the grass or weeds should be kept short. Customer parking should be close by and also as dry as possible.
Organize this well and this can be a year round money-maker. You can move the location to different fields as required.
I personally loved going around car boot sales when I was in the UK . Everyone loves a bargain and they will seek out areas where they can go to several vendors at one time.
If you are in the USA, you'll know the popularity of garage sales. This is the same idea but people love to have everyone in one place.
If your small farm or homestead is within a short drive of an urban or surburban area this provides more opportunities to make money. Or if your farm is near to a place of interest such as mountains, a lake or ocean, or a popular tourist area.
For land which isn't being used for crops or animals there are temporary or permanent options available to you. Today let's discuss camping.
If you are a camper you may have seen various set ups at different locations. Some are quite elaborate and expensive to construct and others are more modest. I too have been to several campgrounds using a caravan and also with a tent. Whilst there I tend to look at the viability of it as a potential business in conjunction with small farming activities. Some of the ones I have been to are like myself, someone with a small farm who sees running a campsite as a supplement to their farming income.
Other sites I have visited have gone almost exclusively to camping. When I've been at these places, I always try and chat with the owners, as they are a wealth of untapped information. Asking questions from someone who has been there and done it, can give you advance warning of potential pitfalls which may occur whilst setting it up. People love to talk if you give them the opportunity to do so. They can give you the ins and outs and what worked for them and what didn't.
What you will need is a flat field which isn't prone to flooding. At the very basic you will need to clear it with either a brush cutter (strimmer) or tractor/mower to trim the grass/weeds.
You will need toilet facilities, although to start with these could be rented. Portable toilets, such as those seen at music events could be hired. I have a problem with this idea however. If you are planning on committing yourself to having a campsite spending money renting is never a good idea in my book. Also people don't like using these and may not return to your farm because of these.
**One note I would like to make here is if these are merely used as a temporary measure, people are more amenable. For example if you were providing a field for camping next to Woodstock or another large musical event which only occurs yearly.
Other than port-a-potties you will need to construct restroom facilities. If you are going to promote 'green or eco-camping' you may want to opt for a composting toilet.
If you or your spouse aren't adept at plumbing and electrics, now is your chance to network and barter. What skills do you have which someone is looking for? Use these as a way to get the work completed much cheaper.
Most campsites also have a sink area for washing dishes. If this is placed near your shower block there will be less plumbing to contend with. This doesn't have to be like a showroom, just useable and easy to clean. Think about the campsites you've been to.
Whether you decide to use well water, or mains water will be determined by your area. Where I live we use only well water. Showers can be coin operated units if you want to recoup some of the costs of water and electricity for heating the water.
Installing electrical connections on your campground. If you plan to allow caravans and not only those camping with tents, you should consider installing electrical outlets and dedicated parking bays.
One campsite I went to in the south of England divided his area into two. The caravans and RV's veered off to the right near the back of his farmhouse, and were supplied with electrical hook ups. Those camping with tents and others who didn't require these point were directed to the left field. Of course those with connections paid much more per night but this kept the area confined so would have cost less to set up initially.
Remember planning for plumbing and electrical points beforehand can save you headaches in the long run.
Now you have your dedicated areas for campers and RV's where are the customers?
It's a good question. You will need to advertise. For this you can go the traditional route of a sign on the main road if you are allowed by your local authority. Don't stop there though. A website with photos of people using your services should also be built. Don't panic if you don't have any design skills, many of the websites can be built easily. However there are sites such as O'desk and Fiverr where you can hire skilled people to construct a site if you feel it is beyond your skill set. A basic site is all you need to start with. This will give your campground a professional public face. With this you can network with your group of contacts on social media sites. Getting your campsite known to the camping public may take some initial promotion on forums targeted at campers and RV's. Using social media sites will spread the word fast, so start promoting.
If you have a farm which is being left fallow, or one which you won't be using for some time, consider allowing a group of metal detector users to scan your ground.
There are basically two ways to do this. The first is to contact someone you know who does detecting or do it yourself. This could result in a chest full of coins or old relics from the past which can be sold on Ebay or you could keep them. There is a lot of luck needed for this and it could produce no results. If you have someone else scan the ground for you, they will expect a share of the find. Usually it is a 50/50 split.
The other way to do it is something you can do time and time again. There are clubs of metal detector enthusiasts who want to perfect their technique and who just like to get out in the fresh air for a day.
Speaking to a coordinator will help but essentially what you do is bury metal objects for them to find. It is a good idea to make a map of where you placed these objects to retrieve what isn't found.
The detectors will scan and dig in your field. Most of them are very good about replacing the soil after their digging but it is worth giving them a gentle reminder to do so.
They obviously will pay you or the coordinator of this event.
The profit of this can be increased by supplying food and drinks. This can either be at your farm or even from the back of a pick-up. Light refreshments such as sandwiches and soft drinks is enough. If it is cold weather, opt for coffee or soup in a thermos. People will pay to have a day out like this.
This will take a bit of organizing at first but once you have done it once, the subsequent times will go more smoothly.
If you live in an area where health and safety concerns are strictly enforced, be sure to seek advice from your local authority as to what if anything needs to be done to show you have shown due diligence.
Don't think that because you live on a farm that you are resigned to having livestock or growing crops. The world is rapidly changing and old ideals have been cast aside. It is time to 'think outiside the box'. and be open minded to opportunities.
This is where you need a bit of entreprenuial skill. Don't worry if you think that you can't do it, like anything the more you try the better you become at it.