Many farmers know all there is to know about corn and soybeans. However, more farmers are choosing to diversify the farm by choosing specialty crops in 2020. Growing any kind of new crop is always a gamble, but it could end up meaning a big bump in profit as well. In fact, many believe specialty crops will be an important part of the future of Western Agriculture. These crops are in high demand and often are the start of a great way to help diversify the farm.
Black beans are a great option for a crop that is not only a specialty crop that brings a premium at market but also has a very familiar feel if you are used to growing soybeans. Black beans on average take 100-110 days to fully mature. Black beans are a great option if are looking into getting into some specialty crops but want something that feels familiar.
This expensive herb is known as the most expensive herb. Saffron is a coveted herb that has become a household name in recent years. While only top chefs knew about and used saffron in the past, more and more home cooks are treating themselves to this unique herb. The potential for growth in this market is high over the next few years.
Saffron is an ancient herb from the Mediterranean region and consists of the tiny red stigmas of the crocus flower. These little crimson threads sell anywhere between $5,000-$10,000 a pound. Due to their small size and weight, about an acre of 200,000 flowers should produce about 4 pounds of saffron. Farmers who choose to grow this herb usually have drier climates with mild winters.
As the food industry grows, garlic has become a substantial player in the specialty crop industry. Those farmers who grow unusual varieties of garlic, also known as “gourmet” garlic, can quickly find a market for their crop. Most garlic varieties cost about $7 per pound, with gourmet versions selling at a higher price point around $10 per pound. Soil composition is vital for garlic, and some farmers can yield up to 10,000-15,000 pounds in a single acre of land. Garlic can handle multiple types of climates and regions and is quite hardy.
Health trends are at an all-time high as more consumers care more about their food and where it came from. Goji Berries are known as a superfood that are quite popular around the world. The dried berries sell for about $20 per pound, while fresh berries cost more for avid consumers. An acre of land should yield about 7,000 pounds of berries, which could mean an excellent option for those farmers looking to diversify with something new. Patience is key with Goji Berries, though, as it can take 4-5 years for a crop to reach full production.
Choosing to sacrifice an acre or two of land for a specialty crop can be hard. However, spreading out your land use can not only have a positive effect on your soil but also your bottom line. Consider learning more about these specialty crops and how they can help overall profit margins this year.