You’ve bought some land with the dream of homesteading. What now? How can you make that leap from still working a 9-5 and homesteading full time?
I wrote before on 28 ways to make money on your homestead, but here are 10 additional ways to make money from your forests.
Ways to Make Money From Your Forest
1. Sell Cords of Firewood
The best wood for firewood are hardwoods.
They burn more slowly and produce fires that are hotter and more intense.
Oak, birch, beech, ironwood, hickory, maple, and ash are the most common.
Most people will want their firewood seasoned for at least a year.
This side-hustle may require some extra equipment.
A pneumatic or hydraulic log splitter is ideal and would save your back and a full cord of firewood is too big to fit into the back of a pickup, so a trailer may be needed.
A “full cord” of firewood is 8 ft x 4 ft x 4 ft.
The standard length for each piece of wood is about 16″.
Generally, a full cord will have three stacks of logs 8 ft long by 4 ft high.
This may or may not fit in the bed of your truck.
A “face cord” however, is simply one of these stacks.
So one row of 16 inch logs, 8 feet long and 4 feet high.
Ask around Facebook and Craigslist to see how much full cords and face cords are selling for in your area.
If you have the right wood, and the time, it could be a viable side-hustle.
2. Rent Your Land to Hunters
If you don’t plan to hunt your land yourself – or even if you do – hunt leases can be incredibly profitable and very little work on your part.
If you hunt deer, consider leasing your land for other hunt seasons like turkey, bear, squirrel, etc. or during bow or black powder seasons.
Make sure they sign an agreement that they will clean up after themselves and hunt safely and responsibility.
We have arrangements with several different friends who hunt our land for a share of the meat.
It takes no effort from us and we get to fill our freezers with healthy, wild game.
3. Lease Land For Boyscouts or Campers
Similarly to leasing your land to hunters, you can also lease it to boyscouts or campers.
Hipcamp.com is a great source for listing your land for camping.
Even if the boyscouts don’t need to camp, they often need woods to build shelters in, practice orienteering or other things.
4. Rent Out Cabins or Teepees
This obviously takes a little more initial capital and planning, but depending on your location, even small cabins can rent for $100/night.
This simple teepee on AirBnB is going for $175 a night!
5. Sell Lumber
Similar to selling wood for firewood, if you have desirable trees in your forest you can sell it for lumber.
Black walnut, for example, is native to Virginia and a highly desirable wood for furniture making.
If you have a full mill or Alaskan mill you can mill it yourself, or contact local millworks and negotiate with them to do the work.
These raw slabs created by the Alaskan saw mill are great for live-edge table tops or mantles, or you can even sell small “blanks” of wood that artisans can turn into pens or spoons.
Some places have horse teams so they can go into a woods, cut down one specific tree and haul it out without damaging anything else around them.
If you’re not sure what kind of valuable wood you may have in your forest, contact a local forester or your local ag. extension officer – they can point you in the right direction.
6. Make Furniture or Artwork to Sell
If you’re a skilled woodworker or interested in practicing a skill, check out etsy.com.
Type “wood” into the search bar and see what comes up.
Bowls, mantles, cutting boards, wooden toys for kids…all of these could be made at home with your own trees.
7. Tap Trees for Syrup
While maple trees are the most commonly tapped tree for syrup, you can also tap boxelders, birch, alder, black walnut, butternut, sycamore, linden, ironwood, hickory, and elm can also be tapped for syrup.
For the best resource for how to tap trees for maple, how to process the syrup and amazing recipes using maple syrup, I highly recommend the book Sweet Maple from my friend Michelle from Souly Rested.
8. Harvest In Demand Saplings
Plant trees by seed and sell the saplings. Or you can go into your existing forest and carefully dig up saplings, repot with care and sell.
- Black walnut
- Paw paw
In our area, every Spring, paw paw saplings sell for $20 each.
9. Off-road cycling
If you have enough land and don’t mind putting in some trails, you can “rent” the trails for off-road cycling groups or clubs.
10. Pine branch wreaths (seasonal)
Making pine branch wreaths is a fun and easy foraged craft. We make them every year.
To make wreaths you’ll need a frame like this one: Wreath Frame and some green wire and then follow the instructions in this blog post: How to Make a Pine Wreath.