If you have some spare acreage on your home property, or if you should inherit or buy a parcel of land, it doesn't just have to sit unused. By putting the property to use, you can earn money, give back to your community and prevent the land from going to waste.
Create a garden and sell the produce at a local Farmer's Market, to local restaurants, or straight from your home. This idea does require lots of hard work and extra time, but it's a good alternative for someone who already works from home or has recently lost a job. It may take several years to create a successful crop, but if you love the outdoors, this can be a rewarding endeavor.
Rent farm land out to local farmers. There are numerous ways that you can rent this land out to be farmed. You can charge a flat rental fee (per year), or rent and royalties on earnings from crops produced on your parcel of land, or any other agreement that suits both you and the other party. You will need to have a contract in place, so you may want the services of a lawyer. Once you have a template contract, however, you can use it multiple times.
Convert the land into a lot for a mobile home. Depending on your budget, you could even purchase a mobile home, so that you can earn money renting the land and mobile home. This, of course, can get costly if you have to install plumbing, sewer, water sources, and so on, so it will take lots of planning and legwork. Weigh the cost against the potential income for years to come, and also factor in whether you really want to be a landlord or not.
Start a Christmas tree farm. The income will not be immediate, and it may take a considerable amount of cash to get it started, but if you plan accordingly and replant trees as the older ones are taken down, you can have income for decades to come!
Take land that is aesthetically pleasing and turn it into a prime location for small outdoor weddings. If your budget allows and there is space to do so, construct a shelter with fireplaces and grills for outdoor parties. You may also want to turn a portion of the land into a parking lot. This endeavor will require some regular maintenance, landscaping, and advertising costs. In addition, you will need to know zoning laws, consider where the land is located, carry insurance, and utilize an event contract.