One Midwest farming family has found success with specialty crops for decades, and they’re offering tips for others looking to diversify their crops. Corn, soybeans and wheat are the most commonly grown crops in the Upper Midwest. Still, additional marketing opportunities may open up by diversifying with crops like canola, lentils, flax, dry beans and others.

Chris Adams of Grand Forks, North Dakota, says his grandfather started with pinto beans in the 1970s. Now, the family raises a variety of traditional and specialty crops including sugarbeets, dry beans and industrial hemp. They recommend starting slow with the numbers and networking to find the right industry connections who can offer education or support. Costs will be higher and margins will be tighter, but the opportunity for a lucrative niche play may outweigh the risk. Because if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

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