Homestead vs Farm – What’s the Difference?

Sharing is caring!

Many of us get confused when we utter the term Homestead and Farm. Many people consider Homestead and Farm to be the same thing. While both have many similarities, people often fail to grasp some significant distinctions. We ought therefore to understand that whenever the two words are stated, people mean different things.

Generally, people farm various goods in a homestead, for instance, grain, vegetables, fruits, meat, and dairy to meet their personal needs. On the other hand, various agricultural products are produced for commercial use on a farm. Though people now and then selling some agricultural products from the homestead in local markets is not unheard off. 

In this article, I will address the difference between farm and homestead in depth. I’ll briefly explore various aspects of farms and homes. Hopefully, all your uncertainty about homestead and farm will be resolved after reading throughout the article.

Farm and Homestead Concept

The concept of the farm is pretty simple and straightforward. The land is cultivated on a farm to produce agricultural products, domesticated animals are raised for milk and meat and used primarily for trade. I am familiar with several farmers who earn tens of thousands of dollars in farm commodities, milk, and meat every month. 

On the other hand, a Homestead is mostly constructed around a family house, where crops, vegetables, and fruits are produced and domesticated animals are raised to accomplish the needs of the family. The trading is mostly absent, but it might happen in a very small proportion.

Some of the Key Differences between Homestead and Farm

As you can see, Homestead and Farm have several parallels. Agricultural products are produced in both cases, domesticated animals are grown and both settlements are primarily aimed at meeting the needs of people. But between Homesteads and farms, you should know there are some essential variations.

The goal of Homesteads and Farms

The main goal behind building homesteads is to provide daily agricultural goods for the family of the homesteaders. They only share their products with people outside of their family in return for money when their production exceeds their requirements. Homesteaders would essentially grow and consume agricultural products as a lifestyle, not as a business strategy. 

Whereas, the goal behind building farms is getting financial stability in return for their produced products. Most of the produced goods go to supermarkets and shops for selling purposes. Therefore, it is clear that customers rely on farms for their daily agricultural necessities. The only objective of farmers is to optimize benefits while retaining the quality of the products. 

Farm Usually built on a Larger Scale

The main aim of farms in the sale of agricultural products to make money. It must be built to a greater degree to make good cash. Most farms typically have large crop fields and much domestic livestock. Some of the farms contain hundreds of thousands of cattle. Farms are built on a wide area nearly in every circumstance.

Homestead, on the other hand, is targeted at supplying a single family with food and everyday needs. The need for production is therefore substantially lower than the farm. This is why the area of the homesteads are smaller. Homesteads are for traditionalists who want to live alone and not rely on anyone.

The initial cost

As I have mentioned earlier, people build farms for commercial use only. For doing a proper business, you will need to make a substantial investment. Also, to build a farm, you will require a huge area of land that might cost you a fortune. As, for a proper farming environment, it is essential to have an enormous property. 

Also, in the case of homesteads, the only main investment required is the initial cost, as they only require very little additional investments. As mentioned earlier, homesteads are built on the family land of the homesteader. So, for homesteading, no additional land cost is required. 

So, it is safe to say that the initial cost of building farms is significantly higher than building homesteads.  

Labor Requirement

When it comes to farming, the requirement of additional labor is a must because farms produce goods for a huge population that cannot be done with a limited amount of helping hands. For an annual gain of 50 thousand dollars, you would need at least 179 acres of land and if your farm is focused on crop production, you should have at least 200 laborers. 

Whereas, homesteads tend to keep their production limited for their family use only which is why homesteads are maintained only by the family members themselves. Therefore, we can say that homesteads don’t require as many helping hands as farms usually do.

Soil Quality

Research shows that, for a farm to grow, their expected amount of agricultural product, it requires its soil to be healthy. As the absence of healthy soil will drop the expected profit of the farm. But in the case of the homestead, even though healthy soli can be very helpful for growing crops, it is not a necessity in the case of breeding domestic animals.

Farming Techniques

As homesteading is done within the family, homesteaders have more flexibility over their farming techniques. This is why they don’t often follow the traditional methods and change their techniques according to their requirements. Whereas, in the case of farms, they don’t have this kind of control over their production methods as they need to reach their production goal.

It is essential for your farm to satisfy and maintain a healthy relationship with customers. Farms will only be used for business purposes, so you constantly have to connect with dealers to make a healthy profit. 

Homesteading, on the other hand, is a way of life, without threats of benefit or loss. The only outside people to speak to are the people from whom you are purchasing the agricultural machinery. Therefore, it is not necessary to maintain a relationship with people outside the domestic industry.

Does The Government Provide Free Land For Homesteading?

Many states in the United States of America provide homesteaders with free land. They do it to populate normally vacant areas. If you are willing to choose the unique life of homesteading, you can also get land free of cost.

Lincoln, Kansas

There are about 3500 residents in Lincoln, Kansas. This rural area is located near the baseball town, and the soil is ideal to create a farming ecosystem. The Land of Lincoln could be ideal for you if you are planning to go homestead.

Marquette, Kansas

Marquette is a very lovely city in Kansas. It is perfect for homesteading, and despite being a rural area it offers excellent school facilities. You must apply for the land, as you have some criteria. 

For instance, for at least a year you have to stay at the homestead. Within 120 days after you sign the contract, you must start building the house. You must also be an agricultural specialist and must provide evidence that you are an experienced farmer. 


I have addressed the distinction between homestead and farm in this article extensively. I spoke about the various forms of agriculture. Homesteading is a sort of lifestyle and farms essentially make agricultural products for profit. While they may seem identical, they vary significantly in reality. 

If you intend on building your own homes or farm, this article will be especially useful for you. I have provided ample information to help you understand the main differences between agriculture and farming. Hopefully, you can create a suitable agricultural ecosystem successfully.


Shanna is the 2nd half of Top Outdoor Survival. Like Forest, she has a passion for guns and knives. They love to go on a survival trip at least once a year. They love to go camping, hiking, and traveling.

Recent Posts