What’s The Difference Between Homesteading and Farming?

By Jason & Denise McDonald. Updated: February 2024.


Provided by OffGridSurvivor (Photo: iStock by Getty Images).

When it comes to growing your own food, there are a lot of different approaches you can take. Two of the most popular options are homesteading and farming. But what’s the difference between the two? Let’s have a peek!

What is Homesteading?

Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency and independence. It is often characterized by living off the land, growing your own food, and being self-sufficient.

Homesteading can be done in many different ways, but the common thread is a desire to live a simpler, more sustainable life.

Farming, on the other hand, is a commercial enterprise. Farmers grow crops or raise livestock for sale, rather than for their own consumption.

Farming is an important part of the food system, but it is not the same as homesteading.

What is Farming?

Farming is an agricultural process that involves activities like planting, harvesting, and raising livestock. It is a way of life that is as old as humanity itself. Farming requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but it can be a very rewarding experience.

There are many different types of farming, but all of them share some common characteristics. For example, farmers must have a strong knowledge of the land they are working with. They also need to be able to care for their crops and animals properly.

Farming is not an easy lifestyle, but it can be very rewarding. Those who choose to farm do so because they have a passion for it. They love the land and the animals, and they take pride in their work.

The Differences between Homesteading and Farming.

The terms homesteading and farming are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences between the two. Homesteading is a way of life that is centered around self-sufficiency and living off the land.

Farming, on the other hand, is a commercial enterprise that focuses on producing crops or raising livestock for sale.

Homesteaders are often more interested in sustainability and self-sufficiency than profit. They may grow their own food, keep animals for milk and meat, and tap into natural resources like wood for fuel and building materials.

Homesteaders may also barter or trade with their neighbors for goods and services.

Farming, on the other hand, is all about production. Farmers typically grow crops or raise livestock for sale in the market. They use modern machinery and technology to maximize output and profits.

While some farmers may sell directly to consumers, most sell their products to processors or wholesalers.

The two lifestyles also differ in terms of lifestyle. Homesteaders often live a more isolated life, as they are not reliant on others for their food or supplies.

Farming can be a very social enterprise, as farmers often work with others in their community to get their products to market

Pros and Cons of Homesteading and Farming.

There are many different ways to live off the land, but two of the most popular are homesteading and farming. Both have their own set of pros and cons that you should consider before making a decision about which one is right for you.

Homesteading Pros:
You are more self-sufficient and independent when homesteading.
You have more control over what you eat since you grow your own food.
You can live a simpler life without some of the modern conveniences.

Homesteading Cons:
It can be a lot of work to maintain a homestead.
You may need to learn new skills like carpentry, gardening, and animal husbandry.
You may be isolated from your friends and family if you live in a remote location.

Farming Pros:
Farming can be a very profitable business venture.
You can sell your surplus food at farmers markets or through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
You can learn a lot about animal husbandry, crop rotation, and sustainable agriculture practices.

Farming Cons:
Farms require alot of land, which can be expensive to acquire.
You need to have some experience to be a successful farmer.
There is a lot of hard work and long hours involved in farming.

Farms are for Profit while Homesteads are for Sustenance.

The two terms – farming and homesteading – are often used interchangeably, but there is a big difference between the two. Farming is an agricultural business that is run with the sole purpose of making a profit, while homesteading is a lifestyle that focuses on self-sufficiency and sustainability.

Homesteaders often grow their own food, raise animals for meat and milk, and use renewable resources to power their homes and farm equipment.

They live off the land as much as possible, which reduces their reliance on store-bought goods and makes them less vulnerable to economic fluctuations.

In contrast, farmers typically rely on non-renewable resources like fossil fuels, use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and grow crops or raise animals for sale rather than for personal consumption.

The end goal of homesteading is to be self-sufficient, while the end goal of farming is to make a profit. However, both require a lot of hard work and dedication.

If you’re interested in sustainable living or becoming more self-reliant, homesteading may be the right path for you. But if your goal is to make money from agriculture, farming is the way to go.

Homesteaders Live on Their Property.

There are many homesteaders who live on their property and never leave. They are completely self-sufficient, growing their own food and raising their own animals. They may even generate their own power and water. This is the true definition of homesteading.

Farming, on the other hand, is a commercial enterprise. Farmers may live on their farm, but they also sell their products to the public. They may grow crops or raise animals for meat, milk, or eggs. Farming is a business, while homesteading is a lifestyle.

Homesteads are Generally Much Smaller than Farms.

If you’re interested in living a more self-sufficient lifestyle, you may be wondering whether homesteading or farming is right for you. Here’s a look at the key differences between these two types of properties:

Size: Homesteads are generally much smaller than farms. This means that they require less land and fewer resources to maintain.

Scope: The activities that take place on a homestead are typically more diverse than those on a farm. In addition to growing crops and raising livestock, homesteaders may also keep bees, chickens, and other animals; make their own soap, cheese, and other products; and even generate their own power.

Purpose: The main goal of homesteading is to be self-sufficient. This means that homesteaders produce as much of their own food and supplies as possible. Farms, on the other hand, are usually commercial operations focused on producing crops or livestock for sale.

So, which is right for you? If you’re looking for a simpler way of life with less reliance on store-bought goods, homesteading might be a good fit. If you’re interested in running a commercial operation or specializing in a particular type of agriculture,

Other Names for Homesteads.

There are many different names for homesteads, depending on where you live in the world. In the United States, people sometimes refer to their homesteads as farms, ranches, or plantations.

In other parts of the world, such as Australia and New Zealand, people often call their homesteads stations. No matter what you call it, a homestead is a place where you can live a self-sufficient lifestyle.

Homestead vs Farming Laws.

The difference between homesteading and farming is vast and complicated. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but there are legal distinctions between the two.

If you’re interested in either lifestyle, it’s important to understand the key differences.

Homesteading is a way of life that is focused on self-sufficiency and off-the-grid living. Homesteaders grow their own food, raise animals for meat and milk, and use natural materials to build their homes.

They are not reliant on outside resources or power sources, and often live in remote locations.

Farming, on the other hand, is a commercial enterprise that produces food and other products for sale. Farmers typically have large tracts of land and use mechanized equipment to grow crops and care for livestock.

They sell their products through markets or directly to consumers.

There are different laws that apply to homesteading and farming. Homesteading laws vary from state to state, but they generally allow individuals to claim undeveloped land as their own and live on it for a certain period of time.

Farming laws are governed by federal regulations and dictate things like how much land can be used for farming, what types of chemicals can be sprayed oncrops, and how livestock must be cared for.

Let’s Recap – Which One is Right for You?

There’s a big difference between homesteading and farming. Homesteading is a way of life that is based on self-sufficiency and independence.

Farming, on the other hand, is a commercial enterprise that is focused on producing crops or livestock for sale.

So, which one is right for you? If you’re interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle, then homesteading might be the way to go. If you’re looking to make a profit from your land, then farming is probably a better option.

Here’s a closer look at the two different lifestyles:


Homesteaders are interested in living off the land as much as possible. They might grow their own food, raise animals for meat and milk, and produce their own energy with solar panels or a wind turbine.

Homesteaders are often very self-sufficient, meaning they don’t rely on store-bought goods or services.


Farms are all about producing crops or livestock for sale. Farmers typically grow crops like corn, wheat, and soybeans, or raise animals like cows, chickens, and pigs. Farms can be small family operations or large commercial enterprises.


So, what’s the difference between homesteading and farming?

In a nutshell, homesteading is a way of life that is based on self-sufficiency, while farming is a commercial enterprise. Homesteaders focus on producing enough food for their own needs, while farmers focus on producing food for sale.

Both homesteading and farming require hard work and dedication, but the rewards are different. For homesteaders, the rewards are in the form of a more sustainable lifestyle, while for farmers, the rewards are in the form of financial gain.