Natural Resource Enterprises (2024)

Marina D'Abreau Denny, Extension Associate

Published 2/20/2014

Natural Resource Enterprises (1)

Of all the enterprise opportunities for private landowners, mushroom growing has the potential for the fastest return with the lowest financial investment and minimal space needed. Specialty mushrooms typically sell at wholesale prices of $3 to $6 per pound.

Several specialty type mushrooms are grown and sold in the United States, including oyster, shiitake, maitake, and lion's mane. Shiitake and oyster mushrooms are the best choice for small-scale production, since they don't require a lot of equipment and space.

Shiitake mushrooms are often sold in grocery stores, health food stores, and farmers' markets and are also quite popular for their flavor and consistency. Oyster mushrooms are easy to grow and can be harvested in as little as 6 weeks.

Growing Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms

Natural Resource Enterprises (2)

Probably the easiest substrate on which to grow either shiitake or oyster mushrooms are small-diameter hardwood logs. The disadvantage to growing on logs is that the mushrooms will only be available for harvest seasonally. Other growing media, like sawdust or hay, can provide a year-round supply of mushrooms.

Shiitake mushrooms can grow on 3-foot long logs, and a single log may bear up to five crops of mushrooms. While oak is the preferred species, but beech, chestnut and other hardwoods work just as well.

During cold months, greenhouses and converted farm buildings can be used for mushroom production. If you plan on doing outdoor production (ideal for spring and fall), the logs need to be inoculated with spawn (a starter mix of fungal mycelium and sawdust or grain), covered with shade cloth, and set aside to allow the fungi to develop. Spawn can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to develop, depending on the log species, diameter, moisture, and temperature. At the end of this development period, transfer the logs to a cool, moist area where the mushrooms can grow and be harvested.

Oyster mushrooms are also best when grown on hardwood logs, but many growers will opt for artificial substrates, such as composted straw, chopped wheat straw with cottonseed hulls, and sawdust, which is then placed in sealed plastic bags, bottles, trays, or beds in a controlled environment after sterilization and the addition of spawn. In about 100 ft2 of growing area, you can produce as much as 2,500 pounds of mushrooms a year. Even selling at the low-end wholesale price of $3 a pound, that's a potential of gross revenues of $7,500 a year, before subtracting production, management, and labor costs. An added benefit of oyster mushrooms is that they freeze or dry quite well, so if you can't sell your entire harvest right away, freezing or drying enables you to sell your oyster mushrooms days or months in the future.

Selling Your Mushrooms

It's important that you understand not only the ins and outs of mushroom growing, but marketing strategies to make the most of your product. A starting list of things to consider includes:

  • health and legal matters
  • Pest Control
  • Market Potential for your mushrooms

Health and Legal Matters

Many commercially available mushrooms are rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals and are low-fat. There are also claims that certain species have the potential to fight cancer and viruses and reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

However, use caution when choosing which type of mushroom to grow or when deciding how to market your mushrooms. Hard-core, scientific evidence for their use as a "miracle food" is often sketchy, at best. Don't use unsupported health claims in your marketing to avoid being accused of false advertising. Make sure that you are fully aware of all local, state, and federal laws regarding production and marketing of food products, and meet or exceed them.

If your mushroom business grows to the point that you need to hire outside employees, be sure that you provide the appropriate safety equipment, such as masks or respirators, to protect them from fungal spores. Oyster mushrooms, for example, produce spores that may cause allergic reactions in some people.

There is also the potential risk of being sued by a consumer who becomes ill and claims that you sold them contaminated produce. Reduce your liability risks by

  • ensuring your growing substrates are free of pesticides and other toxins
  • using only high-quality spawn from commercial suppliers
  • maintaining clean growing environments
  • keeping top-notch production records
  • investing in liability insurance

Pest Control

Whether you choose to grow your mushrooms indoors or out, you'll need to control for pests and diseases. Even minor temperature or climate fluctuations can reduce yields or spur the growth of "weed molds" which can decay the wood on which the mushrooms are growing. Insects, such as termites, bark beetles and springtails, and wildlife, including slugs, snails, birds, squirrels, and deer, can become serious pests for mushroom farmers, especially with outdoor operations.

Indoors, you'll need a certain degree of technical expertise to operate and maintain proper environmental controls. Growing facilities must be kept clean to avoid introduction of potentially toxic contaminants. Pests like fungus gnats can be a common problem and need to be managed appropriately.

Market Potential

If you're not comfortable meeting with people and "selling your wares," then this part of the process will be the most difficult. Your primary outlets to which to sell your mushrooms will be restaurants, farmers' markets, and grocery stores.

Visit local restaurants and offer free samples (along with a potential recipe or two) to the chefs. The prospect of promoting dishes made with locally-grown produce can be quite appealing. Be sure to ask a lot of questions of your potential customers, including:

  • Are they interested in locally-grown, fresh mushrooms?
  • Do they have a preference for shiitake, oyster, etc.?
  • Would they prefer weekly deliveries?
  • How many mushrooms a week would they likely want?

Most customers at farmers' markets are looking for quality foods from local growers, so you're liable to sell quite a bit in a weekend. Research the space availability and vendor rules of the farmers' markets in your area, and determine the benefits of selling at several over a wider geographic range, or just one or two nearby.

Grocery stores will often purchase their mushrooms from out-of-state distributors. Speak to the manager of your local store to determine if your product has a chance of being sold there. Stress the fact that most mushrooms taste better when fresh picked, which is an advantage of your product over those shipped in from elsewhere.

Additional Resources

  • Mushroompeople. (2011). Growing Mushrooms Commercially: Marketing Hints.
  • Natural Resource Enterprises. (August 2011). Growing Mushrooms. Mississippi State University,
  • Small Farm Sustainable Living. (January 2011). Start Your Own Mushroom Growing Business.
  • Wallin, C. (n.d.). Top 10 FAQs about Growing Oyster Mushrooms for Profit. Profitable Plants: High-Value Crops for Small Growers,
Natural Resource Enterprises (2024)


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Examples of natural resources in business are different for each type of business but could be: Gas for fleet of vehicles. Raw gems like diamonds and emeralds for jewelry. Foresting rights for lumber.

What are some examples of natural resources? ›

Oil, coal, natural gas, metals, stone and sand are natural resources. Other natural resources are air, sunlight, soil and water. Animals, birds, fish and plants are natural resources as well. Natural resources are used to make food, fuel and raw materials for the production of goods.

What companies use natural resources? ›

Biggest Natural Resources Companies in the World
  • Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE:WY)
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Jan 12, 2023

What are examples of natural resource services? ›

Natural resource services include services to other natural resources, such as providing food, shelter or nesting, as well as services directly benefiting humans and the human use of those services, such as fishing and other recreational activities.

What is an example of a natural capital business? ›

Natural capital is any natural asset that brings value to people. Examples include biodiversity, air, soil, water, trees or assets with societal benefits, such as historic land.

What are the four types of natural resources? ›

Examples of Natural Resources
  • Renewable Resources: Solar energy, wind energy, and hydroelectric power.
  • Non-renewable resources: Coal, natural gas, and crude oil.
  • Biotic Resources: Forests, animals, and marine life.
  • Abiotic Resources: Minerals like iron and gold, and resources like air and water.
Jan 9, 2024

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Natural resource ownership

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Natural resources give us water, wood, food and energy. It is not possible to live without natural resources. Natural resources include oil, coal, natural gas, metals, stone, and sand. Air, sunlight, soil, and water are other natural resources.

What are the 20 man made resources? ›

The human-made resources are also called as the capital resources includes the money, factories, roads, plastic, the paper, metals, rubber, buildings cement, machinery, vehicles, tools and equipment, human population, electricity, telephones, watches, air conditioners, agriculture, bridges, airplanes, cities, harbors.

What industry is natural resources in? ›

About the Natural Resources and Mining supersector

The natural resources and mining supersector consists of these sectors: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting: NAICS 11. Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction: NAICS 21.

How is Tesla going green? ›

We build our factories to limit waste, water usage and energy consumption. With each Gigafactory, we are able to manufacture our products more sustainably. We build our factories to limit waste, water usage and energy consumption. With each Gigafactory, we are able to manufacture our products more sustainably.

Does Amazon use natural resources? ›

We strive to use natural resources in a responsible way across our business and supply chain, while investing in conservation and restoration initiatives.

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Water, air, and soil are three natural resources that we cannot live without. The Forest Service strives to protect, maintain, and restore these valuable assets now and into the future. Water is one of the most important natural resources flowing from forests.

What are 5 examples of how we use natural resources? ›

Natural Resources
Natural ResourceProducts or Services
AirWind energy, tires
AnimalsFoods (milk, cheese, steak, bacon) and clothing (wool sweaters, silk shirts, leather belts)
MineralsCoins, wire, steel, aluminum cans, jewelry
5 more rows

What is an example of natural resource management? ›

Examples of these kinds of projects include: micro-watershed management, irrigation water management, soil and water conservation, community forestry, community-based coastal zone fisheries management, and conservation of biodiversity.

What is an example of a common resource in business? ›

Common resources are those that no one individual or organization can lay claim to. These may include public spaces (such as parks or nature preserves), certain natural resources (such as fish in the sea), and so on.

What are examples of natural resources capital? ›

Examples of natural resources are water, air, trees, minerals, and animals. Capital resources are man-made tools and equipment used to produce a product. Examples of capital resources are factories, equipment, and tools such as hammers, saws, and computers.

What is natural resources in business management? ›

Natural resource management deals with managing the way in which people and natural landscapes interact. It brings together natural heritage management, land use planning, water management, bio-diversity conservation, and the future sustainability of industries like agriculture, mining, tourism, fisheries and forestry.

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