Thanks to the turbulent global economy, many farmers have found themselves on the verge of bankruptcy.
Major supermarket chains force farmers to sell them products at below cost price. One classic example is milk. When farmers fail to follow such demands, they end up losing major supermarket contracts.
Local farmers also have to compete with vendors from other countries, believe it or not! Quite often, it’s cheaper for the larger supermarkets to import some food items instead of using local sources.
The good news is that consumers are forcing supermarkets to change such policies. The average shopper would prefer to buy products sourced from local farms. They want to support local businesses, not provide an income for foreign firms based thousands of miles away.
Do you want your farm business to grow? Or do you wish to start a new and profitable farm business? If so, there are a few ways to make money in agriculture – despite today’s turbulent economy.
The follow ideas are ones that are all proven to increase growth and generate profit in the agriculture industry. They are as follows:
Set up a PYO farm business
Many farms sell to firms like supermarkets and other industries where food’s needed on a mass scale. The trouble with only selling to businesses is that you are missing out on a lucrative market for making even more money.
Individuals long for fresh fruit and vegetables in their lives. They don’t want to pay the high prices demanded of them at their local supermarkets. And they don’t wish to buy produce sourced from other countries.
The only businesses that survive in today’s harsh trading conditions are those that are open to change. You might have only sold to businesses, but it’s time you considered selling to individuals too.
Growing numbers of farmers realise the extra income potential of PYO or “pick your own” farm businesses. The way they work is simple. You grow the things you are good at growing on your farm.
When they are ripe, you can invite the general public to come and pick the fruit and vegetables that they want. All you need to do is charge them per weight of produce picked. And you can enjoy the profits without worrying about supply chains and supermarkets.
Picking fruit and vegetables is also a fun and social occasion that all the family can enjoy. It gives people a sense of achievement and helps them better understand where their food originates.
Your farm shop could also offer other items that your customers might buy. A classic example is ice cream! Believe it or not, ice cream is a good thing to sell people that have spent an hour in the hot sun picking fruit and vegetables from your fields.
Other complementary items you could sell include packaged fruit, vegetables, meat and fruit juices. The more affluent farm shops even have cafe areas for people that want somewhere nice to have a cup of tea and chat amongst their friends.
PYO farm businesses are great! You can make even more money from other value-added products and services your customers will enjoy.
Organic fruit and vegetables
Would you rather focus your attention on business customers and individuals outside of your farm? The good news is that supermarkets aren’t the only customers that will buy your produce. People want to lead healthier lifestyles, and that means buying fresh fruit and vegetables.
Sure, they could pay extra for organic fruit and vegetables from their local supermarkets. But it’s always better (and cheaper) to buy from a local source. The organic fruit and vegetable market is huge! People are happy to pay fair prices for produce that comes from a local vendor.
The previous section about PYO farm businesses illustrates how you can sell direct to consumers from your farm. But it’s also possible to sell your organic fruit and vegetables in other places too.
For example, if there is a farmer’s market in your local town, you could sell your fruit and vegetables there. You could even set up a farm shop in a popular shopping mall or area. As long as you “set up shop” in a populated area, you’ll find no shortage of people buying your organic produce.
Local businesses will also be happy to buy organic fruit and vegetables from you. Restaurants, cafes and independent supermarkets. They are just three examples of customers your farm business can target. There is plenty of custom out there; you just need to know where to find it!
You might not think it. But tourists would love the chance to help out on a working farm! Agricultural tourism is a growing market in many parts of the world. There are plenty of folks that want to discover the “real” parts of a country, away from the tourist traps.
Developing part of your farm into guest accommodation is a good way of generating extra revenue. A stay at your farm could include spending time picking fruit and vegetables. And for the more industrious traveller, they could even help you operate your agricultural machinery.
Aside from building accommodation, you must ensure your farm uses the latest machinery. The last thing tourists want to do is spend time operating old and faulty machinery! Websites like http://farm.autotrader.co.uk are useful sites to source used but reliable equipment.
When making your farm a tourist-centric location, you should ensure that it’s child-friendly. The people that will want to stay at your farm will usually be families with young children. You should have some activities that are safe for kids to participate in.
Developing a tourist-friendly working farm is only part of the battle. You need to follow all local planning and tourism laws. You also need to spend some time marketing your idea to others. Consider offering “day passes” for people that want to visit a working farm for the day but wish to return to their homes in the evening.
And don’t forget to advertise in regional newspapers and magazines to entice more customers!