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The Urban Customer and the Farming Business unite so both benefit

Posted by Barry Osborne

Feb 8, 2013 5:59:00 AM

Farming Business Urban Customer as partner resized 600Good Marketing is simply satisfying a customer need. Farming Business must be guided by their Urban Customers and their success will be assured.

As has been discussed in LinkedIn, what I am talking about is Niche Marketing. Yes, I agree and it does not worry me to seeking such a small market. The market I want is simply put, a market just big enough that it will take all the produce the farm can produce. As the market grows, the Farming Business grows and it will eventually grow outside of just our Urban Group membership club concept. But once that happens, and then there are greater opportunities that start to emerge that could help the Urban Sector as well.

It could be that the Farming Business sees that there is a bigger market than the guaranteed market of the Club membership and it could be that one of our Club Members sees a greater opportunity for themselves by setting up a Wholesome Food Establishment that will sell to the general public our Farm Branded products. So a shop is secured that can now trade as a retail outlet in the farm products. This operation could be a partnership between the Pine Eden Farming Community and the Urban Group member who is there to run it.

In Australia and I am sure it is worldwide, that FOOD and FARMING taps the PASSION within of many people.  

With all my marketing in Nature’s Beef, I would often be involved with setting up restaurants for a number of days in Farming Field Events as well as having a presence at our Agricultural Shows, like at Brisbane where it goes on for 10 days. I was always amazed how much the Urban Group appreciate the story on how things are done on the farm. Also, it was interesting that chefs in top restaurants did not really understand the issues of rearing high quality beef and the issues associated with the breakdown of the carcase and the problems of utilizing fully the carcase.

This is why the new age Farmers must be marketers as well and they must get off the farm and get involved within the area where their customers are. Doing cook ups at the Wholesome Food Establishment and telling the story of the production of the product. Yes our new age farmer must be able to cook a good steak and other food, because that is the business he is really in; THE MEAL BUSINESS.

I can hear now the old time farmer saying “Who is going to do all the bloody work at the farm whilst I am cooking in the city?”

This is the reason why our farms cannot be single person operations. Just like in any business, there are many facets of the operation and not one person can do it all. It is not done by one person in the city, so why has the existing farming operations gone down that track for farming? It is because of this fierce protection to have independence for what I cannot understand. The farm work in many ways is simply basic labouring work, it does not need a specialist but someone who doesn’t mind hard yakka (hard work for those non Australians).

So my model means that we are going to use more of our brain than our brawn to build our Farming Business of the future. Our customers are going to be our strength and will help to build the business. But most importantly, not allow the Farming Business to get into the unwinnable situation, where you have the product but nowhere to sell.  You find the market first and then produce to that market is much better so you can have restful nights in bed, but will give you better returns because you are not dropping prices to get rid of unwanted produce.

Two experiences to enforce my points in this blog:

  1. With Nature’s Beef, our successful product became a real issue because the top restaurants wanted the product more and more. But the more we tried to supply the greater the number of animals that went into production, but behind the scenes there were enormous amounts of bottom cuts (mostly trimmings, 30% of the boned carcase) building up in the chillers. Then we joined the Meat Industry and became simply another trader, a commodity seller not a branded product. This was a goal that I said would NOT happen; famous last words. We should have had markets for these lower products as well as the top end, right from the beginning. We lost the plot and what great prices we gained on our top cuts we lost in the trading to get rid of the bottom cuts.

  2. The growth of a business is exponential when you get into a market which is driven by the customer.  This was the case with my photographic business. I started with one shop, the customers loved it, so I opened up a second shop and then another shop nearly every year for 5 years. That is what could happen with good marketing to the Urban sector and finding those passionate customers who want the farm direct produce and who will talk to all their friends

But just imagine, the end market grows, the farming business grows, and before long you need more farms producing your branded product.

Building successful business is so exciting, but never forget that most businesses fail and even some very good ones, because it only needs one thing to go wrong and it could bring the whole business down. The essential thing is to plan and to be very clear about your product and who your customers are.

So if you are interested in joining our Pine Eden Business Community as part of the Urban Group or the Rural Group, than please register below and also submit an entry in our Free Weekend to Pine Eden Country.

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Topics: Buying the Australian Farm, Buying a farm, farming business, buying acreage

About this blog

It has only been in the last decade or so that you have seen the demise of the Rural Communities. However, it is my belief that that there will be a resurgence within the food producing sector within the next decade. But this will occur with the entrance of a new breed of Rural Entrepreneurs who will create new style of farming businesses. Businesses that will not only produce the food but will also realise the importance of marketing their products so they receive the full value of their produce so by create viable businesses.

I have had my time, but it is now time to hand on my farms to younger people who will carry forward the dream of viable farming enterprises.

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