Differentiating Farm Products
The boom and bust of the commodity cycle can wreak havoc on many farm businesses. Pig farmer David Newman saw many of his family and friends fall victim to the difficult hog market conditions of the 1990s.
Newman… “We watched numerous people: independents, exit the business. Even in our family. I mean, essentially we went completely broke in the commodity business in about an eight month period and it was brutal.”
Newman’s family decided that instead of riding things out, they were going to switch strategies to one in which they could brand and market their own products. He says this was not easy, not immediately profitable, and required a whole new way of thinking. Including hiring sales and marketing help rather than just farm help.
Newman… “You know, I'm a farmer I'm used to hiring people to work on the farm, people that work in farrowing, people that work in gestation, people to help us working cattle, people to plant and harvest and bush hog, whatever it is. I mean, I have a farmer mentality. To put money into digital marketing and a marketing strategy, or to hire a sales and marketing director. We took a position out and we took a chance. And when we hired someone who could put an emphasis on that, our business changed overnight.”
Newman’s biggest advice for others wanting to explore differentiated markets: be patient, find partners, and over-communicate.