Not all farms are created equal. While each farm offers value to the market - and the population at large - they do so in different ways.
Knowing a farm’s unique strategic advantage is key to providing the right guidance, service and products to the farmer. And that’s critical for agribusiness sales professionals.
When you can tap into these unique factors, you can work with your farmers to leverage your products and services as part of each farm’s future marketing strategies. However, each individual farmer may or may not be aware of their farm’s strategic advantage.
If you can help farmers in your territory identify their strategic advantages, you can win their trust and build a productive relationship for both them and your business.
Below are some important data sets that can give you a glimpse of a farm’s strategic advantage.
Consider the size of the farm.
Farm size can help you discover the market a farm works with and which consumers it might be interested in working with. When farmers understand how their size influences their potential market, they can utilize farm size to their advantage.
Smaller farms serve smaller markets, which means that they can reach niche markets that larger farms ignore. A farmer working with a niche market might be looking to diversify their crops and want to work with heirloom or organic seeds, for example.
On the other hand, larger farms don’t have the same barriers to entry that small farms do when it comes to commodity sales and capturing a large piece of the market share pie. Large farms can leverage their size to attract new buyers, and might be interested in new farm technology or equipment.
The things that small farms and large farms need to leverage their strategic advantages can vary significantly. For example, farmers with small farms might also be able to experiment with different seed types or off-season events to capture community engagement and local buy-in, whereas farmers with larger farms likely don’t need to worry with the fluctuating wants and desires of their local communities.
Take a look at farm size information on farms in your territory to get a better feel for how farm sizes impact the activities your farmers are likely to be interested in.
Look at local climate, soil and land advantages.
A farm’s physical location is incredibly important when it comes to what crops farmers grow, and how successfully they grow them. Some natural factors to consider when identifying strategic advantage are climate, soil health and other physical land aspects, like bodies of water nearby.
Climate and soil health have an obvious impact on crop planting decision and crop yield. For example, if a farmer lives in a location with ample water supply and rich soil, he has the advantage to reap nutrient-dense crops from his field. These crops might attract new customers at the farm stand or it might impact overall yield, which will allow him to earn greater profits come harvest time.
Data on crop type, farm boundaries and local geographic features can give you insight to the natural strategic advantages your farmers have access to.
Understand who’s related to who.
Related growers and local farm networks can be an advantage for the farms that you work with.
Some farming communities still have strong family ties, and these family relationships can influence how farmers operate and what their day-to-day operations look like, depending on which family members handle which aspects of farm management. Details like land consolidation and split subsidy payments also come into play here, since farm management and land boundaries can change as older generations pass away or retire.
Sometimes, farms in a certain area are passed along to younger family members who would rather not carry on the family business. In this case, certain small farms may end up consolidated and run by a larger management company, changing the way that each piece of land is owned and operated.
To learn more about your farmers’ connections, look into data on related farms and other agricultural outlets in your territory to determine whether these factors might come into play.
Narrow down each farm’s unique strategic advantage.
The farms in your territory are going to fall into multiple categories that influence their strategic advantages. You can help farmers to determine their own unique strategic advantages by highlighting where their various opportunities intersect.
The combination of size factor, natural advantage and local connection for Farm A might look entirely different from that for Farm B, even if the farms are across the street from one another. When you understand how these differences give your farmers advantages in their respective markets, you can find ways to incorporate your products or services as part of the “secret sauce” that sets them apart.