At any given time, in any place, in any area of business, there is usually an established set of businesses operating in that geographic area.
If you are new to that area and/or if you want to start a business in that area, how do you compete?
Think about farming. There are a lot of conventional and better than conventional producers of poultry, pork, and beef in many of the markets around the US and Canada.
If you want to get into one of those markets, how do you deal with the competition?
On one hand they are competition. On the other hand they are comrades, other small scale farmers, in the battle against big ag. And in some ways, the total market would be stronger if more locals were supporting more local farms.
It’s competition versus co-opetition.
Directly competing in a battle to the death versus competing on more friendly terms knowing that the real battle is the little farms versus the mega industrialized farm complex.
As a new farmer you have to walk this line carefully.
If you are new farmer, then you could benefit from a lot of your competitors knowledge – knowledge about the market, the local climate, local processors and suppliers, knowledge about the livestock, knowledge about the local grasses. Despite being your competitor they know a lot that you would benefit from knowing, while at the same time, being your direction competition.
When you start farming or start farming in a new area, how do you compete and deal with the competition?
That’s the focus of today’s show, and it’s a topic that was driven by this listen question…
What about the competition?
How do you balance the basic need to compete with those farms around you while also building the needed ties and connections with the same individuals? There are two farms raising pastured pork and chicken within about 40 miles of us. My instinct is to find ways to compete with them but it seems the best practice is actually, in a way, the opposite. The more I watch and listen to, the more it seems the community aspect of it is more important. So just trying to find a way to balance the capitalistic side with the community side.
Friends or Foe? Connecting with Other Farmers
- When approaching other farmers/vendors for advice – be respectful of their time and the work they have put in.
- Think about what makes your farm and product different if you are going into a competitive space.
- If you have a different product that other vendors and farmers you aren’t really their competition because you are selling into a different market.
- Darby’s blog post: Assessing Farmers Markets
- Look for in market:
- Open Saturdays
- Open at least 4 hours
- A strong leadership team running the market.
- Is the market master doing a good job of marketing the market.
- Look at the vendors, are they busy?
- What is pricing like at the market with other vendors?
- Is the vibe good?
Interested in transitioning into full or part-time farming?
Do you want to transition into livestock farming on a part-time or full-time basis?
Or are you currently farming, but it’s stressful and challenging to manage the farm and life?
Or are you currently farming, but you are struggling to make the enterprise profitable or generate enough on farm income to farm full time?
The Farm Business Essentials Intensive was created to help addresses those concerns and challenges.
In this three day workshop we will take an in-depth look at where you are currently at, where you want to go, what do you need to put in place to get there, and what are some of the next action steps to turn the ideas into reality.
The workshop will take place on March 2-4, 2017 outside Indianapolis, Indiana.
Connect with Darby Simpson
Whether you are simply someone looking to raise some or all of your own meat on a homestead, or are looking to follow your dreams of full time farming Darby can help you be a success and reach your goals. Your one on one consultation is tailored to fit you – not anyone else. It’s all about your farm enterprise or homestead, and will answer your questions on a myriad of farming related subjects. LEARN MORE.
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