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Webinars are a great way to engage farmers. It’s no wonder. When done correctly, webinars allow farmers to learn about new research in the agricultural world as well as products that can benefit their operation. There are other reasons this type of marketing is so popular with farmers. Webinars are a convenient and affordable way […]

If you are marketing to young farmers, it is important that you understand their struggles and concerns. After all, you can’t provide the solutions young farmers are looking for if you don’t know what solutions they need.

So what do young farmers view as their biggest challenges? Read on to learn what these farmers list as obstacles to their success.

  1. Land availability: If a young farmer is not inheriting land, it can be difficult to secure land to rent. This is especially true when they can’t pay the amount of rent others are offering. It is important for young farms to understand that landowners care about more than just money. Young farmers, therefore, need to accentuate their strengths, including things like trustworthiness, desire to improve the land and a commitment to keeping fields and soil healthy.
  2. No access to capital: Many young farmers lament the fact that they do not have the access to the capital that they need. The solution? Young farmers need to develop the type of business plan that will allow them to merit financing.
  3. Difficulty speaking with landowners: Dealing with landowners and being able to hold their own in negotiations is a learned skill that takes time to develop. Young farmers need to practice their communication tactics so that they are able to get a fair deal when they sit at the bargaining table.
  4. Lack of resources: There was a time when young farmers would get significant assistance from government agencies such as the USDA. Budget cuts and other factors mean this type of assistance is no longer available. Today, young farmers need to reach out to other farmers or join agricultural networks that may provide a mentor. Social media also is a good way to reach out to those who can help them.
  5. Lack of financial know-how: There is nothing wrong with outsourcing some of the business and marketing tasks related to a farm. Many young farmers will need time to figure out how to take care of the business end of their operation. There is no shame in hiring help until you get some experience under your belt.
  6. Burn out: In an effort to make a go of it in farming, many young farmers work day and night. While being a hard worker is admirable, a balance must be struck. If not, burnout will occur and a farmer’s health and personal relationships may suffer.
  7. Tension within the family: Many young farmers are taking over the family farm. And while his or her parents are all for passing the farm down, many times it can get sticky when they have a hard time letting go.

Farming is a business and like all good business owners, farmers understand the importance of keeping their eye on industry trends. By doing so, farmers are able to predict what consumers are looking for in the short term and provide those products and services.

Today, farmers list the following trends that are hot right now:

Trend #1: Consumers are ready (and more than willing) to pay for the high quality foodstuffs.

Last year, the average retail price for things like beef, cheese, eggs, fruit and milk fell but many consumers were still willing to pay higher prices by skipping the grocery store and doing business directly with farmers. Even farmers who have contracts with supermarkets understand the lucrative nature of direct sales opportunities and take advantage of things like farmers’ markets and roadside stands.

Trend #2: An increase in farm-to table-opportunities.

Today’s families are busier than ever and need fast food options to accommodate their hectic lifestyles. And while fast food is unlikely to go away, consumers are seeking out healthier fast options. That means they are looking for fresh salads and sandwiches that they can grab on the go but that still contain healthy ingredients. When farmers partner with restaurants that provide this type of food they make a healthy profit.
Savvy farmers also are working with food delivery services that allow consumers to cook from-scratch meals while avoiding the hassle of shopping, chopping, washing and measuring fresh ingredients. These types of food delivery services allow families to cook and enjoy healthy, fresh meals without ever having to worry about menu planning.

Trend #3: A rise in the demand for organic options.

Consumers want food that does more than just meet their nutritional needs. They want to purchase food that is good for them and the environment and the community and the world at-large. When food is labeled as helping the environment and small producers, for example, consumers take note. Coffee made from sustainably produced beans and locally grown produce are examples of what consumers are looking for. And these consumers are willing to pay for those labels. Certified organic farms are the fastest growing segment of food industry. Currently, there are more than 21,000 certified organic farms in the United States and that number is expected to continue to rise.

Farmers know that catering to their customers is the key to staying viable at a time when falling food prices seem to be the norm. By doing so these farmers are able to thrive in tight economic times.

If you have never heard of the term “nurture campaign,” it might be something you want to add to your marketing vocabulary. This is especially true if you are an Ag business marketing to farmers.

The business of farming goes through periods of frenzied activity followed by relative calm. To keep in touch with Ag leads through these times, it is important to provide consistent and quality content that allows you to connect, educate and inspire-no matter what is going on with a farming operation.

It also is important that you precisely segment your farming leads so you know what type of content will be most useful and valuable to a particular farmer. Further, you need to know when it will be most valuable. It is this type of contact that will help you to build relationships that allow you to be seen as a trusted resource.

If you are still unsure whether or not you need to invest in a nurture campaign, or don’t know what such a campaign involves, here is a brief overview of what one entails: First, you make contact with a new lead. Next, you establish consistent contact moving forward being mindful not to overwhelm your lead. Finally, you use the data you have gained over time to pinpoint the more specific needs of a lead so that you can better tailor your message as time progresses.

To further illustrate the basics of a nurture campaign, here is a step-by-step guide:

Step #1: Decide on the customer segment you are going to target. Remember, for it to be effective a nurture campaign must speak specifically to one type of customer. This is no time for blanket statements or generalized messages.

Step #2: Offer something of value such as quality content or a free webinar. It is critical at this point that you don’t try to sell.

Step #3: Set up a schedule and stick to that schedule. It is important to space out your touches so they are consistent but not annoying.

Step #4: Evaluate the success of each touch to figure out what strategies work best and which calls-to-action yield the best results. This will allow your nurture campaigns to get better and better over time.

Farmers respond well to nurture campaigns because of the cyclic nature of their business. Make sure to capitalize on this fact by always putting the necessary effort into such campaigns.