Marketing to farmers and ranchers takes more than just securing mailing lists or agriculture leads. Those who really want to engage farmers need to use both online and offline marketing techniques to do so. However, depending on what you are trying to sell or to market it’s important you understand how farmers live, work, and use their purchase power.
As with any marketing segment, it is important to really get to know your customers before you can try to sell them something. And the worst thing you can ever do is to make assumptions about what a customer needs or wants. So if you are newbie to marketing to farmers and ranchers, or even a seasoned professional, it pays to brush up on your facts about farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers. Here is some information you should know before you make that first contact:
- In 2010, there were a little more than one million farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers. Almost 80 percent of these were self-employed.
- American farmers and ranchers produce food to feed the nation and they also export to other countries. They must do this while contending with a variety of unknowns, from weather to price fluctuations.
- Crops are mostly sold to food processing companies but more and more farmers are selling their goods directly to consumers.
- Farmers also are business managers. They must oversee crop production, purchasing supplies, and maintain buildings and equipment. They also are in charge of keeping financial records.
- Farmers and ranchers must be part salesman in order to effectively market their livestock and crops.
- While in the past most farmers had only a high school education, bachelor’s degrees in agriculture or related fields such as agricultural economics are becoming more and more common as farming becomes increasingly complex.
- The median annual salary of farmers and ranchers is just over $60,000. Incomes can vary widely from year to year because of the many outside factors that affect farm production. Small farm operations are often run by a farmer who also holds an additional full-time job away from the farm.
Farming is like every other industry in that it is ever-evolving and its dependence on technology continues to grow. If marketers expect to effectively market to farmers and ranchers, it will mean keeping up on the many challenges that farmers and ranchers continue to face.