When you hear of startups, your first thought would usually not be farming. It is one of the oldest types of businesses, and entire civilizations have even been formed around agricultural communities.
While farming is not a particularly new business venture, there have been numerous innovations in farming to warrant your curiosity and establish your very own farming startup. Before you dive in though, you should make sure that your farming startup is capable of doing business in the 21st century.
Here are some ways to modernize your farming startup to maximize the output.
1- Have Your Farming Operations Automated
Farming has evolved over the centuries. When mankind first took up farming, they started with the simplest of tools. They only had the simple hoe to till the earth, and maybe beasts of burden such as an ox or donkey to pull the plow. With the evolution of agriculture, however, new methods of farming soon started to develop: hand plows were replaced by tractors
A few decades ago, farms started using industrial robots to till the earth, milk the animals, gather the harvest, and various other chores that needed to be done.
Nowadays, industrial robots are becoming more and more commonplace in farming operations. Innovations in robotics technology, have granted robots more dexterity and speed. These robust have a myriad of applications such as assembly line applications, warehouse applications, dispensing applications, and picking automation just to name a few. This makes them essential to most farming operations.
When industrial robots were first created, they were very basic in design and function. They were also a lot more expensive. Nowadays, however, companies such as EVS are creating versatile and affordable industrial robots.
2- Research New Methods of Farming
When it comes to farming, innovation is key. If you want your farming startup to thrive in the 21st century, you will need to be adventurous with your farming methods. Luckily, there a good number of farming methods that you could try out. Some examples of new farming methods are vertical farming and indoor farming.
Vertical farming entails planting in vertically stacked layers. This type of agriculture helps eliminate agricultural runoff and gives you the ability to grow your crops all year-round.
Indoor farming, on the other hand, is perfect for farms that have less space. It is usually used in urban and suburban farms. Indoor farming is advantageous because you can control key factors such as sunlight, temperature, and humidity.
Aside from the two methods mentioned, there are many more methods you can try out. Remember that farming is constantly evolving, so you will need to be progressive in your to keep up.
3- Establish Good Relations With Local Restaurants and Grocers
If you want your farm to thrive, you will need to establish good relations with local restaurants and grocers. Remember that you will have to sell your products in order to make a profit.
Fruits and vegetables don’t last very long hence you will need to sell them quickly, or risk them spoiling. Restaurants and grocers are always in need of produce, which makes them a key source of income. Ensure that you sell your products at a reasonable price. This will earn you their respect, and continued patronage.
4- Enhance Your Business’ Social Media Presence
When it comes to selling your product, you will need to embrace modern eCommerce methods. One way to modernize your marketing is to use social media. When used properly, it is sure to help you get your products out there quicker. Here are some ways you can build your farm’s brand through social media.
Create an attractive website.
Your business website is your main marketing platform, and through it, you can post your products and other services. It is also an effective way for potential clients to contact you.
Post pictures of your farm and produce.
Use Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms as a visual journal for your farm. Show people your day to day activities and projects on your farm. Post about your products, services, and events. You can also create a vlog for your farm, and regularly post videos about your latest farming projects.
5- Set up Other Income-Generating Operations in Your Farm
Aside from growing produce, there are many other ways you can generate income from your farm. Here are some tips to get you started.
Hold weekly farmer’s markets in your farmstead. This event will allow you and other farmers to sell your produce to friends and visitors alike.
Organize farm tours where you show visitors what it’s like to live on a farm.
If your farmhouse is particularly big, you can also offer a bed and breakfast service for visitors.
6- Pay Attention to Vegetable or Fruit Fads
Every year there seems to be a new vegetable or fruit fad that hits social media. A few years ago it was avocados, then there was kale, and now there is a chance it will be kohlrabi or Yacon. These trends may seem trivial at first, but they do have an effect on agricultural sales.
Most social media users will admit that they get their cooking recipes from influencers who in turn use trending vegetables and fruits in their recipes. All in all, it is always a good idea to pay attention to vegetables and fruit fads, they always create demand when in fashion.
7- Customer Satisfaction Is the Key
All these tips are effective for modernizing your farm. However, if you want your farming startup to truly thrive, your top priority should always be customer satisfaction. Make sure that any product you sell, whether it is vegetables, fruits, dairy, or meat products is of the best quality possible. This way, as you gain customers, you will be able to retain those you already have.
Modernizing your farm can be a challenge, and it takes some work to do properly. There are various factors that you have to take into account: you need to handle the actual management of the farm, and market your products in a more modern and efficient way. Luckily, with these tips, your farm will be able to thrive in the ever-changing farming industry.
About Author: Chris Fraser
Chris has served as a business advisor to a big list of small and micro businesses; localized businesses and social enterprise in particular. Chris is also an avid reader and loves to stay updated about latest tech and innovation.