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Getting full retail for farm production – various strategies

Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3511
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  40
   In almost any business marketing is the thing that will make or break the enterprise.

     With many farm products at the retail level the farmer receives a fairly small percentage of the retail price. This is most pronounced with grains and other highly processed items. In checking out what retailers are willing to pay for fruit and vegetables in my area, I'm likely to receive 60% of the retail price. It's much worse elsewhere. None of them thought much of buying fish from a small producer.

   I only have three or 4 acres which I consider prime agricultural land so there's no way I'm ever going to be big enough that I can afford to play in the economy of scale that allows a farm to produce for large retailers and receive a small percentage of the take.

    So it seems that the only way I'm going to receive maximum benefit for my efforts is to become my own best customer. No, I don't have 20 kids to eat it all, but I do plan to get retail value for much of my production by feeding visitors at my bed and breakfast(not yet built) and travelers on my 24 passenger camping bus(I have that and it's paid for). In many cases I'll get far more than the retail value of this produce since it will be served up restaurant style.

    I've done plenty of horsetrading in the past and will no doubt pay for mechanical work, labor, and innumerable other services with produce from the farm.  By growing a large variety of fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and lumber, yep lumber, it's more likely that a good percentage of this can be used in house or sold to people I know for full retail. If I were only growing wheat or oats it's unlikely that there would be enough people in my personal network to possibly consume enough of this to make much of a dent in supply.

    My largest input cost will certainly be labor and my tour bus is a perfect vehicle(pun intended) to ensure that I have willing laborers. Every tour operator I see, travels two thirds empty half of the time which I consider to be a horrible waste of resources and a lost opportunity for profit. So far as I know I will be the only tour operator on the island who will allow customers who can't afford their trip to work it off on an organic farm. I'm sure that word of this will travel like wildfire amongst the backpacking crowd many of whom have already done woofing elsewhere. This should allow me to stretch the tourist season by a few months. The upscale bed-and-breakfast is unlikely to be occupied in the off-season so I'll fill the place up with young people who are willing to work the farm and go on bus trips. Very few farms seeking woofers can offer such a generous package so I will be in position to sort out the duds and only take those who can get along and be productive.

    I'm building quite a bit more accommodation on the farm than I require since my children are largely grown and I am single. I'll be renting out rooms, primarily to those who want to be fed well and who want to live in an idyllic parklike setting rather than a city flophouse. Tenants will all have the option of paying for some of their rent with farm duties. Again the in-house thing.

    I'm creating a de facto park on 700 m of my tree-lined roadway. Everyone who is travels my paths will see hugle beds,aquaponics ponds and greenhouses, and livestock along with signs indicating that there is organic produce for sale. So by inviting the public to use the steep naturally forested area of the property I will effectively be inviting people to the farm gate as well. When they buy stuff there will be no middleman.

   Once I have enough production to warrant advertising I will contact every customer who has ever bought recycled goods from me since this crowd tends to be concerned about the quality of their food as well. Every customer on the bus will be given the opportunity to purchase what ever is in surplus and I'll encourage anyone who helps me to market to their personal circle. I'm sure I'll think of more ways to get full retail as time goes on.

    By following this path it's quite likely that I will never have so much surplus that I'm forced to sell it off at rock-bottom prices.

    Tell us what you've done to cut out the middleman and ensure that you reap the lions share from your farm, garden and forest production.


QUOTES FROM MEMBERS --- In my veterinary opinion, pets should be fed the diet they are biologically designed to eat. Su Ba...The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know. I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one. John Polk ...Even as we sit here, wondering what to do, soil fungi are degrading the chemicals that were applied. John Elliott ... O.K., I originally came to Permies to talk about Rocket Mass Heaters RMHs, and now I have less and less time in my life, and more and more Good People to Help ! Al Lumley...I think with the right use of permie principles, most of Wyoming could be turned into a paradise. Miles Flansburg... Then you must do the pig's work. Sepp Holzer
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5320
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20

I'm looking forward to seeing the development of your endeavor (I almost said "empire", dale. 

I've only sold a few eggs from my place, so I don't have much of a story, just egg sales to friends.  I doubt I made a profit.

Idle dreamer

Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3511
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  40
    If you got full retail for those eggs then you are queen of your domain.

      On the empire thing.

    I am by nature a benevolent dictator and definitely view my business and my life as being somewhat separate from the mainstream. I'm constantly patrolling my borders looking for intruders but also testing for weakness in order to figure out where to invade next. I consider mainstream home-building and agriculture to be seriously flawed and therefore ripe for revolution. My contribution to this will be to participate on the side of the good guys but also to help the others fail and then pick the carcass of failed enterprises for resources.

     I remember the movie mad Max where he was accused of living off the carcass of a dead society and I thought, "what's wrong with that ".

    I moved to this side of the continent specifically so that I could feed off the waste stream of a very wasteful place. When I first entered the demolition business one of my competitors stole from me and attempted to sabotage my efforts. I targeted him in every...(I deleted a very juicy story in anticipation of being reported for advocating vigilante-ism, use your imagination )    One of my proudest moments ,an opponent utterly vanquished. He was a druggie, liar and thief and therefore according to  "the book of Dale" fair game.

     I don't have an empire yet but I'm working on it .

   
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 5862
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
  88
Make certain to investigate all local laws.  There was another B & B, elsewhere in Canada that was told they could not serve their farm produced, organic eggs to their customers...the eggs had not gone through 'the system'.

Canada's biggest downfall is that they are too close to the US of A. and your bureaucrats are learning bad lessons from ours!
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3511
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  40
    If such a law exists then that's one I'll be braking, in the open and hopefully on camera. Of course there's a dozen ways to skirt around laws. It may be necessary to sell someone a live fish and later cook it for their supper.

   That must have happened in Québec where bureaucracy upon bureaucracy flourishes. I understand the babysitters are going to unionize and go on strike on New Year's Eve
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5320
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I tend to lean the other way.  I don't investigate local laws, or any laws. 

As someone said, it's easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.

But that's just my personal way of conducting myself.  I am not a law abiding citizen.  I do not advise others to conduct themselves as I do.

Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3511
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  40
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
 

As someone said, it's easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.




Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3511
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  40
    This works in some cases but probably not a good idea if it involves butting into line or anything sexual
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5320
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Yes, I didn't mean in a social situation! 
 
 
subject: Getting full retail for farm production – various strategies
 
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