What Business Are We In?

Jolene Brown is a champion supporter and promoter for the hard working people that clothe, feed and fuel the world.  Her passion is to share leading-edge business management ideas that positively influence productivity, profitability and peace of mind. 

Here are some highlights from her presentation I found interesting:


The pace has changed.  Everything is faster, everyone is in a hurry, and consumers are demanding to move faster yet.  Technology has had a huge impact on the way society functions today.

People make laws and regulations for the food and fiber sector and they do not know our way of life.  Agriculture is a very diverse enterprise in the United States.  Most of us are familiar with grain farmers, ranchers or pork producers.  There are also fruit and vegetable farmers, peanut or almond growers, poultry and dairy producers that fall within the same laws.  It is challenging to comply with “one size fits all” policies when agriculture is so variable across our country.

Processes have changed.  Many Ag commodities are produced differently than they were years ago, largely due to technological advances in production methods.  Monitoring and measuring our progress is essential and traceability is key.  Consumers want to know about the origins of their food.

Products have changed.  Not only do consumers want to know more about where their food comes from, they want convenient food for their fast paced lifestyle.  Consumers like to buy foods with a lot of details because they believe the product is more trust worthy.  A black angus ribeye steak raised in Nebraska must be better than a plain ole ribeye.

What People Value

Time – We all want more time and are in a hurry with the time we have.  The pace is fast and time is expensive.

Youth – People are obsessed with looking and feeling young.  The young at heart have a true passion for what they do.  People like to do business with people who like what they do.  Luckily, most agriculture producers love the career they have chosen.

Health – No one wants to be sick!  People buy organics because the media as termed them healthier and safer than conventionally raised grain and livestock.  There is a lot of research that will dispute these ideas.  Farmers and ranchers need to share the facts and stand up for what we believe in.

Safety – The consumer wants to be confident in the quality and safety of our food supply. They also want to know that the food they eat was humanely treated.

An Experience– Consumers want to have a touch point experience with an actual farmer, dairyman, wine maker, etc.  Farm fresh eggs, milk, and meat put the consumer in direct contact with a producer.  Pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and farmers markets create a positive memory associated with food production. 

Today’s consumers have a world of information at their finger tips.  The Internet and traceability has made it possible to scan a food product and watch it grow from a seed to the produce you feed your family.  In some places, customers can scan a piece of meat and see a picture of the animal  it came from and the rancher that raised it.

It is important for producers to be educated and informed about the different types of foods that are available on the market.  In addition to daily crop and livestock management, producers need to be aware of the end product destination and what consumers value.  Sometimes, producers need to become involved with consumers through education and sharing what life is like on a farm, ranch, in the dairy barn or chicken house.

This all ties into the question “What business are we in?”  We are food producers, environmentalists, farmers, ranchers and more.  Jolene takes it one step further to say we are in the business of consumer products and services.  “I produce food, fuel, fiber and the air you breathe; I am an American farmer!”

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2 Responses to What Business Are We In?

  1. Candy C. says:

    It pretty much all boils down to that last sentence doesn’t it. We don’t usually think of farmers/ranchers as being in the business of consumer products and services!

    • Robyn says:

      It amazes me what by-products are produced from feed, food and fiber. I think if people knew how many by-products are used in everyday life it would floor them.

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