Plot And Profit


The U.S. produce market is operating under increased pressure with narrower margins than we have seen in many years. It is easy to see the pressure brought on by our current economic and government spending issues. 2008 brought the U.S. into a recession that left many unemployed, which threatens the underlying demand for many of our commodities. The U.S. economy is threatened with a double-dip recession, something that previously occurred in 1980 and 1982. The U.S. budget crisis calls for major reforms in how our country operates. A stalemate by our policymakers could lead us into a double-dip recession. The European debt crisis also could lead the world into another recession.

A second threat to our industry is the increasing cost of supplying fresh fruit and vegetables to consumers, causing a decline in demand even in the face of the obesity crisis widely recognized to exist in the U.S. What was a growth industry from 1980 to 2000 is now an industry threatened with declining consumption and shrinking profit margins.

Steps To Success

How do we make money in this kind of challenging environment? Making money in any environment starts with planning and organization. Here are nine steps that can improve your chances to make money in this difficult market.

1. Get organized and be efficient. While the produce industry is not a true commodity business, it is still important to operate as efficiently as possible. This starts with being organized in all tasks you undertake in your business.

2. Keep detailed records. The only way you can know where you can improve your operation is to know the costs and returns to those operations.

3. Analyze the competition. There are two things you can learn from your competition. First, how do you stack up to the competition in competing on a cost basis. Second, what can you learn from your competition that points to areas of improvement that you must make to compete with your product.

4. Understand the risks and returns. You have to understand that high returns generally involve higher risk. Low risk is usually associated with low returns. Know the risks and returns to investments on your farm and have a good understanding of what risk you can live with.

5. Be creative and remain open to new ideas. The old adage is “the only certainties in life are death and taxes.” You can add failure without innovation.

6. Stay focused. Focus on your core business. Keep your eyes open to new opportunities but do not lose sight of your core business. Stay organized and efficient.

7. Prepare to make sacrifices. Change often requires sacrifice. That often requires self-improvement so that the organization can move forward.

8. Provide great service: Take care of your customers. Your customers face the same crises that you face. You can maintain your customer base only if you take care of their needs as the market changes.

9. Be consistent: Help your customers manage their risk. Risk is related to uncertainty. Your customers can help you manage your risk if you help them to manage theirs.

Get Your Head In The Game

Fruit and vegetable growers are losing market share in the food chain at a time when U.S. policymakers are driven to improve the health and welfare of our citizens — especially our children. Without cost containment, the future of U.S. vegetable growers is at risk. They are operating with higher costs and at greater risk. Individual producers must think about defensive risk management at this point. Like football, there are times for offense and times for defense. In challenging markets, you play defense. Any points scored are a bonus, and can make the difference between winning and losing.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Plot And Profit

  1. You are so right one must be ever vigilant in this game. I believe that all farmers especially have to learn to play both offense and defense and sometimes both at the same time. Its not easy but must be done.

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

Apples & PearsBig Apple Crop Expected
September 2, 2014
Generally high quality predicted at U.S. Apple Association Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference. Read More
Apples & PearsBeware Of Fruit Rots During Apple Harvest
September 2, 2014
Conditions lately have been ripe for fungi fiasco. Read More
Apples & PearsThey’re Back! 2014 Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Populat…
September 2, 2014
Pressure building as traps filling up with pest by the hundreds. Read More
Farm ManagementStudy Shows ‘Megadrought’ On The Radar For …
September 2, 2014
Global warming trends fuel parched prediction from scientists. Read More
Farm ManagementTrimble’s Connected Farm Now Includes Field Data Mana…
September 2, 2014
Trimble adds two apps that work with their Connected Farm Web-based solution, providing growers and their advisors with more detailed field information. Read More
FruitsTips To Help You Manage Postharvest Ripening
September 2, 2014
Humidity, ethylene, and temperature can all impact fruit quality. Read More
CitrusHarness The Marketing Power Of Video
September 1, 2014
Multimedia platform is an effective and inexpensive marketing tool for you to attract new customers and keep existing ones loyal to your brand. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardDespite Industry Challenges, Florida Citrus Leader Has …
September 1, 2014
2014 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Mike Sparks feels confident in crop sector's ability to regain strength. Read More
Florida Ag ExpoFood Safety Modernization Act Is On The Plate
September 1, 2014
Florida Ag Expo agenda to serve up important features of looming regulations. Read More
CEU SeriesCEU Series: Put Weeds Out To Pasture
September 1, 2014
No matter where they are, plants out of place can be problematic. Read More
TomatoesProduction Reaches An All-Time High For Processing Toma…
August 29, 2014
A record high is predicted for the 2014 processing tomato crop. Read More
CitrusFlorida Department Of Citrus Knocks NPR Piece Over Juic…
August 28, 2014
Agency goes to bat for the industry regarding statement slighting OJ's health benefits. Read More
Disease ControlLate Blight Update Reveals Heightened Activity
August 28, 2014
While several states in the Northeast have confirmed the presence of late blight, the disease has not been reported in North Dakota or Minnesota. Read More
CitrusFlorida Energy Firm Charged Up About Citrus Biomass Pot…
August 28, 2014
Machine called a game-changer when it comes to a cost-effective, efficient way for tree removal and re-purposing. Read More
EquipmentNew Tractors Improve Maneuverability And Operator Contr…
August 28, 2014
The Magnum Rowtrac tractors from Case IH meet growers’ cropping needs through a wide variety of row spacing and belt options.   Read More
NutsCalifornia County Passes Ordinance To Protect Walnut Gr…
August 27, 2014
Verification of ownership needed to complete sales of valuable nuts. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers Hit By Russian Import Limits
August 27, 2014
Growers reflect on changes to export market in light of produce ban. Read More
Farm ManagementLeadership And Management Expert To Speak At California…
August 27, 2014
Daniel Goleman will make presentation at California State University-Fresno. Read More