Plot And Profit

Money_generic

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. www.womenfarmers.org

Featured Stories
Berries
May 26, 2017
Jury Sides with University in Strawberry Breeding Lawsuit
Decision says former breeders infringed on UC patents to develop material for corporate breeding firm. Read More
Managed bee hive boxes around a blueberry field
Nuts
May 25, 2017
Stolen Hives Recovered in Nearly $1M Heist
Man likely stole hives from across the state of California in the last three years. Read More
Panama Canal Expansion opening celebration
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Plight of Trade Policy Grounding Many U.S. Growers
Much-needed investments in labor-saving technology could be key to long-term survival. Read More
Cannabis plant closeup
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Florida Farm Winning Case for Medicinal Cannabis License
Judge rules in favor of 3 Boys Farm in the quest to expand its crop/business portfolio. Read More
hands holding a globe
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Overpopulation Problem?
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Falcon-takes-flight-at-Duncan-Family-Farms
Citrus
May 24, 2017
Falcons Scare off Other Birds at Duncan Family Farms
It collaborates with a firm that uses trained falcons to intimidate and scare off nuisance birds such as the horned larks and pigeons that frequent the area. Read More
Organic
May 24, 2017
Organic Growers in Turmoil (Opinion)
Although consumers are demanding, and getting more organic produce options, growers are grappling with fundamental questions. Read More
Corn leaf aphids on sweet corn
Sweet Corn
May 24, 2017
Stay on Your A Game to Conquer Corn Leaf Aphid
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable pest. Read More
Florida Ag Hall of Famer William Cook
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Agriculture Hall of Famers
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 23, 2017
Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor Shortage
USApple leader Phil Glaize of Virginia stresses need for reform with current labor regulations, programs at Congressional briefing on agriculture labor crisis. Read More
Stone Fruit
May 23, 2017
Northeast Peach Crop Rebounds
After a mild winter and relatively uneventful bloom time, the crop is setting up nicely for the region. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Longer Berry Season in Northeast
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
honeybees
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research on Honeybee Health
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
stack of lemons
Citrus
May 23, 2017
California Lemon Growers Sue USDA
Lemon industry files suit against rule allowing importation of Argentine lemons. Read More
Bee Vectoring Technologies experimental hives
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Insects (Bad and Good) Make for Interesting Field Trips
Disease-fighting bees and the deadly citrus psyllid were at the center of two recent, research-fueled out-of-office adventures. Read More
The Latest
Berries
May 26, 2017
Jury Sides with University in Strawberry…
Decision says former breeders infringed on UC patents to develop material for corporate breeding firm. Read More
Nuts
May 25, 2017
Stolen Hives Recovered in Nearly $1M Hei…
Man likely stole hives from across the state of California in the last three years. Read More
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Plight of Trade Policy Grounding Many U.…
Much-needed investments in labor-saving technology could be key to long-term survival. Read More
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Florida Farm Winning Case for Medicinal …
Judge rules in favor of 3 Boys Farm in the quest to expand its crop/business portfolio. Read More
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Ove…
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Citrus
May 24, 2017
Falcons Scare off Other Birds at Duncan …
It collaborates with a firm that uses trained falcons to intimidate and scare off nuisance birds such as the horned larks and pigeons that frequent the area. Read More
Organic
May 24, 2017
Organic Growers in Turmoil (Opinion)
Although consumers are demanding, and getting more organic produce options, growers are grappling with fundamental questions. Read More
Sweet Corn
May 24, 2017
Stay on Your A Game to Conquer Corn Leaf…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable pest. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Ag…
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 23, 2017
Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor S…
USApple leader Phil Glaize of Virginia stresses need for reform with current labor regulations, programs at Congressional briefing on agriculture labor crisis. Read More
Stone Fruit
May 23, 2017
Northeast Peach Crop Rebounds
After a mild winter and relatively uneventful bloom time, the crop is setting up nicely for the region. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Long…
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research o…
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
California Lemon Growers Sue USDA
Lemon industry files suit against rule allowing importation of Argentine lemons. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Insects (Bad and Good) Make for Interest…
Disease-fighting bees and the deadly citrus psyllid were at the center of two recent, research-fueled out-of-office adventures. Read More
Crop Protection
May 23, 2017
Valent Grants Organic Farming Scholarshi…
University of Florida Doctor of Plant Medicine student receives $1,500 toward the development of training materials. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
May 23, 2017
In Quest for Low-Seeded Citrus, It Takes…
Momentum for viable mandarin hybrids for Florida reaching a peak in the land down under. Read More
GenNext Growers
May 22, 2017
How to Make Dollars and Sense of Today&#…
Despite current challenges impacting the future of the North American fruit and vegetable industry, there are opportunities to be had. Read More