I’ve got some great content for you this week:
- my podcast about starting up a new farm with Paul from Pasturebird and from Primal Pastures,
- my weekly farm marketing tip,
- commentary on the most interesting thing I read this week, and
- current farm and food safety news of interest.
First up, this week’s podcast with Paul Grieve of Pasturebird. Now, a lot of people have started a small pastured poultry operation, but how many actually turn them into a thriving business? Paul is on a mission to make Pasturebird a national brand for pasture raised chicken. As a former CPA, Paul quit his job as an accountant and started a business that’s producing 300,000 chickens a year, all on pasture.
Paul is also one of the founders of Primal Pastures, a family-owned pastured farm offering grassfed beef, lamb, chicken, pork and more. But whereas Primal Pastures sells directly to the public, PastureBird was created to sell wholesale. Pasturebird’s chickens are enjoyed by the Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers and numerous chefs and consumers in southern California. So Paul and I discuss selling wholesale vs direct to consumers, and we also discuss shipping meat, since both Pasturebird and Primal Pastures do exactly that.
We also dive-in to how online marketing and public relations have been invaluable tools for Paul in building their business, from start-up to multi-million dollars per year in just a few short years. Paul also discusses the importance of building a recognizable farm brand, something I’ve discussed many times.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE. Or, if you have an Alexa device, just say: “Alexa, play podcast Small Farm Nation.“
This Week’s Podcast Episode Sponsored by
Farmers Web: Software for Your Farm
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Farm Marketing Tip of the Week:
EMBRACE COLLABORATIVE MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES
A lot of farmers and small business owners get stuck with marketing. What tactics they should implement, why they should do them, how they should them and so on. Paralysis sets in and they all too often do nothing, other than random acts of marketing.
One way you can get some traction with your marketing is to embrace opportunities to collaborate with others. Think of this like a strategic alliance, though not as formal and, perhaps, only for a specific campaign.
Here are some examples:
- A farm approaches a respected chef to collaborate on a marketing campaign to promote the virtues of a heritage breed or heirloom varieties. They come up with a social media and content marketing strategy to promote these virtues to drive traffic to the restaurant. The consumers win, the chef wins and the farmer, who sells the heritage meats/veggies to the chef, wins.
- A pasture-based meat farm plans/hosts a farm dinner and partners with other farmers to fill out the menu. Perhaps the farm recruits a well-known chef, as I did, when James Beard award-winning Hugh Acheson cooked Ossabaw pork for 150 of my guests. For this dinner (pics below), we partnered with vegetable and fruit farms, a bluegrass band and a local winery. Each of them promoted the event to their own fans, helping to create buzz for our event and awareness of our farm. If you don’t have a great place for an event, don’t worry. We held ours under a rickety old pole barn and everyone had a great time.
- A cheese maker offers to speak at a restaurant or event during dinner to discuss the history of and process for making the cheese patrons are enjoying. I’ve done this a few times. It benefits the restaurant and opens a direct relationship between the customers and the cheese maker.
- Two farms, offering different products, form a delivery club. They divide specific marketing responsibilities, i.e., social media platforms, email, etc.
There’s no reason to list more…the opportunities are endless for collaborative marketing. Just find someone with, A) a common objective and B) a non-competing offering.
The Most Interesting Thing I Read This Week
CNBC ran an article called, “How to know when to take the leap from employee to entrepreneur.” What I found interesting is the three things they uncovered that united the entrepreneurs who actually succeed. Those three things were:
- Having a dream
- Having a catalyst
- Getting buy-in
In my entrepreneurial experience, the first two are absolutely critical. The third…I don’t agree with at all.
Having a dream, or having a vision, is crucial. That entrepreneurial vision is what provides the fuel to propel the business owner and all stakeholders. In farming, stakeholders include family members, community members and local-food businesses such as restaurants and retailers.
Of all the entrepreneurial traits and skills I’ve relied on over the past 25 years, the vision is the most critical for me. Because when you solidify a truly inspiring vision, you can’t stop pursuing it, even if you’d like to. And, for many of us, that becomes…
Back in 1994, I was struggling to find the courage to quit my job. I had been president of a division of a Fortune 500 company for eight years and, apparently, was living the dream. But it was a dream where I was an employee, and that meant I was restricted. I wanted freedom.
In the search for courage I contacted every successful entrepreneur I read about in the Boston Globe. I visited them to seek where they found their courage to start. You know what I found in almost all cases?
They started their business after having been laid off or downsized. In other words, their catalyst was external.
That’s fine, but was of no help to me. I couldn’t rely on an external catalyst to ditch a high-paying secure job. What I could rely on was my passion to pursue something I believed in: my vision.
What I don’t agree with in the article is the need to get buy-in, or external support. I mean, of course you need family buy-in, but that’s not external. If you have an inspiring vision then why in the hell do you need my buy-in, or anyone else’s?
Instead, what you likely need is resources to help you realize your vision. That I do agree with. Resources can take the form of:
- advisors, such as CPA’s or lawyers,
- consultants and mentors,
- professional training and coaching (which is why I offer the Academy),
- incubators and so on.
If you want to be a business owner rather than an employee, my advice is to focus on your vision. Your “what and why.” Then you won’t have a choice but to pursue your passion.
Farm & Food in the News
- Dog food company recalled its products, but these grieving pet owners say it’s too late (Washington Post)
- Want to know why your chicken tastes like rubber? Pilgrim’s Pride Recalls Nearly 60,000 Pounds Chicken for Rubber Contamination (Daily Hornet)
thanks for your kind words
- A review of Small Farm Nation Academy: “Absolutely money very well spent!!! Small Farm Nation Academy helps with all aspects of building a farm business and even helps navigate running a top notch FarmPress website! ” – Samantha, My Barefoot Farm