Most farmers whether they have a small farm or a large farm want to be able to sell their produce at the best prices. Some very small farms are more than happy to be self-sufficient and use their produce for their own purposes but what for those who would like to make money by selling to outlets and businesses. Here we take a look at how farmers can market their produce in order to make a living.
Use a Middle Man
Many farmers choose to use a middle man in order to sell their produce. These people are known as distributors who buy the produce directly from the farmer to sell on to shops, restaurants, markets, hospitals and schools. This can be very useful if the farmer has a large amount of produce to sell as it saves time looking for buyers, while the use of a distributor has its ups and downs.
Many distributors want the product to be cleaned and processed ready for collection, while others will come to the farm, clean the produce, arrange for transport and deliver the produce to the contact on the other end. Some distributors specialise in organic produce only and farmers will need to prove that their food has been produced to the legal requirements in this regard.
Farmers need to look around for a distributor that offers the service they require plus wants the product they produce too. Working on a good relationship, where trust and service are adhered to on both sides, can make for a great business future for the farmer. Farmers who are thinking of using a middle man must research contacts properly or maybe take a recommendation from another farmer who is happy with a particular service. In other words weigh up whether you really need a distributor or would rather go it alone.
Cut Out the Middle Man
Farmers who don’t want to tread the distributor route could opt to sell their produce at a farmers market or a farm shop. Selling directly to the public in this way takes out the middle man and may mean more profit for the farmer as opposed to paying for an intermediary. Farmers are also offering fresh local produce to the area they farm in which can be very rewarding in itself. So how do we set up a farm shop or farmers market stall?
Firstly contact FARMA or the National Farmers Retail and Markets Association who will guide you through the process answering any concerns you may have. This fabulous organisation will help farmers navigate the minefield of markets, farm shops, home delivery and on farm catering in order to make your business a success and fit the standards required.
There are over five hundred farmers markets in the UK where farmers sell their own produce locally directly to the customer. Farmers will not only make money this way but get to know their customers personally which goes a long way to building up a regular income as a satisfied customer is bound to come back for more. Selling through a FARMA accredited farmers market will gain the trust of customers, while those markets awarded FARMA approval will receive a certificate, a promotional sign to advertise certification and a license.
So, what are the advantages to the farmer of selling at a farmers market?
- A good source of income without the middle man
- Gives the farmer more control economically
- Farmers will attain higher prices as they are selling to customers direct
- Farmers gain experience in retail and customer service
- Farmers can meet other farmers increasing learning opportunities and enabling networking with their peers.
In order to be called a farm shop produce sold in the shop must be grown and made on the farm or land close to the shop. Planning permission may also be required if you are setting up in a new building. Further details on how to set up your farm shop can be found at the FARMA website.
This is another great way for the farmer to sell his produce directly to the customer while also cutting out the middle man. Obviously a good website is required so that the customer can browse and order their products, while securely paying and arranging delivery too. Once the initial cost of setting up the website plus shopping cart has been sorted farmers can begin to sell their produce. Even with the overhead of the upkeep and updating of the site from time to time farmers will soon find a regular customer base if their produce comes up to scratch. Farmers can go it alone or join a website that advertises their business along with others similar in their area. bigbarn.co.uk is one such example.
Pick Your Own Crops
This is a great way for farmers to sell their produce as customers will travel to the farm and do all the work for the farmer by picking their own produce they wish to purchase. It saves on labour costs and also transportation costs too.
Contact Details of Helpful Organisations
Tele 01638 676 747
Area 4C Ergon House
C/o Nobel House
17 Smith Square
Tele 08459 335577
Tele 024 7685 8500