We are all reliant on the agricultural industry, whether we eat meat or decide to eat a plant-based diet. Agriculture is one of the oldest business models we have in the world, and with all the technology in the world, we will still need it. Sadly, rising costs in this industry make it difficult for many smaller businesses to stay afloat.
As with most industries, the issues tend to stem from rising prices for materials and land and the fact that, sadly, the money that agricultural businesses have coming in no longer matches these steep costs, thanks to supermarkets selling products at crazily low prices. If you are a farmer and don’t try to get on top of this, you will likely be one of the many farms that stopped production in the last few years.
The good news is that plenty can be done as long as you are prepared to put in the time and effort and tackle these ever-rising costs before they have too much impact on your business. Here, we have a few tips that could help you do just that.
Increase your earning
As we said above, the most significant issue facing an agricultural business is that the money coming in is much less than the money going out. It is almost impossible to maintain a business that way and buy the things that you need, such as stillages for sale. so you need to get creative. You could strike some deals with larger enterprises and pair up for larger purchases and split the profits, or set a farm buying group to make purchases of essentials. You could also consider alternative revenue streams – perhaps selling products to local shops or setting up in farmer markets. You may also consider using some of your outhouses or barns, renting them out, or even opening an on-site farm store. People love to shop local – take advantage of that! They can come straight to you to buy the produce, while cutting out the middleman for both of you.
Invest in seeds that keep on giving
Whatever farming business you are in, you probably spend a lot of money on agricultural seeds. It might be to grow the produce you sell or to grow crops for your animals, but either way, they’re essential. Over time, these can eat into your profits. Cheaper seeds might seem more cost-effective in the short term, but you may find that they only provide one year’s worth of produce. In comparison, more expensive varieties can see your harvest carrying over yearly, saving you a lot of money in the long run. Not only will you end up saving money on seed, but on manpower planting the seed. Sometimes, you need to spend a little more to save a lot more.
Become more self-sufficient
Farmers are a lot more time poor these days or want to use the time they have to focus on growing their business, so they use a fair few shortcuts. This might be using another farm or to supply fertilizer or buying in expensive feed. However, if you need to save some money, you need to put the effort in and become a little more self-sufficient. You can use the waste from your animals, assuming you keep them, for fertilizer, and make compost from any unused fruit and vegetables. Instead of throwing away any produce with damage, use them as animal feed. Not only will you save a bit of money by doing this, but reusing and repurposing is beneficial for the environment. These are small steps, but each one can stretch your money that bit further every month. You may even find that you can make cakes or other products with ‘wonky produce’ – fruit and vegetables that might not be perfect enough to sell on their own but are perfectly edible. You could then sell them for cheap in your shop as you will find that many people don’t care if their banana isn’t quite bendy or straight enough, or that their carrots are a bit strange looking. Again, this is a great way to diversify your income and encourages locals to come to your farm shop or market stall that we mentioned above.
Invest in solar power
Farmers spend an awful lot of money on utilities, but what if you could make your power? If you have some spare land, it might be worth investing in solar panels or even wind turbines if you have enough space. It costs a lot up front, but will save a fortune in the long run – and some energy companies will buy the energy from you, giving you the chance to make a profit!