My maternal grandfather was a berry farmer in the foothills surrounding Oregon’s fertile Willamette Valley, and like other farmers of his generation, he depended on the local county extension office for information on emerging agricultural techniques designed to optimize production, possible outbreaks of pests and pathogens and advice for controlling them, and market predictions. Extension offices routinely produced pamphlets concerning all aspects of regional agriculture, and regular visits from county extension agents were a valuable resource to both family and corporate farms.
Often connected to agricultural research universities, extension services continue to play a major role in today’s agricultural landscape, but the delivery has evolved. Instead of visits from agents and pamphlets sent through the mail, extension services all over the country have developed serious online presences as part of their communications and outreach programs. My grandfather died so young that he never saw the digital age, and I’m sure he would have been amazed at having immediate access to information that would have taken weeks to arrive in his mailbox. Although I think he would have been quick to embrace technology had he lived long enough, research shows that his contemporaries were slower than most groups to join the digital revolution — and just several short years ago, agribusiness owners were left wondering where to best direct their marketing efforts because internet strategies were failing to provide desired results.
A New Generation
My grandfather’s generation is nearly gone from the farms now. Their replacements grew up with technology at their fingertips, and instead of automatically going to the county extension for information and answers, they’re performing internet searches. Now is an ideal time for agribusinesses to step up and take on an informational role using informative advertising, blogs, and social media. Here’s a great read on how agribusinesses can engage customers and potential customers on Twitter.
No one in my family followed my grandfather down the dirt path to the berry fields, and many North American family farms suffered the same conclusion. Heirs are selling off the land, and many of today’s fledgling farmers lack both experience in agriculture and connections with elders with a lifetime of knowledge who they can turn to for guidance. What they do have is fresh energy, innovation, and access to more immediate information than any of their historical counterparts. They may not yet have memorized procedures for dealing with common fungal pathogens on raspberries, but it’ll take them less than three minutes to find out — so if you’re a B2B company featuring agricultural pest and pathogen control agents, this is the type of search you’ll want to land on your blog. Simple, how-to posts and videos that answer questions quickly and don’t force the reader to sift through fluff creates the kind of loyal client base that makes businesses thrive. Sourcing content from reputable and experienced agriculture writers helps make this happen.
What many of today’s fledgling farmers have is fresh energy, innovation, and access to more immediate information than any of their historical counterparts. Tweet This!
Content marketing for the agriculture industry doesn’t have to be about primary concerns, though. Many of those who have taken up farming are also new to rural living, so there may be a place for rural lifestyle material on your blog. For instance, you could include tips and tricks for helping children transition to living in the country, or how-to guides for preserving seasonal produce for home use.
Pot is Hot
My first regular client on Writer Access was a company offering a nitrogen-fixing microbe product to commercial and private marijuana producers — I wrote about 30 of these. Several months ago, I was contacted by a private grower on the West Coast who wanted real information on keeping black bears out of his marijuana patch. I’m currently working on something about diversification options for commercial recreational growers in Oregon because they’ve glutted the market this year to the extent they can hardly give it away.
Not marketing your agribusiness products and services to commercial marijuana growers could result in serious lost revenue. The industry is probably here to stay, and each election cycles results in even more states following the tide. My first client’s product was also used by conventional farmers and greenhouse growers, but the client had the foresight to target a fledgling industry with potential for significant growth.
Microfarmers and Part Timers
Vast corporate farms aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. After all, the Earth’s population is expected to reach almost 9 billion people by the year 2050, so farmers are going to have to keep optimal production strategies in mind when striving to feed a hungry planet. But First World consumers are moving increasingly away from mass produced food products, and this trend has created opportunities for microfarms and those with peripheral enterprises that supplement primary careers. These niches will likely become even more important as the farm-to-fork movement evolves past the trend stage into a classic. Small batch products range from fresh herbs for local restaurants to specialty meats for private consumers.
Writer Access has writers with real life experience in all aspects of agriculture who can provide you with the authentic voice your agribusiness marketing strategy needs. Please feel free to contact us to learn more.
Marta S’s literary and cultural roots trace back to a remote fishing village in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, where she began writing for regional publications to pass the time during the long winters. She wrote about everything from how to season smoked salmon caviar to survival strategies in the event of an unexpected black bear attack. Her work has appeared in the Anchorage Daily News, the Ketchikan Daily News, and the Juneau Empire.