How can small farmers compete?

The news is rife with tales of woe and despair and non-stop bankruptcies afflicting the small American farmer. Why are times so bad for this group of entrepreneurs whose only goal is to give us something to eat every day. Ever since the advent of fast-food restaurants, companies have made efficiency their goal at the expense of personal connections. Most people don't mind since the impersonal approach usually saves them money. Nowadays, even farms have evolved into food production goliaths rolling over and gobbling up every competitor. What's left of this feeding frenzy is the small farmer toiling away and trying to sell the harvest and make a living. But it's not working for some reason. Why not, and what's the solution? If you're a small farmer, maybe it's time to invest in a computer. A real computer, not a laptop or smartphone, but a sit down at a desk and pull out the keyboard computer. The kind with the big screen and processor so you can create a website and then email with prospective customers, and then maybe just maybe you can start selling.

The first thing to do is to forget about the local farmers market. Those were nice in the '80s, but things have changed. You can still sell there if any are open, and maybe you do, but if you were making money doing it, you wouldn't be reading this. Believe it or not, there are too many online selling venues available to list, but this discussion should lead you in the right direction, at least. People from across the country are interested in buying whatever you grow and will make an effort to get it. They'll even drive across town past the grocery store. Some will also pay you in advance to get products from you, which brings up the first example of direct selling. It's call CSA and stands for community supported agriculture. It's been around for decades and has a strong following. The idea is simple as customers pay the farmer in advance in exchange for regular allotments of produce during the growing season. Farmers like it since they get cash up front, and customers love it even more since they get the freshest yummiest food. Of course, there's more to it, but can get you started.

You can start your website with help from companies like, which will help you start and maintain your online presence. You can sell on sites like Using these sites, you can then grow and ship out your product. If you're even more ambitious, you could take orders and deliver direct to customers. Considering how many markets have closed due to the virus, the idea of home-delivered fresh farm produce is making many mouths water. 

The economy is in upheaval at present. One of the only constants is hunger and the best people to address that is the small farmer. It's the one group agile enough to adapt to the market today and beyond.

15 Apr 2020

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