What are some of the common assumptions that you found that entrepreneurs make about farmers? 🤔

The most common assumption is that the farmers love the technology just as much as the entrepreneur.

If you make the statement to a business leader or CEO that: we’re going to innovate’,  usually the first thing that jumps to their mind is bottom-line profit.  ‘Innovation’ means making more money.
  • But in agriculture, when we tell a farmer we’re going to innovate, it is often not well understood that the new path will bring them more profitability, and may potentially bring in more revenues.
  • When you look at some of the business models that have already been launched – whether it be sensor companies or marketplaces or a variety of tech plays that have tried to sell directly to farmers – the return on investment, so to speak, has been lost.

Why are farmers not getting a return on investment in these innovations? Is it price point? Or is it they are not getting value from the actual ‘technology’ / proposed ‘innovation’ / ‘offering’? 💰

With regards to price point, it is pretty easy to get that feedback because as an entrepreneur, you can just look at your sales and understand if you are not hitting your marks.

Whereas with the value, sometimes you can get what’s called a false positive. You may start to get some early sales but you aren’t necessarily getting the repeat or the engagement, you thought you would longer term.
What is the return rate or the repeat purchase that you expect? Then think about: why are you getting that, or why are you not getting that? 
  • Set some baseline above just top-line sales
  • If you’re achieving your goals, what would that look like for repeat buys or additional buys?
When assessing the value of your product/innovation/solution to a farmer or producer, think holistically. 
  • Look at the genesis of your team; What skill sets or what perspectives could you bring in to build customer empathy? Whether it be as an additional co-founder or even as an advisor – someone who deeply understands or has once been in the role of your daily customer can take your capacity to deliver solutions to the next level.

This is an excerpt of the ‘Boots on the Ground’ course by the North America TFF Regional Coordinator Matt Foley. You will be able to find his course and more content on how to engage with farmers in the soon-to-launch #WTF: Where’s the Farmer Lab on the TFF Digital Labs. Launching on Thursday, May 7—stay tuned!