7 worrying reasons preventing growers from reaping the rewards of a rich harvest

This is leaving growers distraught with worry they will be dragged into debt, unable to provide a good family lifestyle, even lose their farms…

If you’re struggling to make a living on your farm despite slaving away from dawn to dusk, worried that you could lose everything, and don’t know who to turn to – you’re not alone!

Growers just like you are struggling with the challenge of getting a fair price for their produce while supermarket giants continue to rake in the profits.

Everybody knows that unlike their city counterparts, who live comfortable lives assured their pay packet will be waiting for them at the end of each week, life for growers is full of uncertainties. Of course there’s always the threat of adverse weather conditions: a drought could mean hoping and praying for the rain that will turn their fortunes around, while on the other hand unexpected floods could wash away a rich harvest and all the profits that go with it.

Unfortunately there’s not much that growers can do about something they have no control over, let alone the worry of competing with large multi-national companies.

What hurts growers even more is that after surmounting the challenges of nature, controlling crop ravaging pests and doing everything they can to grow quality produce, they then have to struggle to get a fair price for their produce. Shoppers at supermarkets don’t make it easy either when they willingly spend top dollar for their favourite brand of ice-cream or frozen fries but baulk at investing a small amount in nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables.

Unfortunately no one seems to offer a solution to growers, least of all government bodies that fall victim to powerful lobbying by big business and supermarket chains who protect their profitability at the expense of others trying to make an honest living. Coles and Woolworths have an estimated 75 per cent grip on market share yet the government is seemingly doing very little to allow for a fairer marketplace.

With high costs, the risk of bad weeks, a lack of information and little support, we can all see why growers are unable to reap the rewards of a rich harvest in a limited, constantly changing market…

If you feel frustrated that despite your blood, sweat and tears you aren’t able to generate the profits to provide a reasonable standard of living for your family, then listen closely to what I’m about to reveal. These are ‘The 7 Deadly Truths’ that stand between growers just like you and the profits that could otherwise be yours.

You Depend on the Same Wholesalers, Agents and Service Providers to Make Money

Because multinational companies impose themselves on a tight produce market, most growers are forced to sell their stock to the same buyers year after year. This puts the buyer in a strong position as they are able to dictate the price they will pay to the grower and, in many situations, negotiations begins with the previous season’s price.

Supermarket chains don’t care about lifting buying prices to help compensate growers for rising business costs and they will almost always try for lower prices to increase their own profit margins. I recently spoke to an asparagus farmer who charges a mere nine cents more per box than they were two decades ago. This may be what the market dictates but I know that somewhere in the supply chain someone is making a damn sight more than 9c on that box.

That leaves growers with no choice but to accept what the buyer claims is a fair price and the best they can get. The pattern continues and over the years growers find themselves caught in a vicious cycle. This begs the questions, “Can I do better if I’m able to trade with more buyers?” and “How much better could I do when I have the power to choose the highest bid?” The answers are simply that you can do no worse and you will probably do much better.

Now, for the first time in your professional life you have the power to choose. Do not underestimate the power of choice. You can do nothing and accept your current situation, or you can choose to do something that improves your family’s lifestyle.

It’s the same with service providers who play a critical role in getting your produce to market on time at a reasonable cost. With rising costs in using these services, if for some reason they aren’t able to meet their commitments, growers still bear the brunt. The consequences of not being able to move produce to market could damage the stock, as well as the grower’s reputation and credibility.

Produce Collective opens the door to a whole new opportunity for farmers. Growers who list their produce on the online platform are able to access a larger number of buyers with whom they can negotiate a fairer price, and with more eyes on your available stock the better the chance of selling all of it – meaning zero wastage, everything sold at a price. If some buyers hold firm and refuse to offer a fair price, there are plenty of others who need that line of stock who will contact the grower.

Building a direct relationship with many more buyers gives growers a better idea of market price instead of having to accept an offer from the same people over and over again. If one of the buyers doesn’t accept a price that’s reasonable, growers can always find others with whom a better price can be negotiated.

The deal can be completed on the website and the payment made as per your normal trading terms.

And with more service providers and products to choose from at the one convenient online location, growers can quickly organise back-ups and rest easier knowing that if for some reason their regular service provider fails to turn up, they can turn to others they have connected with using the Produce Collective online platform.

You’re Unable to Find and Obtain the Right Information Needed to Make Better Decisions

Growers lead busy lives, and with so much to do around the land there’s little time for anything else. Even after the produce is harvested there’s still the worry of negotiating a fair price and getting the produce to market.

To get stock to market quickly and make a reasonable profit requires intelligent decision making based on industry information and facts. But it’s not easy to find the right information quickly, and relying on hearsay can be dangerous. Some buyers and especially big retailers tend to exaggerate claims in their favour, knowing all to well that sellers are unable to test their decisions. Many growers and suppliers are scared to argue with them fearing they’ll lose the order and have no-one else to sell their stock to.

It’s easy to say that oversupply of a particular crop has resulted in a price reduction. Even if growers knew where they could source the information they need, it’s expensive in terms of cost and time – neither of which a grower is permitted at the time of transaction. Plus, with all the bills they have to pay just to keep their farms going, growers really can’t afford to incur yet another cost.

The Produce Collective online platform has a dedicated section where growers have free access to current industry information that is relevant to them, helping them avoid costly mistakes and misleading representation from unscrupulous buyers or suppliers trying to inflate their price margins. The information is obtained at considerable cost and is invaluable for making profitable decisions based on facts and trends – and it’s available at any time of day or night.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just focus on what you do best (and what you love to do) and just tend your fields, knowing that a 24-hour worldwide marketing system is working on your behalf to find the best available price for you? And you can see what’s going on across the entire industry at the click of a button, and find all the right information for you to make smarter decisions.

This is what Produce Collective does for you.

It’s difficult to Conduct Business with the Wholesalers and Buyers who often Don’t Appreciate the Complex Harvesting Process

Generally speaking, few consumers or buyers fully appreciate the process and labour required to produce a crop, from deciding what to plant and when, to the moment it’s delivered to the warehouse. And because rigid supermarket chains lock sellers in at low price points, all some buyers are interested in is acquiring produce at the lowest possible cost in order to meet demand.

The large retail giants make it even harder when they reduce prices with no regard to the effect it has on the livelihood of growers.

While many retailers fail to appreciate what’s involved in harvesting a crop, there are others who given the opportunity will appreciate the difficulties growers face and be more willing to form a long term relationship based on trust.

Access to a greater number of buyers gives growers the opportunity to connect and form business relationships with wholesalers and agents who have a better level of understanding about the harvesting process instead of continuing to be pressured by those who selfishly focus on their profit margin.

Produce Collective gives buyers a better impression of how a farm works and what’s available from the market.

There’s a Big Threat to Market Share from Processed Foods and Overseas Products

It’s not just fast food that has harmful effects on the health of people. Many of the products that come out of a box, can or carton are processed foods.

Despite health warnings and growing evidence that processed foods are responsible for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, manufacturers continue to spend millions of advertising dollars convincing consumers that quick-fix foods are the best option for a time-poor society.

Besides a growing consumption of processed foods, there’s also pressure from foreign producers who rush in to fill supply gaps when demand for produce can’t be met due to calamities, extreme weather conditions or other issues faced by growers.

Once cheap overseas imports get a foothold in the market it becomes difficult to break their stranglehold when the situation improves for local growers.

The Produce Collective online platform provides critical information that makes it easier for growers to effectively estimate the demand for produce and likely trends. This allows them to reduce wastage and control production costs a lot more effectively and compete on better terms.

Finding the right produce to market requires some business acumen but it’s the availability of market data that helps make informed decisions easier. Normally this type of information is not readily available and growers who may have already invested in it may be reluctant to share this freely with others.

This is another reason why Produce Collective membership is essential to growers, who can study industry trends and make educated decisions on what products are likely to have a greater demand, then tailoring their crops to match the demand. This is a far better option than continuing to produce last year’s harvest and hoping for a better result this time around.

Having access to a vast network of online buyers makes it far more easier to attract and communicate with buyers who need your produce, helping growers to plan better and reduce wastage – all of which of course leads to increased profits.

The beauty of Produce Collective is that it provides growers with a convenient location for information on which crops may bring better profits, plus market trends and industry behaviour. Additionally, the portal enables an extensive choice of service providers and agricultural products, an easy-to use transaction area for instant purchases and accurately recorded invoices an for accounting and administration ease.

Whether through habit or the lack of timely and relevant market information, growers are often unable to identify the crop which will bring them the highest yield.

The reason why some growers are a lot more successful than others is their ability to research trends and plant crops that are likely to have a high demand and low competition. This way they can time the market well and offer buyers in-demand produce at a premium price that is quickly picked up by consumers.

Despite the threat of cheaper imports, Produce Collective gives growers the flexibility to harvest produce that is more likely to result in a higher yield, improving their profits and helping to avoid fights with an oversupply of overseas goods on price.

Even better, it will showcase Australian produce to the world and expand the selling options for local growers, perhaps even setting up an international export market for their produce.

This is what Produce Collective achieves.

Too Much Low Quality Stock is Being Dumped on the Market

When demand increases, especially for seasonal produce, the market is often flooded with poor quality stock, which forces growers to reduce prices on their better quality products. Growers are fully aware that market saturation is a sure way to get less coin for their work and wares.

Also, during periods of low supply such as at the start of a season or end of a climatic event, produce scarcity fuels a price increase that encourages growers to pick fruits that aren’t fully ripe so they can sell them when demand is high.

Using the Produce Collective platform, growers have access to a greater number of buyers and can negotiate a price with a wholesaler that is available throughout the season, with the guarantee that only high quality produce will be supplied.

The advantage to the seller is that while the price may be higher, quality-conscious customers will appreciate buying produce that does not perish within a few days of being bought.

A primary function of Produce Collective is to lift industry standards and provide a global, instant, easy-to-use online marketing platform that ensures good Australian produce will be recognised, appreciated and valued on a worldwide scale. As in any market, credibility and quality will attract better buyers.

It’s Difficult to get Good Quality Stock Valued by the Market

Growers across Australia are finding it increasingly difficult to find a solution to this burning challenge. While they say their stock is of the highest quality, it’s not easy to convince retailers and some wholesalers and agents to pay a fair price for higher grade produce.

Sadly, the bad practices of a few growers have an undesirable effect on others seeking to make an honest living.

Produce Collective solves this problem. With ready access to industry information and business networks, growers have the opportunity to generate trust and show proof of their high business standards via a performance rating posted with each trade to ensure good trading partners are recognised and promoted to the industry through the site.

Testimonials from wholesalers and suppliers on Produce Collective will also help promote the growers of quality stock and those who conduct good business practices.

An industry-based forum within Produce Collective is ideal for networking with other business people and trading partners, and allows for constructive feedback from other members. Growers, wholesalers and retailers with excellent track records will all benefit from the positive feedback of their peers, which will in turn increase the value of their stock… and of course their business.

All levels of the agricultural industry can use Produce Collective for an instant comparison of produce on price, quality, quantity and availability to make smart business purchases. Buyers looking for good quality produce can now find it instantly instead of rummaging through lines of poor stock forced on us by many wholesalers.

Your Farming Business is Undervalued, Making it Hard to Expand, Sell or Pass on to your Children

If you’re worried about what you’ll pass onto your children, you’re not alone. Everybody thinks about it. But what about if you knew you could do better for your family by doing better in business? So much of your success depends on bargaining power, be it with the bank when negotiating for loans or an overdraft, or when trading with purchasers and suppliers. This is about being in a position of strength and establishing your name as a credible brand. Now that’s something worth handing over to your next generation.

As well as broadening your market appeal to a wider range of buyers, Produce Collective gives added credibility to your business via a recognised independent validation of trade figures, transactions and process rating (from the people who really matter – your industry peers) that will add real value to your business.

As the saying goes, banks lend you an umbrella in the sunshine and take it away when it rains. We see this when they lend money to sound businesses but rarely extend the courtesy to a struggling farm. But what if you introduced an expansive online platform to your farm that broadened your market reach, improved operations and lifted profits? How would the bank respond then? Produce Collective is the solution that checks these boxes, making your farm recognised publically, globally in fact, and giving you real power when it comes to expanding or selling your business.

Using Produce Collective gives you access to the best marketing people Australia has to offer by providing information on how to help grow your business, including copywriting and marketing techniques, business coaches, transport and export experts, how to negotiate better deals, and so on.

Joining Produce Collective puts you in a better position when you want to expand, update, improve or streamline your business, giving you power to request bigger loans from the banks and providing peace of mind when it comes time to pass your hard earned gains on to your children.

Of course, the real money comes from selling a profitable business, and you can only get top dollar when you’re doing all you can to earn top results. Produce Collective will help you build a business and sell for a fortune instead of leaving behind a farm that is barely breaking even. Now that’s a real exit strategy!