February 2023 - 19
GREAT LAKES EXPO
" We should be telling everybody the history of the
farm, the produce that we grow on the farm, the
people involved in growing that product on the farm,
and the rollercoaster we've been on enduring the
downs and the ups, " Stanley said.
" If you're not a storyteller, you tend to become
a commodity seller. Storytelling doesn't cost us
anything but it can make a big difference to the
bottom line. "
Stanley suggested farm marketers put their
picture on product labels.
" Put a face to the product. People want to deal with
people, " he said. " We are at the core. People believe
our values. "
Farm operators must decide whether to be a
commodity farmer or a boutique farmer. Commodity
operations are large-scale factory farming, while
boutique represents a small farm.
" Don't get stuck in the middle, " Stanley said. " You
will get squeezed out of the market because you
haven't defined your future. "
One of the benefits of COVID-19 challenges for
all agriculturalists is that " we've been able to get
outside the box and see what's happening. We're
seeing about 16% growth a year in farm markets,
which is quite a relief. During COVID, we were
seeing about 40% growth. It's good to get down to
manageable proportions again. "
The industry is reimagining farming methods,
" We had the mechanical revolution and the genetic
revolution in our industry. The digital revolution is
next, " he said. " Now we have to understand robotics,
drones, self-driving tractors and precision farming -
that includes elements such as plant growth sensors
and soil moisture sensors. For a lot of us, we've got
to learn new skills. "
Urban farms, reduced food miles, vertical-layered
farming and environmental awareness will move to
the forefront, Stanley said.
" We're seeing this huge change after the digital
revolution that we need to be addressing, looking at
and questioning. We need to ask ourselves where we
are going to fit in that space. "
Stanley said " there's room for tradition and
innovation. As it keeps growing one way, Chestnut
Brae will keep growing another way because there's
a huge opportunity for innovation based on tradition.
" But we have to sell the story, " he said. " Those are
the huge opportunities in farming. We have a huge
opportunity because the future industry, one of them,
has to be horticulture and farming. It will be completely
different. It will be scary for some of us, but what an
opportunity we've got, as long as we say, 'it's time to
'get naked' and reveal ourselves in the marketplace to
our consumer,' and change the world. "
VEGETABLEGROWERSNEWS.COM | 19
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of February 2023
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