Farms, and specifically dairy farms, were traditionally a centerpiece of economic livelihood and cultural heritage in the rural North East. In the last 70 years they've come under tremendous economic pressure, forcing closures across the north east and migration of dairy production to Midwest and Southwest. This week we speak with Dan Horan, CEO of Five Acre Farms, about the marketing and supply chain solution he's developed to give those farms, and farmers, a fighting chance.
And, a special guest on the intro! Dear friend, environmentalist, and Yale School of Forestry grad, Andy Beck, lends his expertise on the importance of small scale farms to provide context.
Back to Dan... Five Acre's strategy is to consolidate the farms behind a single brand, which sells at a premium. This signals to the customer the quality is better and that their purchase supports local farms, while providing enough of a profit margin to keep those farms in businesses.
Considering the alternative, it better work. Mid/small scale farms were once the lifeblood of the US, providing generational job security, purpose, high quality food and farming practices that are sustainable. The challenges these days are immense: government regulation including a price control on milk (unique across commodities), large scale farms that sacrifice quality for profit while destroying the health of the land and creating torturous conditions for animals, pressure to move to monoculture (single crops) that reduces the vitality of the soil (really bad for lots of reasons) and more. Dan digs into (sorry, unavoidable pun) how branding and marketing may provide the tools the little guys need to fight back.
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