This is an article that I wrote for www.beginningfarmers.org
The other day I read a particularly thought-provoking post on the blog Honest Meat (Note: this post was removed by the author, I don't yet know why. Cached version here.). The post discussesed the entrance of a new competitor into the local and pasture-based foods market in Northern California. The new entrant, Belcampo Meat Co, is a 10,000 acre, vertically integrated farm focused on producing a wide variety of pastured meats. It also happens to be owned by Outpost International, which appears to be funded by at least one very wealthy individual (Todd Robinson). It’s not exactly Wal-Mart, but based on Wal-Mart’s recent moves it’s only a matter of time.
Small farms could never compete with the marketing prowess and enormous scale of such a competitor, right?
This article is not about whether Belcampo’s (or Wal-Mart’s) actions are right or wrong, it’s about how you, the small family farmer, can prepare your business for the realities of competing with large, well-funded businesses.