The business of agriculture has changed dramatically over the last few decades. The industry has been hearing that the world population is expected to reach 9.8 billion people by 2050, and the agriculture industry has been working toward feeding that larger population. Focus on innovation and new technologies has been growing to increase production on less land and combat rising global challenges such as wars, pandemics and climate change.
Organizations are focusing on the new generation of leaders. Agriculture Future of America (AFA) works to empower young leaders making an impact in food and agriculture while the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recognizes the need to encourage agripreneurs. Targeting young people, this initiative offers education, incentives and support to young people starting agricultural businesses.
However, truly advancing agriculture into a new age is about more than great ideas. Modern agripreneurs must consider more than the science of the idea. It’s imperative to focus on business and market development, in addition to more robust product development than ever before.
Business Model and Strategies
Becoming an agripreneur starts with a novel concept or idea and seeing that product through the stage-gate process to a successful commercial launch.
“It’s so important to understand the value that comes from collaborations with strategic companies,” said Bonnie Brayton, Venture Associate at Fulcrum Global Capital. “Outside of accelerating product development, startups can leverage the resources of their collaborators to generate stronger, more reliable data and enhanced credibility to gain acceptance in the marketplace. Market validation is key, and finding the right strategic collaborations can increase product credibility and lead to increased investor engagement.”
Developing an action plan, conducting audits and surveys, and thoroughly assessing products to validate their efficacy is crucial. Including key leaders and having accountability should be part of the business model. Putting these strategies in place at the beginning of product development will help ensure future success.
Develop the Product
The product development phase can bring up many challenges, so it is important to recognize and mitigate challenges early. Engaging with investors is another important strategy during the product development phase. This not only provides the necessary funds for a new product, but also can speed up the product development process and help agribusinesses make meaningful connections with industry leaders. Working with AgriThority® can help your product stand out to investors. An often overlooked but important step is identifying best management practices during the product development phase, which will help farmers, agronomists and dealers effectively adopt a new product.
Plan for Market Development
The goal is to see a product successfully launch, be well adopted and make a positive impact on farmers’ crops. Yet, many times, the market development plan is started too late in the process. Developing a market development plan early identifies the best markets, evaluates competitors, discovers the best market channels, and ensures the most efficient development based on the target markets, so no time is lost.
With the technological shift in the farming industry, farmers are more willing to try new products. However, they must have confidence it will work consistently in their fields. A thorough business, market and product development plan can help set a product up for success. And then growers must gain direct experience with the product. The knowledge building continues, as layers of additional data are collected from the on-farm trials. Defining Best Management Practices under farm conditions may improve adoption rates since growers listen to other growers.