Having been a farmer for a good part of my life and now living in a crop farming area, I get to talk to farmers and watch the never-ending cycle of land preparation, planting, cultivating and reaping.
In North America and most of the developed world, the traditional family farm can no longer support a family. To survive, farmers have been forced to get bigger or seek employment off the farm. For many, the burden of trying to keep up with farm chores while commuting to a job and putting in a full day working for someone else is just too much and the easier (and often more lucrative) route is to lease the land out to a bigger farmer.
This has the advantage of still living in the country without the constant struggle of trying to farm with insufficient capital or equipment and allows more leisure time, something small farmers do not have.
The farmers who survive by expanding are able to invest in the large equipment like the 300 hp tractor and 24 row corn planter in the photo above. They can produce crops on a large-scale with little manpower.
For example, a few days ago on our road, 2 men using two large tractors and a sprayer, sprayed, disced and planted 100 acres of corn, then worked and sprayed another 50 acres. They would have planted that and done more but they stopped for 3 hours because of rain.
When I told my son in Zimbabwe how much 2 people can do in a day with this sort of equipment, he was amazed. Even with the low wages and availability of labour there, the few remaining farmers cannot achieve a fraction of this level of output. Large equipment is prohibitively expensive, difficult to maintain and susceptible to abuse by unsophisticated operators.
This trend is not new, it has been going on for a couple of generations now. It has many repercussions, rural depopulation, closing of schools , stores, equipment dealers. Lack of diversity in crops – mono culture. Decay and eventual collapse of old barns and farm buildings and an ever-increasing number of children being brought up without the benefit of a carefree childhood closer to nature and learning about animals – and life.
What has this got to do with Internet Marketing?
A few things.
First, just studying how successful farmers operate gives some lessons for success in any business, planning, commitment, taking action, determination, perseverance and above all belief. Belief that the rain will come, the seeds will germinate, prices a few months ahead after harvest will be high enough to provide a profit. Taking both a short-term view for this growing season and a long-term view years ahead to when the next generation takes over . (Becoming less likely each year).
The more ominous lesson for all businesses is that to survive, farmers have been faced with two stark choices:
- Expand into the size and complexity of an agri business.
- Find an off-farm source of income and rent out the land.
It is not just farming that has gone down this route, think of all the retail sectors that have succumbed to supermarkets and hyper-stores at one level, or franchise outlets at another. Independent stores finding it increasingly more difficult to compete.
Will this happen with e-commerce, on-line businesses and Internet Marketers?
To some degree it already has with some of the pioneers like Amazon, dominating the market, not just in books, but in many other categories.
Large scale manufacturing is under threat not from larger domestic competitors, but cheaper foreign ones. With labour costs being such a small part of an Internet Marketers overhead, and outsourcing just the labour intensive tasks, a realistic possibility, then smaller independent Internet Marketers should survive.
But, perhaps the pendulum is starting to swing back. The number and range of opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners to start on-line businesses is huge. This may just be the phenomenon that reverses the tide of mega-conglomerates taking over whole industries or retail sectors. The effects of the recession, higher unemployment and a growing desire for more choices are all adding pressure for the old model to change.
More reason than ever to be prepared, get a toe hold in the on-line business sector now if you have not already. It might just be the one thing that ensures your survival in the turbulent times ahead.
One of the easiest ways to get that start theta I have seen in recent months, is by promoting Penny Auctions. 10 minutes a day is all that it needs and a very small investment.
Here is the link check it out Zeek Rewards. (affiliate link)
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.