Running a farm or smallholding focused on native or rare breed livestock isn’t just a job – it’s a passion. A passion that protects agricultural diversity and farming heritage. But passion alone doesn’t pay the bills. So, how can you ensure your passion also brings home the bacon? By using agri-marketing. These techniques turn your passion into a viable farm business, allowing you to continue working with breeds you love while still making a living. Let’s get down to business and explore how you can turn your dedication into a profitable farm venture.
Your rare breed livestock aren’t just animals; they’re walking pieces of history. But to protect those breeds for the next generation, you need to find a way for them to be productive. “Productive” can mean different things for different types of livestock and different farm set-ups. From small-scale to regenerative farming and re-wilding projects, the avenues are diverse. Yet, it’s the direct selling of meat that often provides the immediate income to support these noble endeavours.
Whatever this “productive use” is, you will need to sell something. Key to the ongoing success of these native and rare breeds is agri-marketing. By selling them, their meat, their fleece or any other productive use, you’re not just earning an income, you’re also ensuring these animals continue to thrive. It’s about striking a balance between conservation and commerce.
One of the most common and universal “productive uses” is meat production. Even for those herds/flocks that aren’t focused on meat production, you will likely have to sell off animals at one stage or another, and this will often be into the food chain. Meat boxes are a great way to package and sell your rare breed meat directly to consumers, capturing maximum value.
Selling meat boxes has its perks. It puts you in the driver’s seat – you set the prices, tell your farm’s story, and build direct relationships with customers. But there’s a catch: it’s all on you. From crafting the perfect marketing message to dealing with the nitty-gritty of packaging and butchery, the responsibility is yours. And if you’re considering doing the butchery on-farm, weigh up the costs, time and training involved. Will you outsource these tasks, or is it more feasible to develop these skills within your farm operations? Each choice has implications for cost, control and scalability.
We have a couple of blogs that explore meat boxes and on-farm butcheries in more detail. Check them out at the links below:
With rare breeds, you’ve got a niche market that’s ripe for the taking. A good SEO strategy can connect you with customers who are searching for exactly what you’re offering. And don’t overlook social media, especially local Facebook groups, where you can engage directly with your community. It’s about being where your customers are.
Social media advertising can also be highly effective for targeting local or specific customers. The key to effective social media advertising is to find your highly targeted audience and create a compelling advertising campaign that offers them something specific to make them feel like a VIP. This could be an introductory offer, a free guide, or any other lead magnet or offer suitable for your farm business. For a meat box business, a good option alongside an offer could be an exclusive recipe.
Education is a vital component of your agri-marketing strategy. It’s essential to communicate the benefits of choosing rare breed meat over commercial alternatives. People might not know what makes your rare breed meat stand out.
That’s where education comes in. Use your marketing to highlight the differences and benefits. Is your meat more flavourful? Is your farming method better for the land? Tell them, and make it a part of your selling point.
Effectively educating your customers should form part of your marketing strategy and education content should be part of your key messages at all marketing touchpoints. This involves storytelling: sharing the uniqueness of your specific breed, its heritage, taste and ecological benefits.
Who savours the quality and story behind rare breed meat? Your ideal customer is likely someone who values quality over quantity, tradition over trends, and sustainability over convenience. But your ideal customer will be highly specific to you and your farm business.
Think about your ideal customer. Are they foodies? Environmentally conscious? Local produce supporters? Identify where they hang out – online and in the real world – and target those places, whether it’s through meat boxes, your website or local farm shops.
Targeting your ideal customers is about showing up consistently in the right rooms, and also using messages that resonate with these ideal customers perfectly. Marketing to everyone will get you no one.
When planning your agri-marketing, don’t get lost in the weeds of tactics. Stay focused on the big picture – how all the parts of your strategy work together to reach and resonate with your ideal customer. Remember, this is about their journey from discovery to purchase to repeat business.
For more resources, have a look at our Free Strategy Guide. And if you’re ready for a deeper dive, consider booking a Marketing Consult or exploring our Coaching Packages. Together, we can make sure your rare breed meat gets the attention it deserves.
Incorporating these elements into your agri-marketing strategy can transform your rare breed meat production from a mere passion project into a profitable enterprise, ensuring the longevity and legacy of your cherished breeds.