Farmer Bryce Oxford explains how small farms can thrive during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has affected several industries around the globe. The economic fallout associated with the pandemic has caused many unprecedented problems for farmers across the United States. As patrons stopped eating in restaurants and setting stricter budgets, farmers turned to the euthanization of farm animals and donated unwanted produce. However, Bryce Oxford explains that farmers shouldn’t count on shutting down their farms due to the health crisis. He recently offered multiple ways small farms can survive and even thrive during and after the pandemic.
“We may be seeing limited orders from some of our biggest clients, but we’ve realized it’s time to focus on the smaller ones,” Bryce Oxford said. “Small farms can survive by catering to individual shoppers and making access as easy as possible.”
Bryce Oxford explained that owners of small farms need to modify their strategy in these trying times. Providing online ordering and delivery are options for farms to cater to those staying home due to the virus. Bryce Oxford shared that making fruit, vegetables, and other farm products readily available is one way to boost revenue.
Bryce Oxford said that another way to provide easier access for buyers is to improve payment options. Many farms or farmers’ markets are cash only. He explained that allowing customers to pay through PayPal, Square, or other services increases the level of convenience and safety. Bryce Oxford shared that farm owners and workers may need to guide older or less tech-savvy customers through this process. He explained that now is the time to transition to make purchasing more accessible and more enticing.
“Many farmers have never thought about logging onto Facebook or other social media platforms,” Bryce Oxford said. “But these platforms are ideal ways to inform your shoppers of what’s available.”
Bryce Oxford shared that many patrons currently assume farmers are out of the same items the grocery stores are, but that’s not necessarily true. Grocery stores may have run out of fresh meats, but many farmers have fresher meats remaining in their refrigerators. Bryce Oxford explained that farmers, or their employees, can post this information online to keep customers informed. On top of this, he shared that joining local Facebook groups and posting products can draw patrons who may not have known your small farm existed.
“Now is a time to use all of your resources,” Bryce Oxford said. “Get out there, get networking, and make purchasing as easy as possible. You’ll generate sales now, and these customers will likely hang around once the pandemic has passed.”