Agricultural marketing techniques are used in every corner of “agribusiness,” including small farms, corporate farms, and collectives; distributors; manufacturers of farm equipment, pesticides, and genetic enhancements for crops and livestock; feed and seed sellers; and more. Additionally, there are also government agencies which monitor and direct agribusiness practices.
- Farmers seek higher prices for their produce, and protection from price fluctuations. They try to reduce the amount of post-harvest waste, and secure guarantees for the sale of their produce. They may also work to open up new markets or channels, such as selling directly to consumers instead of through producers.
- Agrichemical companies promote solutions to farm problems, offering farmers higher yields and protection from pests. However, many solutions would be more strongly resisted by consumers, if it weren’t for effective public relations.
- Government agencies at both the federal and state level campaign for farm production. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service runs a number of different programs to promote farm sales (and prices). The agriculture-rich state of California produces some $30 billion dollars’ worth of agricultural products annually, and is one of the largest food exporters in the world. To protect this investment, the state has government-mandated programs covering about 66 percent of its agricultural production.
- Agricultural products are perishable; therefore, a failure to sell on time results in wasted harvest. All wasted harvest represents a cost of land, water, labor, storage—and no income to show for it.
- Agricultural prices can be quite variable, impacted by changes in weather and harvests in far corners of the world.
Different production methods mean that not all food is the same—but this information is meaningful only if the consumer knows about it.