Homegrown by Heroes: Product Differentiation in a Competitive Market

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Do you run a small business, or have dreams to start one? Each week on The Tidbit, brought to you by Cureate, we discuss tidbits of knowledge around starting and running a small business with a food and beverage lens. Kim Bryden sits down with guest experts and shares trending new topics on food, business and culture to help best prepare you for your business journey. 

EPISODE 27: homegrown by heroes

A FEW QUOTES

  • Today, more than 20 million veterans live in the U.S. – a few who served as early as World War II and many having served as recently as Afghanistan. More than 44 percent of the men and women who serve our country have roots in small towns and rural communities dotted all across the country. As they make the transition from military back to civilian life, many veterans choose agriculture for their profession. Some return to family farm operations, others strike new ground. To help these farmer veterans differentiate and market their products, Farm Credit and the Farmer Veteran Coalition have been partnering on the Homegrown by Heroes program – a voluntary marketing label for farmer veterans.

  • I never even heard of a Farmer's Market, until I was in Iraq and they were telling me about this! Selling direct to the customer. 

  • My whole life I was making $6/hour. It's all I was going to get paid, until someone died in my family. Nothing had changed from 1940-2003, produce prices hadn't gone up but all of the expenses had gone up. 

  • A skill that you need to possess? Commitment, clear goals, and work all day knowing that you've accomplished something. Pushing electrons around the screen is far less fulfilling than getting the dirt under your fingernails. 

  • Being loyal to the job, fearless and a risk taker - these are both traits for farmers and those in the military. They have to have an underlying sense of optimism. 

  • Mother Nature is your boss, and she doesn't care about you.

  • The ability to adapt and overcome - one of the main phrases ingrained in our brains in the military.

  • Built a distillery (Flying Buck Moonshine) at Bigg Riggs Farm to increase value-added product line!

  • A strong belief of ours at Cureate is that over time, we will begin seeing consumers vote with their purchasing dollars even more so than we are today - recognizing that where your food is grown, produced and who is benefiting from that supply chain - is really going to matter.

  • Homegrown by Heroes is a label that instantly communicates to people that this is a veteran-owned product/business, without having to say it each time you want to make a sale.

  • People are super appreciative, buying from me because I am a veteran. Especially in Alexandria, where there is military base, people like supporting us. 

  • You need an expectation of what you're going to put in, and what you're going to get out. You don't want to wake up one day and having spent all of your retirement. 

  • You need to know who you're going to sell to! People think: I'm going to grow great stuff and people will come. But that is not true. When you enter into consumer-based agriculture, you need a marketing plan. It doesn't matter what you're growing, it matters that you have access to an earning stream. 

  • Don't quit your day job if you want to get into farming. 

  • If you're really interested in farming - you need to go work on a farm. Start at the bottom and work your way up - go pick some green beans. Bigg Riggs is here for you.
     

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