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What you need to know
- Communications & Technology
Owners of small to mid-size farms once spent their days balancing office and field chores, struggling not simply to gather critical management information, but to get it onto paper. True, the emergence of desktop computers a couple decades back made data entry a lot easier. But transferring crop, livestock, weather and other vital information gathered on the job to office files still stretched the work day long beyond sunset - that is, until mobile communication devices hit the market.
- Sales and Marketing
Folks in the agriculture industry share one common bond: the desire to grow. From the fields to their financial holdings, farmers strive to blossom the green stuff. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the nation served as home to more than 2.1 million farms at last check. As these operations plow through the challenges of an expanding global market, more industry professionals find themselves digging for sales solutions.
- Customer Service
In an ideal world, American farmers grow top-notch fruit, vegetables and grains, or raise the finest live stock without a hitch - feeding millions and reaping hefty annual profits as a by-product. But this is reality. Today's smaller-farm owners are scrambling for ways to serve their customers without drowning in the teeming waters of competing businesses and fiscal concerns.
- Staffing & Employment
Those looking for employment in the agriculture industry have a number of options when it comes to career type. From farm-labor contractors to agricultural inspectors, the work usual requires more experience than formal education. Nonetheless, higher-ranked positions do demand an academic background.
- Billing and Accounts Receivable
The agriculture industry holds a preeminent position in America's cultural hierarchy, mainly because the fundamental act of feeding people ultimately nourishes and sustains all economic, scientific and artistic achievement. That said, the fact remains that today's farmers - especially those running smaller independent businesses - struggle to keep cash flow steady.
- Vendor Relations
Judging by the strong online presence of feed and farming equipment stores, today's growers don't mind leaving the field from time to time to do a little bargain hunting on the Internet. In an industry where so many rely on their hands to tackle the daily workload, a few taps of a keyboard seems almost minuscule in comparison - a well-deserved break so to speak.
The American agriculture industry may have spawned some mega-farms, but small and family-owned operations still comprise the lion's share of the market - about 90 percent, according to U.S. Census statistics. With so much product and property to protect, insurance experts stress the importance of adequate coverage. This applies not simply to land, buildings and crops, but to owners and employees as well.
Social Media Best Practices & Applications
The agricultural entrepreneur often turns to professional
organizations for support on every front - and with good
reason. Associations that exist today assist numerous
branches of agriculture, providing benefits such as banking
services, insurance, continuing education, and loan and
grant programs. In fact, the groups listed here do all
this, and more.
- Industry Financials