While almost every industry today does a less than perfect job of
living by the motto, “the customer is the most important part of
business,” Kansas farmers and ranchers are one segment that adheres to
It’s been a gradual process but one that has consistently picked up
steam. Still, Kansas farmers and ranchers cannot rest on their laurels
but must continue to look to the future with an open mind and the
flexibility to develop new ways of marketing their products.
Our customers are driven by changes in personal preferences and
increasing income levels. They tend to be a bit more generous with their
hard-earned money in good times and more tight fisted when our economy
Today’s customer will continue to spend his/her money on what they
want. Convenience is more important than ever before; however, price is
also important and will remain a major piece of the buying equation.
Our agricultural economy will continue to be driven by customer
demand. Buyers of farm and ranch products continue to become wiser and
savvier every day.
Tomorrow’s well-informed shopper will want, and demand, more
information about how food is produced. It will be up to farmers and
ranchers to help provide such information.
These customers should be viewed as friends of agriculture who are
interested in buying products that keep farmers and ranchers in the
business of producing food, fuel and fiber.
We should welcome their input and feedback. And once we understand what their needs are—provide for them.
It makes smart business sense for Kansas farmers and ranchers to
connect with their customers. In larger communities and next to urban
areas across Kansas, farmers and ranchers are carving out niche markets
by providing meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables directly to customers
who live there.
By doing so, farm and ranch families have developed the kind of
direct, personal relationship with people that eat what they raise These
buyers become friends and in some cases part of an extended family.
Such customers not only have the opportunity to buy and enjoy quality
products for their families, they become more knowledgeable about the
product and they know exactly who is producing it.
Customers can find out about a specific animal and how the livestock
man raises it and why they care for, and do the things the way they do.
Kansas farmers that connect with their customers will have an
advantage. When buyers of farm and ranch products have questions, they
will know where to find the expert with an answer—Kansas farmers and
ranchers who care for their crops, livestock, land and customers.
John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural
Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas,
his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.