Fresh produce growers face a variety of challenges working within a very complex industry. They are the starting point for a vast network of processors, distributors, wholesalers, retailers and final consumers. The grower sector of the industry is made up of many distinct, moving parts working in unison across the country. With that complexity, there is pressure on the farmer to act also as a CEO, which means making the right business decisions, building the right relationships, and harnessing the best tools.
The business of growing produce is full of unknowns that are beyond the control of any one individual farmer. Because fresh produce is such an important part of the U.S. food system, and highly perishable, the allied industry must work together to keep things farm fresh and moving smoothly until the final purchase by a customer.
While modernity has aided the production of both local food and international distribution greatly, it has also presented some unique challenges to navigate. Something that comes along with a more progressive, modern food system is the issue of sustainability and climate. Farmers need to grow more fresh produce on less land – only 12% of the earth’s landmass is even suitable for food production, and that relies heavily on access to clean water and irrigation. With these concerns come more regulations, certification and oversight to be more efficient and productive with what you have.
Speaking of meeting the food demand with limited resources, produce growers are also finding themselves with less labor. Lack of labor and proper technology to compensate is a huge issue on produce farms all over the nation. This calls for higher levels of mechanization, better utilization of teams and streamlined communication with all involved parties.
Another major concern cited by growers of fresh produce is the reduced profit margins while maintaining customer satisfaction. When today’s customers go to any grocery store, they want their food to maintain the “farm fresh” appeal while still being affordable. This means that growers are pressured to maintain an end product that is consistent and efficient as possible. Plus, it needs to be done in a timely manner as fresh produce is highly perishable. Unfortunately, the inputs of farming continually increase – things like fertilizer and equipment to name a few – and that isn’t reflected on grocery store tags.
With these modern challenges facing today’s produce sector, there are companies like Consentio who are trying to provide some innovative and timely solutions.
The modern world has, fortunately, brought with it some new tools to help growers navigate these industry nuances. One of the most powerful of them is the internet and the many virtual platforms along with it.
How exactly does the digital environment tie into farm fresh produce? There are many ways, but one of the biggest is streamlining work for greater efficiency which makes it easier for a retailer to place orders from their growers with tools that establish a new baseline.
Consentio takes this by the horns by putting more tools into a single place accessible by any mobile device. This allows sales to be made and orders prepared at the touch of a button. Gone are the days of snail mail transactions and being chained to a makeshift barn office. Now deals can be made on the go, in a tractor cab or from the comfort of home. The ability to make online sales is a gamechanger for the whole industry.
Team communication and professional interactions are taking more priority in the agriculture space. And, with the labor shortages, this is no small detail. Consentio recognizes this and priorities making teamwork efficient and easy. By having a shared virtual workspace, growers can collaborate with employees, colleagues and clients to stay up to date on current activities and plan for issues down the road.
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