Agriculture Fruit Farm Business Plan Example

Agriculture Fruit Farm Business Plan

People want vegetables and food with good taste and high nutritional quality. Our national diet is a disgrace. We have a huge problem of obesity.

Our Solution

We use present and future agricultural technology to produce organic, tasty, and nutritional vegetables. We start with an existing farm that has custom-innovated equipment. To that we add horticultural technology in the production of strawberries to double utilize the climate controlled portion of the overhead.

Target Market

Competition

Current Alternatives

Alabama is one of the premier farming areas of the eastern United States. This creates an intensely competitive environment with a large number of industry participants. Since almost all of the produce is considered commodities, and large scale buyers are more consolidated than the farmers themselves, overall margins are small and rivalries for wholesaler contracts are strong. Competitive threats come from three main segments:

  • Imported vegetables of lower quality.
  • Mississippi pound raised vegetables.
  • Alabama vegetable producers.

Direct competition in the individual buyers market segment comes from three farms in the immediate area including the Anniston farm, Organics-To-You farm, and the Terrance Livingston vegetable farm. Each of these competitors has produce stands as well as selling to local farmers’ markets. However, with the exception of Organics-To-You Farm, none of the others focus on a niche market and depend heavily on federal subsidies.

Our Advantages

The Farmers Group strategy is to profitably and efficiently utilize present and future agricultural technology in the production of vegetables. The company, by acquiring an existing profitable vegetable farm with all the necessary custom-innovated equipment, will gain a significant industry advantage. Additional application and utilization of horticultural technology in the production of strawberries will allow double utilization of the climate controlled portion of the overhead. Farmers Group hopes to consolidate considerable goodwill already created by exercising the option of not adding another high-production facility to the present supply-demand scenario.

The company’s goals in the first year are to:

  • Prepare the future site.
  • Relocate and expand Green Acres vegetable system and get it operational.
  • Integrate greens culture into the system.
  • Have the composting system in full production by early spring of the second year.
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The company’s long-term plan is to phase out the least lucrative products and replace them with practical and cost-efficient ones.

Execution

Marketing & Sales

Marketing Plan

Farmers Group will initially market and supply its products to target customers. The company is further exploring marketing opportunities on the Internet. To this extent, the company would like to set up a website to market its products.

The company will utilize aggressive advertising strategies to further market its products. These strategies include the promotion of products through sponsoring cooking shows and exhibitions, and engaging prominent chefs to help promote this industry.

Sales Plan

At Farmers Group, the sales process is primarily the same for vegetables as it is for composting products, in that both products will be mainly sold through wholesale marketing. As in the past, live shipments will be delivered by contract carriers in special oxygenated tanks carrying 8,000 vegetables or more, and will be continued as demanded. Farmers Group’s bagged manure products will be delivered and unloaded in sizable wholesale quantities by the pallet.

Smaller, more local orders will significantly increase the overall sales when the 300-450 live vegetables carrying tank system is put into service late in 2000 or early in 2001.

The company’s average sales cycle from first contact to closing of the sale is approximately 3 to 12 days for vegetable products. Farmers Group plans to shorten this cycle. Furthermore, the company estimates that from first contact to sale conclusion, the cycle for fresh strawberries will run 3 days or less. Composted products sale cycle should run from 3 to 12 days.

Operations

Locations & Facilities

The farm is located in Calhoun county approximately 4.5 miles outside of Jasper.

The operation will utilize:

  • One large greenhouse, enclosing the vegetable area.
  • Horticultural greenhouse.
  • Filters, water treatment devices.
  • Backwash facilities.
  • Outdoor vegetable facilities.
  • Business office building.

An additional portion of the operation will be the manure composting facility. Local and regional dairy operations have trouble with manure accumulations, and the company hopes to enter into contracts in removing the manure. Farmers Group will then turn this into a saleable product. The company plans to supply the region’s nursery outlets with a top-quality, premium garden and soil amendment product for area horticulture.

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Technology

While at Mobile Farmers Vegetable Farm James Jackson steadily used and experimented with compost and fertilized with manure. The most important things with manure usage are to eliminate the viable weed seed drawback by thoroughly composting the manure, to add enough cellulose to bring it to the proper ratio, and to bring its water content to proper levels. A properly composted manure product has no seeds that will germinate and proliferate in it. Additionally, a properly composted manure product has something a chemically formulated synthetic fertilizer does not have: enzymes. Enzymes are critical for producing a nutritious and superior flavored product. Research has shown that the superior flavor of a fruit or vegetable is closely related to vitamin and folic acid content in green vegetables.

The company is currently seeking contact with Alabama universities to learn about and acquire new hybrids of strawberries and vegetables that are hardier and grow faster in our local microclimates. These and other available species and systems will be constantly tracked.

In addition to the above, the company is seeking contacts at Universities in Italy and Germany involved in greens, and will continue the quest for the best flavored, large, and firm fall and winter strawberries.

Currently, Farmers Group is conducting research to test certain clay-sand-manure mixture levels to obtain better, cheaper bedding and agronomic soil mixtures that are more effective than the standard used in the industry in Alabama (Pine bark mulch-composted).

Equipment & Tools

The state-of-the-art vegetable equipment starting up in the new location utilizes revolutionary harvest designs that:

  • Allow faster, longer growth
  • Cut the harvest labor by over 80%
  • Cut the harvest time, decreasing loss in weight gain, and eliminating weight loss from shock.

Products

Vegetables

Farmers Group’s first line of production will be green and red vegetables. During the summer months Farmers Group will be growing carrots, romaine lettuce, leeks, red onions, summer squash, and spinach. In the fall, production will center on pumpkins, winter squash, globe beets, and winter greens. With the growth of the popular organic food niche, and the federal government’s new organic labeling policy, Farmers Group will focus its produce on the intermediate organic label. This means that approximately 70% of the food production process will be organic and all foods produced by Farmers Group will be eligible for the "contains organic ingredients" label. The company’s farm will have the capacity to produce over 200,000 lbs. of vegetables per year.

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Strawberries

The company’s more technical horticultural aspects include efforts to utilize traditional and more advanced plant technologies to produce new cultivars of crops such as strawberries and lima beans with locally-adapted superior characteristics for the Gulf-South growing area. Flavor, disease resistance, adaptability to green-house culture, fall and winter season production are factors being combined in greens cultivation to tap into the $2.99 pint berry market of the fall and winter.

Farmers Group’s strategy is a combination of the two technologies during the cool winter months which will allow the utilization of normally wasted space in the greenhouses for the high-price winter greens production. This will allow double cultivation of the greenhouses with almost no additional heating necessary in this climate.

Future Products

In the meantime, the company would like to explore the possibilities of crayfish production. Farmers Group believes this to be a high-revenue venture with retail prices running in excess of $15.00 per pound in most places. The company also believes that if crayfish production is successful then it could become the number one endeavor of Farmers Group.

Currently, there is a defunct fish farming production facility with all the necessary capital equipment approximately two miles from the current farm. Purchase of this facility would allow Farmers Group to begin production and to capitalize on this higher margin product. What makes this most attractive is the joint cost potential of the two ventures, allowing for a reduction in marginal costs and creation of real economies of scale that would provide Farmers Group with a competitive advantage.

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