Now’s the time to grow professionally
There really hasn’t been a better time to take your hobby growing operation to the professional level. Growing professionally is a great way to earn a primary income or supplement your current job with another pay check. If you currently have a smaller-scale growing operation it can be relatively easy to take it to the next level. Between the ability to acquire government funding, the current appreciation that food culture places on fresh, locally grown produce and the ability to grow year-round, now is the time to start planning your next business move.
Obviously expanding from a backyard hobby grower to a professional can get costly, but luckily the NRCS is currently offering assistance to growers of all skill levels and scales. As an effort to support local conservation measures, the NRCS program EQIP offers financial and technical assistance to growers looking to purchase high tunnels.
High tunnels allow you to expand your growing season, leading to an extra harvest when used correctly, and they also provide protection from the elements. High tunnels ward off damaging hale and wind and also make it easier to control pests. These factors allow you to grow crops of a higher quality and can lead to higher profits.
Just about anybody can qualify for EQIP, and all the NRCS asks is that you adapt a conservation plan to address resource concerns and create $1000 in revenue. For more information on the EQIP program, visit the NRCS website, and for details on how to apply, visit your local NRCS office.
Food culture has grown exponentially in recent years. Turn on the television and you’ll find multiple networks and hundreds of shows devoted to food. On the internet social media has become inundated with pictures of food, and most beneficial to you as a grower, restaurants now appreciate fresh, locally grown produce. This trend provides you with the opportunity to make a lot of money, so you should start scouting local restaurants to see what they have to offer. Find out what your regional food trends are, and try to identify unique produce that you could potentially provide. You’ll have to collect samples of your produce and schedule meetings with local restaurants. Chefs are willing to pay more for locally grown food, so this can be an endeavor that is well worth your time. For more information, check back next week for our upcoming “Marketing Your Produce to Restaurants” blog.
Farmers markets offer you another opportunity to sell your goods and create business relationships. Regional farmers markets, like many restaurants, satisfy the consumer’s desire for fresh, locally grown produce, and provide you with the opportunity to interact with the community and market your produce. Utilizing your local farmers market to boost business does take some initial planning, but other than that it is a simple and fun way to generate business. This is another topic we covered in great detail in the three-part blog Tips for a Successful Farmers Market.
- Successful Farmers Market Tips Part 1: Getting Started
- Successful Farmers Market Tips Part 2: Designing & Setting Up Your Stand
- Successful Farmers Market Tips Part 3: Market Day
One major factor that prevents growers from taking the professional leap is the fact that they can’t grow their produce year-round. This, however, is completely false, and with the proper equipment, growers can completely control their growing environment, leading to year-round revenue.
While using a high tunnel is a step in this direction, in most regions this isn’t enough to grow all year. Instead, a greenhouse with some environmental controls is an ideal option, and this is where Growers Supply really separates itself. Our controlled environment agriculture (CEA) expertise is among the best, and we can walk you through our comprehensive line of greenhouses to find one that is ideal for you or custom design a greenhouse specifically for your needs. After this we can help you pick out everything that you’ll need to grow year-round.
While entering the world of CEA can be intimidating, we can assure you that it isn’t, and we offer our Three-Day CEA School to make sure you’re doing everything properly. Tuition is free with the purchase of a greenhouse or system or if you decide to take the class first, the cost of tuition is taken off of your purchase.
Growing professionally is a fulfilling way to make money, and now is a great time to devise a plan and become a professional grower, whether it is as a full-time or part-time job. With the government providing funding, it is easier – and cheaper – then ever to acquire a high tunnel that will maximize your crop quality, production and profit. The cultural climate has also set growers up very nicely. The desire for fresh, locally grown produce is at an all time high, and growers can easily find buyers at restaurants and farmers markets. Growers Supply can also set you up with the equipment needed to grow year-round. No longer does growing have to be seasonal, and we can help you create a growing business that is profitable for all twelve months.
As usual, if you have any questions, leave a comment below, and if you would like some more detailed information about greenhouses or greenhouse systems, please give us a call.