News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 12, 2012

Business Cents: Aug. 12, 2012: Farmers plant seeds for future online

Heather Penney
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — West Central Indiana and the Wabash Valley are definitely rural. Many of our communities are nestled in the center of prime farm land. With ever-changing market needs, many farmers are looking at how they can reach new markets. Who would have ever thought about reaching those new markets through online media?

Many farmers have strictly relied on wholesale food distributors to purchase farmed goods. But there is actually a wholesale food company online, FarmersWeb. FarmersWeb sells directly to chefs and shop owners and has a reputation for maintaining simplicity while providing a high level of service and potential growth to farmers. The process is quite efficient and permits farmers to get back to what they do best — grow and harvest goods.

FarmersWeb permits customers a method for searching for food produced within a specified radius of their location. For example, if a restaurant in Bloomington or Indianapolis would like to identify producers within 200 miles of their location, the search of FarmersWeb would populate such producers. If you are farmer, you may list anything from produce to meat on the site. All orders must be paid in advance by credit card, and FarmersWeb takes a fee of about 5 percent per order. If you are expanding and growing your customer base in agriculture, then this is truly not a bad method to embrace.

One service not handled by the Internet and FarmersWeb is delivery of goods. This is left up to the farmer and the purchaser to negotiate. There is significant growth in this sector, but logistics can be the one challenging factor. There is a large need and demand to be filled in agriculture. And Internet sales are key in securing both the demand and supply for the customer and seller.

In summary, whether or not you are an agriculture-based company, consider the Internet a way to grow your product base, create awareness of your company and serve your clients. Many companies neglect to realize that even if you don’t sell your products online, having an informative website for their community and potential customers is vital to their existence and ability to maintain a competitive edge. Be sure to research and find alternative markets for growth for your business. There may be something out there just for you just like FarmersWeb is for farmers.