We here at Rabun Ranch and Rabun Meats are striving to be part of helping the food supply chain and rural Americans. I have been listening to the Agricultural secretary of the United States, and the former Governor of Georgia speak on the subject of rural family dairies. His comments have been very disturbing, and yet revealing. His "Get big or Get Gone" statements reveal a government bias toward the "big corporation model" for agricultural businesses.
So, where does that leave folks like me and you who are dreaming of developing family farms? Out in the cold at best, and possibly there without clothes. In short, we can expect no help from our government, but to the contrary, expect them to make policy changes that will favor big business. We will also see great stress on our family businesses with the development and implication of more and more technologies that will be too costly for a small operation to put in place. The large corporations will put such things as artificial intelligence to work in their supply chains and strategic market strategies. What answers can small family cattle and farm operations develop to remain competitive? Many have turned to niche markets, such as grass-fed beef, but will this be enough? I think not.
A friend who develops management software for livestock owners believes the only viable answer is the small local processors. They have to be built up. Viable supply chain strategy must be developed to supply local processors with quality meats. What the AG Secretary is saying is that there will be a consolidation not only of the producers in our markets, but there will also be a consolidation of supply chain points of entry that will make it difficult for small operations to enter the supply chain due to distance and scale. My friend's opinion is if we do not keep the local processors viable, we are toast!
So, how can we do that? I would love to hear your comments and Ideas.