October 23, 2014

How to Use Tech Tools to Run a Small Farming Business

small farming business

Each morning at Ninja Cow Farm in North Carolina, farmer Dan Moore moves his cows from temporary paddocks into the farm’s pasture. He then sits in the pasture with the cows before it’s time for him to go to work. It’s a pretty normal scene for a morning on a farm, except for one thing – he’s actually blogging.

Moore uses his mobile device and a number of other tech tools to promote his farm and its products. This means that each day between his normal farming tasks, he also blogs and stays constantly connected to his customers using technology.

He didn’t originally set out to use these types of tools to run his small farming business, or even to have a small farming business for that matter. But when he found himself suddenly in charge of his family’s farm several years ago, things changed.

small farming business

He had helped his father run the farm for many years, but was never the primary decision maker. So after his father passed away, he needed some help. He took some local farming classes, where he learned the importance of keeping a journal or log of farming activities. He said:

“I had this picture in my head of keeping notebooks in a huge file. So I really wanted to come up with a different solution. Then it hit me – the one thing I never leave my house without is my cell phone, so I thought ‘maybe I’ll try one of these blog things.’”

Moore asked his intern to set up a WordPress site and he began posting there regularly. It worked out perfectly for his needs because he was able to add photos and each post was automatically stamped with a time and date. And the blog turned out to have some added promotional benefits. He explained:

“Since it was public, instead of just creating a dry activity log I decided to add some humor to make our farm more personal. People can buy from brands to make do but at the end of the day people buy from people. And having a blog is a great way to add a face to your business.”

small farming business

In addition to his blog, Moore also utilizes other tech tools including an email newsletter, GoDaddy and Office 365. He said that these tools allow him to stay connected to his customers and potential customers at all times.

Moore said that people looking to buy beef or other products from a farm often contact several farms at once. So his ability to stay connected and get back to customers right away has made a huge impact on his business.

small farming business

In fact, the use of these tools has been so successful that Ninja Cow Farm can’t even keep up with demand. He encourages customers to subscribe to his blog or email newsletter so they can get notifications when new beef or other products are available. But Ninja Cow Farm always sells out of product quickly.

The farm continues to grow while Moore keeps marketing it to customers online.

Images: Ninja Cow Farm

8 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles and feature stories. She is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, social media, and creative topics. When she’s not writing for her various freelance projects or her personal blog Wattlebird, she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

8 Reactions

  1. I’m a huge advocate of farmers blogging, using twitter, instagram, vine etc. So many consumers are so far removed now from where their food is produced, it’s a great way to educate them about food production as well as providing an insight into farming lives. As you’ve said above, people buy from people and they will buy a product because they recognise the logo if they’ve been reading the blog.
    My book was inspired by my farming blog! :)

    • I think a key point for me in my story is how I integrate my blogging into my normal activities. We should all market more. We need to post, participate, advertise, etc, etc. Who has time as a small business to do all that stuff? Just for an example, here was my day yesterday.

      http://ninjacowfarm.com/day-saturday-1-baby-calf/

      That was an atypical day, which of course is typical. Where do you think sitting down to write a blog post came on the to do list after a day like that? However I was able to tap out a few points here and there along the way. I took pictures of the new cow as soon as I found her. It took 1 minute, which was time I also spent making sure she nursed and was up and getting around ok, and making sure mom was ok. There was no lost time. I did have to sit down this morning and write the blog post, but all the pictures were there. And more importantly, I HAD to write a blog post. I have to record this calf’s birth because it’s part of my records. I keep paper copies that I update about 2-3 times a year. That’s a chore. Banging out a quick blog that an animal was born, died, treated, etc. is no sweat. If your marketing can be part of your work, then marketing will happen. Otherwise we are all too busy actually working to do any marketing.

      I’m glad you posted your reply as it led me to your blog. I’m part Irish myself although I have to trace back to the 1400s to get there. We are descendants of Robert De Bruce. I hope to make the pilgrimage home some day and get to visit Ireland.

    • Lorna – thanks for sharing your story! I’m glad you’ve found success using some of the same tools and I’m glad you enjoyed the article. And Dan – thanks again for sharing your story with us! It was great to learn about how you integrate these tools into your everyday business practices.

  2. Kudos Dan and thanks for sharing your story! This is really so wonderful. For me the greatest takeaway from this is that stress-free marketing is that kind of marketing that is also part of our day to day work. Btw, the kids on the tractor are really cute!

    • It’s always great to see how people can manage all of their different business tasks into their everyday routines. Glad you enjoyed this story!

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