Market News & Headlines >> Customers Drive New Kind of Specialization

After decades of increasingly undiversified farming, driven by economies of scale, technological developments and government policy, the pendulum is swinging toward more specialty products, this time driven by consumers.

Chief among these are organic and non-genetically modified crops, which in some cases bring huge premiums to producers willing to go through the multi-year process to become certified. Organic, natural and “pasture fed” or “free range” dairy and livestock products fall in the same category.

Whether the desire for these products is scientifically supported or not is irrelevant – consumers are willing to pay for them, regardless.

Though they are sold not direct to consumers, but to food companies, crops with specific attributes such as low trans-fat oilseeds also are gaining traction.

And there are the industrial crops such as high-starch corn, which have been developed to boost efficiency of ethanol production. Producers considering participating in this trend to specialized production – whether on a limited or whole-farm basis – need to develop a full business plan as the economics and business model can be quite different from standard production.

For more information on this topic and others that will affect your farm in the future, get your copy of “Ten Megatrends Reshaping Agriculture.” It is $30 from Brock Associates (414-351-5500) or on