Kansas Farm Profile: Bauman’s Cedar Valley Farms
by Tom King
The Baumans bought 180-acre Cedar Valley Farms in 2003. They raise pastured poultry and eggs employing organic practices, along with 100% grass-fed beef, and operate the only USDA-approved and certified poultry processor in Kansas. Due to faith practices, the Bauman family uses telephones but not the Internet. In the crowded online marketing world, they are unique – the Baumans deal primarily face-to-face. Rosanna Bauman, the farm’s operations manager, explains how the Baumans market their farm without conventional technology.
Bauman’s Cedar Valley Farms (Garnett, Kansas)
Pasture-raised eggs, chicken, turkey, ducks, and beef. On-farm sales of organic fertilizers and feed supplements.
- 20,000 dozen eggs
- 3,000 broiler chickens
- 700 turkeys
- 200 ducks
- 5 beef cows
– USDA Poultry Processing, servicing over 300 area producers. The plant operates three days per week, processing up to 1800 chickens weekly. A USDA inspector is on-site each processing day.
– On-farm feed and supplement sales “Products we like we usually end up selling on our farm. It’s a good way to make local connections and get a cost break on purchasing.”
– Retail: On-farm sales of poultry and eggs, feed and fertilizer.
– Wholesale: The farm wholesales to six accounts, primarily to high-volume groceries and a few independent restaurants.
– Distribution: Self; refrigerated trucks.
Marketing: Challenges: No website or email contact.
“We do direct marketing without the Internet. That’s unusual today but it’s a model that works for us. That’s why we generally do only high-volume wholesale to a small number of accounts.”
“Consumer awareness of food production is changing–it’s not a fad anymore. Our products are pasture-raised using organic practices and that’s good advertising nowadays. We prominently feature our practices on our packaging.”
Examples include “Pasture-raised eggs”; “The difference is in the yolk!”; “Eggs like Grandma used to raise.”
– Egg Slips
In 2003, when the Baumans purchased their farm from another family, they were looking for a way to establish their family’s identity without making sudden changes that might alienate regular customers. Rosanna, then age 14, came up with the Egg Slips – little strips of paper with two or three sentences about their chickens and life on the farm – inserted into every carton of eggs. The slips were an immediate hit with customers and the farm became known for the slips, almost like fortune cookies. “Tell your farm’s story,” says Rosanna. “Customers really appreciate a personal connection.”
– Build a good reputation
“Word-of-mouth is the best advertising, as long as it’s positive. Build a reputation based on personal relationships. Farmers markets, farm sales and contributing to a CSA are good ways to learn the business and establish your name. That way, you know your customers and can apologize if you have to,” Rosanna says.
– Put a face on your farm and your product
“How you market depends on who you are and what you want your farm to be. I know what works for me, so I tailor my marketing to what I can do. We promote that we are a family farm. It puts a face on the product and it shows that we are accountable for our quality.”
– If you deliver, do it yourself
“Our accounts appreciate being able to talk to us directly. Our weekly, in-person deliveries yield a lot of valuable information, like sales trends and customer comments. Visiting your accounts is the best way to put a face on your product.”
Rosanna Bauman provides a basic framework for marketing:
“For producers, there are five workable direct marketing business examples: farmers markets, large and small wholesale accounts (Whole Foods versus independent restaurants), on-farm sales and CSAs,” she says. “For start-ups, don’t go into wholesale right away. It’s too hard to project that kind of volume without some high- production experience.”
**This Farm Profile is an excerpt from Finding Your Niche, A Marketing Guide for Kansas Farms, published in January 2013 by the Kansas Rural Center. You may CLICK HERE to view the guide’s full Table of Contents and print or download other profiles and resource documents. Finding Your Niche: A Marketing Guide for Kansas Farms offers a great starting point for envisioning the potential your farm has to increase and respond to local demand.
To receive a printed and bound copy of the 200+ page guide, please order here or contact the Kansas Rural Center at 785-873-3431. A limited number of copies are available for a suggested fee of $25 to help cover printing, shipping and handling costs.