Rice Farmers To Rice Millers:
“Who do I sell to?” might be the number one question we receive from rice farmers looking to become rice millers. It’s a very valid question with a very simple answer…EVERYONE! My father always had an expression that meant the same thing as “yes” to a question I would ask. That expression was, “Son, that’s like asking an encyclopedia salesman if you need to buy a set of encyclopedias.” I realize now that his answer was a little goofy, but here I sit sharing it with the world so maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But it makes me think of that encyclopedia salesman so many years ago going door to door trying to sell the best and brightest books on the market. I’m sure that he wasn’t quite so selective to only sell to prospective clients in his own neighborhood or to those homes that only had two bright shiny cars in the driveway. The encyclopedia salesman learned very early that he shouldn’t set limitations on where or whom he should sell to if he wanted to be successful. Every person alive who had the ability to read and comprehend information needed a set of encyclopedias and he was going to be the one to sell it to them. When it comes to selling your packaged rice, rice farmers have to think beyond their own mindset and expand into areas that might be foreign to them. Some things that they have to know about selling their packaged rice are:
- People outside of your county buy packaged rice and it’s okay to sell to them. Many rice farmers that we talk to think that the market is saturated if they aren’t the first rice farmer to start milling and selling their own rice. If that was the case, then only consumers in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and California would buy and eat rice. I live just north of Dallas and I can go to a seafood restaurant near me and order a Maine lobster for dinner. How is that possible when I don’t live anywhere close to Maine? My restaurant owner has a connection in Maine where he orders lobsters direct and lists it on his menu. There are 44 other states in our great country that can’t grow rice but are ordering it from somewhere. Maybe you could be the first to capitalize on “Hawaiian Luau Rice.”
- People buy rice for different reasons. This next statement isn’t new information but needs to be emphasized – everybody cooks rice differently. In Texas, you might have white rice with a chopped steak while they might be putting brown rice with a salmon dish in California. Know who your target market is and appeal to their interests. I know that the US, in general, is more of a potato based society. (I’m not sure who the potato sales guy is, but he’s working his tail off) That doesn’t mean, however, that rice farmers can’t sell rice in the US. We have incredible cuisines here in America from all different nationalities and rice is a staple for many of those families. Don’t box yourself in by thinking that no one will eat your rice because rice isn’t an option on the menu at your closest restaurant.
- The Farm Fresh movement isn’t stopping any time soon. The age that we live in presents us with more knowledge opportunities than we’ve had in the past and consumers are waking up to the fact that boxed meals and pre-packaged foods don’t provide those quality nutrients that they want to provide for their family. Maintaining the ability to market your product as a recently milled product straight off of the farm carries substantial weight in today’s economy.
- Show them the difference. Farm fresh rice is different than the large industrial packaged rice. The taste stands out, the texture stands out, and the quality stands out. Rice farmers who are milling their own rice should capitalize on that and show the consumer through free sampling at grocery stores, in the posts that they put onto social media, in all of their marketing materials, and even in their posted recipes. Once they try it, they’ll keep coming back because they know that your product is superior to what they’ve been previously buying.
- Consumers will buy your rice. Most of the rice farmers that we talk to are skeptical about the possibility of consumers actually buying their rice. That’s a big mountain to climb because, up until now, most rice farmers only see their rice as a commodity. They grow it and sell it as grain and don’t ever reap the benefits further than that. Once the milling begins though, rice farmers are producing a food grade product and that is extremely important to remember because, believe it or not, people buy food.
As we continue through this series “From Rice Farmers To Rice Millers,” we’ll uncover some of the other processes, procedures, and questions that you have. Because there are a million questions out there, feel free to go to our Facebook Page by clicking ZaccariaUSA Facebook Page and sending us a message. We will be happy to answer all of your questions as soon as possible. If you missed the first part of our series, feel free to review that article by clicking From Rice Farmer To Rice Miller (Part 1): The Benefits. We’ll bring you another part to this series next week, but please review the other articles that we have on this site, like us on Facebook while you are there, and check out some of the great videos on our YouTube channel by clicking ZaccariaUSA YouTube Channel.