Law of the farm

by | Mar 24, 2004 | Archives

A recent article by Arlin Wasserman of the Michigan Land Use Institute shows how the wellness revolution can improve your finances.

It reviews a thriving business at Blackstar Farms in Leelanau County Michigan as an example of “new entrepreneurial agriculture,” a blend of small-scale farming and business practices.

Most small farmers have been clobbered by the “get big or get out” model of U.S. agriculture, a new trend is developing. But though Blackstar is small at 120 acres, it operates a winery, a stable, a cheese factory, and even a bed and breakfast. This farm is an example of “new entrepreneurial agriculture to an ancient human endeavor.

There are several tactics (Merri and I also use them at our 250 acre farm in the Blue Ridge) that these new agri-entrepreneurs use.

First, many cut out the middle man and sell directly to the user. Look for such opportunity in CSA’s (community supported agriculture) for example. They will grow in popularity and profit. Find ways to invest in them.

A second difference is that new agri-entrepreneurs add value. For instance, Blackstar helps his neighbors bb buying pears for about ten dollars apiece rather than for the pennies the baby food industry pay, now that they are growen inside bottles as a first step to producing Blackstar’s high-end brandy.

They use their grape harvest to produce high quality wines instead of simply selling the grapes in the open market. They rent their old farmhouses at bed and breakfast rates instead of housing labor or getting low income rents.

A third difference is that agri-entrepreneurs outsource. Recently, Blackstar heightened their wine-cheese connection by renting space at the farm to the Leelanau Cheese Company, a producer of some of the region's finest hard and soft cheeses. The arrangement is good for Blackstar because it bolsters their business strategy of promoting Leelanau County as an agricultural destination for visitors. It's also good for the cheese company because it provides consumers easier access to great cheese.

This entire article by Mr. Wasserman is at

Your pocketbook can be rewarded by learning more about agri-entrepreneurs. Organic farming and the consumer’s closer connection to its source of food are both parts of the wellness revolution.

You can learn more about the wellness revolution at

Another reason the agri-entrepreneurs are succeeding is that they are creating a unique niche. I explain how to do this in my course International Business Made EZ. Details are at

Finally you’ll want to watch this trend because it is reaching the tipping point. More on this in a message on Friday. Until then enjoy abundant harvests!