Montagu farmer Mike Buckby uses provenance in product marketing

PROMOTE PROVENANCE: Cape Grim Water rain farmer Mike Buckby said consumers want to know where products come from and the story, passion and romance behind the business. Picture: Supplied
PROMOTE PROVENANCE: Cape Grim Water rain farmer Mike Buckby said consumers want to know where products come from and the story, passion and romance behind the business. Picture: Supplied

Provenance and the story behind agricultural products is becoming more important as a marketing tool, Montagu farmer and business owner Mike Buckby told attendees at the Harvesting the Benefits of Digital Agriculture Conference in Melbourne last week.

Mr Buckby, the man behind Montagu business Cape Grim Water, spoke about traceability and provenance at the conference, explaining how digital technologies helped sell agricultural produce and why it should be used in marketing Tasmanian produce.

“I talked about selling the romance of the product – whether it’s beef, dairy or bottled water – and telling people the story of how you do it and why you do it,” Mr Buckby said.

“What is the passion behind it? [Consumers] want to know they story of why [producers] have done it,” he said.

The Cape Grim Water Company, has collected rainwater for human consumption from Tasmania’s North-Western tip for almost 20 years.

This area’s pristine rain drops is marketed by Cape Grim Water as being created within the “purest air on the planet”.

Cape Grim Water uses its location in marketing, explaining “when icy winds collide with warm air rising up and over the Cape Grim cliffs, the heavens open up and spill forth – and we’re there to capture it”.

Mr Bucky said the another part of his marketing was to use data to defend the brand.

“The phrase ‘we’re clean and green’ is used a lot [in Tasmania]. If we take Cape Grim Water, we can show 40 years of data from the Bureau of Meteorology that proves when the wind is moving from the west to the south it is providing baseline conditions for one of three air monitoring stations in the world,” he said.

International conference speaker and agribusiness expert Lisa Prassack showed producers how data could be used to weigh up profit and production benefits.

Farmers want to see how to “spend less money or the same amount of money to deliver a better return,” Ms Prassack said.

“The best we can do is use data as a service and use information as a service to make decisions, but our ability to understand the farm and predict the farm is limited by mother nature. This is the challenge for technology companies,” she said.

More than 300 agribusiness professionals, farmers, technology experts and entrepreneurs heard from national and international speakers at the conference, which was hosted by the Australian Farm Institute to discuss the potential for digital agriculture to change farm production systems and supply chains, and inform producers’ decision making.